The South American country of Colombia is as biodiverse as it is ethnically diverse. Its population of about 50 million people lives in climates from extreme heat to extreme cold, from the Andes Mountains to the Amazon rainforest. People from all over the world have contributed to the ethnic mix resulting in a rich cultural heritage. As a middle income country, Colombia is able to provide health insurance coverage to its population with good access at affordable prices to high quality care.
The country has reversed its reputation for crime and drug cartels, improving security for its citizens and tourists. The public and private sectors have invested in improving healthcare and attracting medical tourists seeking high quality medical care at reasonable prices. Most of the state of the art hospitals are located in urban areas including its capital, Bogota, and other major metropolitan areas like Medellin, Cartagena, and Barranquilla. Tourism numbers are up but so far the numbers of medical travelers is below expectations.
Listen to this story on NPR: Will Colombia’s Gamble on Medical Tourism Pay Off?
National Market Strategy for Medical Tourism
The export agency of the government of Colombia (ProExport Colombia) retained Stackpole & Associates to develop a strategy to attract more medical travelers. The country is competing aggressively with other destinations such as Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Costa Rica, and Miami for preference and market share among travelers from the Caribbean and elsewhere seeking health and wellness services.
Medical Tourism Training was engaged to secret shop leading health care providers in Colombia as well as competitors in eight geographic markets to test the providers’ responsiveness and customer service skills through their websites, telephone and email systems. Based on its participation in this project, Colombia’s providers were compared to their leading competitors to determine their readiness, professionalism, and effectiveness in reaching the target audiences of prospective medical travelers. Actionable recommendations were made to raise the level of customer service which will, in turn, convert the number of inquiries into paying clients. For more information about converting inquiries into leads, read the article “Increasing Lead Conversions.”
Based on multiple correspondence analysis, thorough supply and demand analysis, SWOTs of the comparative and competitive destinations and original research of over 1500 carefully prequalified prospective consumers, a highly targeted PR and marketing campaign was designed to reach consumers in selected source locations whose profiles matched the model identified as most inclined to travel to Colombia for medical services. The research also identified the motivations most likely to prompt these consumers to travel, enabling ProExport and providers in the country to communicate more effectively, stimulating more interest and travel.
This comprehensive project provided Colombia with a plan to market its medical travel services to specific audiences for the services most likely to be purchased.
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