About We Are Lao
We Are Lao is a multi-media marketing organization devoted to sustainably promoting Lao tourism and its stakeholders. As a for-profit social enterprise, We Are Lao aims to have a positive impact on Laos via responsible tourism, while also profiting its members and the country through individual and community benefits.
As a customer-focussed initiative, We Are Laos generates revenue by delivering on identified benefits and value propositions. To achieve this, We Are Lao has adopted a member-driven approach to its operation. This ensures We Are Lao adds value to the activities of its private sector and NGO members, as well as the government and donor agencies.
WeAreLao.com strives to be the most comprehensive, informative, promotional, and up-to-date tourism website for Laos. Through the WeAreLao.com site, potential visitors and foreign travel agents can directly link to We Are Lao members. These include accommodation, tour operators, travel agents, airlines, drinking and dining establishments, and tourist attractions and related activities. There are no commissions, pop-up adverts, or banner clutter…just direct connections.
The website also sets the foundation for presenting We Are Lao’s suite of marketing communication and promotional services. These “You Are Lao” media tools provide members with a proactive platform to directly reach foreign travel agents and potential visitors.
We Are Lao Mission Statement and Objective
Mission: Sustainably promote Lao tourism
Vision: Develop the most informative, promotional, and up-to-date Lao tourism website, and provide a mixed-media marketing platform that benefits Lao tourism enterprises and communities.
- Create awareness in Laos as a tourism destination
- Become THE major player in the early stages of travellers’ decision-making process to come to Laos
- Connect the international travel trade to Lao tourism enterprises with no commissions
- Benefit all Lao tourism stakeholders, regardless of size, budget, location, or enterprise type
- Deliver a positive social impact on Lao communities that host tourists
- Form a community for tourism businesses and travellers focussing on Lao tourism
Challenge: “I can’t find good information on Lao tourism.”
Ask a foreign traveller or agent why they don’t come to Laos, and you’ll very likely hear, “I can’t find any information on it.” And they are correct. Detailed information, promotion, and communications are key to attracting tourists, but travel publications, websites, and other media channels are thin on Lao information. Competing destinations overshadow Laos at trade shows. Lao tourism needs to cut through the clutter and get its voice heard.
A comprehensive national tourism website presents the foundation for providing information and attracting visitors. In 2017, the Lao government acknowledged the need for such a site. Short-term donor projects prop up public sector sites, but sustainable success, and amount and quality of information tend to be limited. Laos needs a highly informative and promotional website that is sustainable, professional, and constantly updated.
Unlike their colleagues in other destinations, Lao tourism stakeholders cannot rely on the government to effectively market the country. Social media sites offer opinions and experiences. OTAs with booking engines provide some information. However, they charge clients high commissions and burden them with policies and regulations. Further, their impact on businesses can be weak. Unfortunately, SMEs feel they have no other way to reach a global audience. Lao tourism stakeholders need a cost-effective way to directly connect with global agents and tourists.
We Are Laos is a comprehensive national tourism portal and marketing platform. Our aim is to confront and overcome these tourism communication and information challenges, and reach the target. Here’s how:
Solution: Inform, Promote, Connect
The Lao government and donor agencies place much of their tourism weight on development. Because of their efforts, Laos offers boundless natural, cultural, and historical experiences backed by more than 2,000 attractions. Unfortunately, much of this development takes place in a vacuum, and no one knows about it. It’s time for Laos to be heard, and We Are Lao turns up the volume.
Inform: The traveller’s pathway to purchase begins with destination research. Travel agents’ decisions for new and exciting itineraries rely on a solid and broad source of facts for their clients. WeAreLao.com aims to provide all the information a tourist or agent may need, regardless of market, interest, or client budget.
To achieve this, the search-optimized website opens to a logical linking system (LLS) that provides a fast and rational journey to the information visitors want. The site will present nine distinct main mega-menu items, many featuring dozens of categories. These lead to scores of informative pages with links to 100s of more-detailed pages or related topics. The LLS allows visitors to quickly pinpoint a page or take their time to logically navigate around the site.
The information on the site is based on primary research by the editor, experts, and contributors, as well as personal interviews and desk research verified by tour operators, government officials, and other reputable sources. WeAreLao.com also presents three blogs to constantly update visitors on news and events, special deals, and travel tales. The site will continue to expand both in topics covered and depth of information. But remember, having a great site is one thing, driving visitors there is another.
Promote: “Without promotion, something terrible happens…nothing!” P.T. Barnum: Famed showman & businessman
We Are Lao uses a Madison Avenue promotional method known in marketing circles as “Bigger than Life”, as this is fitting for Laos. This means endless, targeted exposure… “In your face” exposure. Promoting Laos covers the country as a whole, individual attractions and activities, specific destinations, tours, and places to stay. And Laos, with its stakeholders, has plenty to boast about.
Competition among tourism destinations is fierce, as is the battle for tourists. Laos must cut through the clutter that flows from the competition, and gain the global market’s attention. Destinations, like products, need a unique selling point (USP)…an idyllic beach, iconic historical landmark, spectacular wildlife reserve. As for Laos, even well-heeled Southeast Asian travellers ask, “Besides Luang Prabang, what goes on over there?” Curiosity…The Last Frontier. Thirst for information is a strength.
To cut through the digital quagmire, We Are Lao goes straight to a highly targeted market of decision makers, and keeps going. Exposure requires wave after wave of attention-getting communications that consumers demand…in your face and bigger than life. Of course, We Are Lao controls the style and tone, as well as media choice, for a specific objective and audience. You win by direct connections with no commissions.
Here are a few ways We Are Lao promotes:
- Drive global travel agents and potential visitors to the site at every opportunity
- Present a clear, crisp site with experiential/informative content and inviting pictures leading to the page’s direct link picture advertisements and engine-driven listings
- Boost new products and specials on We Are Lao blogs, direct emails, social media, and newsletters.
- Publish blog contributions that reflect the entire Lao tourism experience
- Write Lao tourism articles for publication on We Are Lao blogs, trade media, direct emails, social media, and newsletters
- Organize trade show representation for We Are Lao Members
- Help organize agent and media FAM trips
- Offer merchandising
- Provide link capability to the site
Discover all We Are Lao can do for you, and Become a Member.
Connect: To inform and promote, you need to directly connect. Banner ads, Facebook boosts, and other online algorithm-driven gimmicks and OTA over-presence is akin to throwing mud at the wall and hoping some sticks. Your message gets diluted on Trip Advisor and online booking engines, while We Are Lao offers direct links with no commissions.
We Are Lao’s database is closing in on 10,000 highly targeted decision makers. These include international travel agents, travel publication partners, travel writers, and other major tourism and hospitality players. Further, our subscription list is starting to fill with potential visitors, who will also receive communications. Our SEO is top notch.
We Are Lao aims to make these critical connections:
- International travel agents and travellers with Lao tourism enterprises and activities/attractions
- Primary Lao destinations with high-value visitors and upscale travel agents
- Secondary Lao destination stakeholders with domestic operators, global agents, and FITs
- Government, donor agency, and relevant NGO projects with domestic tour operators and visitors
Avenues for reaching them, grabbing their attention, and having them act or driving them to WeAreLao.com are limitless, both online and off. You’ll find the growing list of these connections and other benefits by visiting Become a Member.