29 Jan 2024

African Travel and Tourism Association

Growing for good - how ATTA’s platform is helping communities across Africa.

“With a small team of five, efficiency is vital for us to deliver more for members. ReadyMembership has given us the insights and tools to grow and create new initiatives that will help communities across Africa.”

Chris Mears joined the African Travel & Tourism Association (ATTA®) as CEO in 2017. Now Chief Executive of the association’s events business, Experience Africa Events, Chris was tasked with finding a digital platform that would drive more efficiencies, and service more members - over 620 suppliers and buyers of tourism from across the African continent.

ATTA’s old technology stack didn’t give them a single view of all their members or a holistic view of their wider travel industry audience. The team lacked the time and tools to deliver effective membership personalisation. This was essential if they were to grow their membership, attract more events attendees and extend their reach in the wider travel industry.

Since launching their new platform in 2022, ATTA has attracted more than 100 new organisational members for the first time in a single financial year - an increase of 16%. 

ReadyMembership has also enabled them to create a new membership category that brings together local community initiatives with the African tourism industry - something that wasn’t possible with their old platform.


The Challenge

Previously the ATTA team used multiple systems including a poorly connected website and email platform, CRM and accounting software. They couldn’t easily see who had booked on previous events - they had to cobble together information from spreadsheets. Without a historical picture of what members had done in the past they couldn’t market future events to them easily. 

Trade show and events enquiries and bookings were managed by phone and email. The team checked availability on spreadsheets and manually created bookings, sent and received contracts and invoices and processed payments. This ten step process would take up 80% of the team’s week when running trade shows and events. Not having a single view of data limited the team’ insights into their members and their ability to personalise membership for them.

ATTA’s reach and engagement with the wider non-member travel community was also limited by their old technology. Member and non-member data was siloed and the team didn’t have a single holistic view of their event bookings, website visits, email opens and other interactions with the association. This was a major challenge to the association’s long term ambitions and ability to grow.


The project

Collaborative development

ATTA took a holistic view of all their operations and the ReadyMembership team worked with them to really understand what the existing processes were before beginning the digital transformation project. 

They looked at how these processes could be streamlined, matched and drive efficiencies for the association - and brought examples of workflows that they have created for other membership organisations. A series of workshops were held to scope out design, CRM requirements and membership journeys mapped. Data migration was planned and Xero and Stripe integration scheduled. 

New wireflows were developed - combining visual layout with functional specifications for the first time. This made it much easier for both teams to see what was required, helping development to run more smoothly. 

Innovative translation tech

To help ATTA reach new Chinese speaking audiences, the ReadyMembership team integrated a third-party translation tool with their new website using an API specially developed for the project.  This has enabled ATTA to quickly translate the English language website - saving the team over two weeks in development.  

This collaborative process ensured that user journeys, brand application and functionality was optimised to ATTA’s specific needs using ReadyMembership technology.

Expanding the ATTA community

With ATTA’s new platform website users who aren’t members can register for free and access content that isn’t publicly available. With ReadyMembership, the ATTA team can see content that people are viewing and send them more of what they are interested in. This builds trust and starts people on the path to full membership.

Each year, every member company has the opportunity to host a webinar showcasing a destination or service on ATTA’s website. In order to attend the webinars, people have to register for a free ATTA account. 

These webinars have generated over 470 newly registered users. ATTA can easily see who has booked in the ReadyMembership CRM and using the platform’s rules engine, they can create targeted email sequences that send them further resources and invite them to other webinars on related topics.

This is another way that ReadyMembership is helping to expand ATTA’s influence and reach within the wider travel industry.

Helping members grow

The submissions tool on the ReadyMembership platform makes it easy for members to submit company news, offers or fact-sheets for distribution across ATTA’s digital channels. 

Members login into the website and submit information through their dashboard. The ATTA team then reviews and publishes it to the news section, homepage and member directory depending where the member has selected.

ATTA also uses ReadyMembership to share member content through its newsletters and with a wider network of over 5000 PR and media contacts. This helps members build awareness and reach new customers.

There are also other self-service tools that help members manage their membership and access opportunities:

Membership directory - member organisations can have multiple admins manage their profile which can include photos, videos and documents.

Events -  book events, webinars & trade shows. They can see their booking history, add guests or make cancellations

Resource library - member-only resources, fact-sheets and offers

Dashboard - members can manage details, bookings, events and submissions from one hub




The benefits

Saving the team time

ATTA runs a wide range of free and paid in-person and virtual events. These all have different ticket types and payment levels. In addition to running their own flagship conference, Experience Africa, the team sells exhibition space at leading external trade show events. 

Email and phone enquiries have now been replaced by online forms, invoices are automatically generated and payments can be made on the ATTA website. A 10 step manual process has been fully automated, saving the team 16 hours in administration for each event they manage.

They easily also move bookings or create wait lists for events which can be managed manually or automatically. These efficiencies frees up time to deliver more events and trusted resources to members.

Single view of data

The ReadyMembership CRM gives a holistic view of all their member and non-member data. They can see website clicks, email opens, event bookings and more. This gives ATTA easy insights into member behaviour and interests - allowing them to develop new strategies for member engagement and recruitment. They can then tailor content on the website and emails around events members have booked and target at different segments using the ReadyMembership rules engine. Having all data in one place also makes reporting on member activities to the board easy.

Creating a library of destination content

ATTA wants to become the destination of choice for information on all things related to travel to Africa. Information from African Tourist Boards can vary greatly - some have a great presence and others less so.  ReadyMembership’s resource library has made it easy for them to create country pages that feature resources from across ATTA’s website. For example, a page for Botswana can include all ATTA’s webinars, documents and news related to the country. This is another way in which ReadyMembership is helping ATTA build its reputation, impact and reach within the wider African travel and tourism industry.

Making a positive impact across the African continent

In October 2023 the association launched ATTA for Action. This new membership category brings tourism operators and buyers together with charities and local community groups. Charities apply to join the scheme and ATTA matches them with their members. This raises charities’ profiles within the industry and enables ATTA’s members - and their customers - to have a positive impact on the ground.

The subscriptions tools in ReadyMembership allow ATTA to create news categories of membership and set prices and grades. Charities apply online and ATTA matches them with local partners - creating opportunity for collaboration. All applications are managed in the ReadyMembership platform.

This new membership is giving ATTA’s members and their customers the opportunity to have a positive impact in local communities across the African continent. An initiative that wasn’t possible before moving to ReadyMembership.

The future is personal

ATTA now wants to extend the personal experience at its Trade Shows & events to their digital platforms.

“Tourism is a highly personal business”, explains Chris Mears. “We want to gather more information and use the ReadyMembership rules engine to deliver targeted experiences for our different member segments - across our website, webinars, email and beyond”.

With ReadyMembership, ATTA has the platform to make an even bigger positive impact with its members, the tourism industry and communities across Africa.

Book a call with one of our experienced membership consultants to discuss your specific ReadyMembership needs.

Book a demo