Unlocking the Potential of Medical Value Travel in India: The Importance and Key Factors of Developing a Marketing & Branding Strategy
Medical Value Travel (MVT), also known as medical tourism, refers to the practice of traveling to a different country for medical treatment or procedures. MVT includes a wide range of medical treatments, such as elective procedures like cosmetic surgery, orthopaedics, cardiovascular, cancer treatments, organ transplants, and fertility treatments, among others. MVT combines medical treatment with travel and tourism, allowing patients to receive medical care while experiencing the culture and attractions of the host country.
The MVT industry in India is experiencing remarkable growth, presenting lucrative opportunities for private companies. As of 2020, the MVT market in India was valued at $2.89 billion, with projections indicating a substantial increase to reach $13.42 billion by 2026. This rapid expansion underscores the immense potential for enterprises to establish a strong presence within this thriving sector. Significant investments from both the Government of India and the private sector have contributed to the remarkable progress of the healthcare sector, resulting in the establishment of world-class medical facilities and infrastructure. Furthermore, as part of its efforts to position India as a premier global destination for medical and wellness tourism, the government has introduced the "Heal in India" initiative. It also plans to launch a comprehensive online MVT portal that integrates all the essential components of the ecosystem, ensuring efficient coordination and convenience for all stakeholders involved.
India offers a wide range of medical treatments, including modern and traditional medicine, making it a one-stop destination for medical needs. With the increasing availability of information and awareness about medical tourism, more and more patients are considering MVT as an option for medical treatments.
Need for promotion & marketing strategy for MVT to India
Promoting and marketing of MVT in India are crucial for the growth and success of the sector. With increased awareness about the availability of affordable high-quality medical treatments and the power of positive word-of-mouth, India can attract more patients and drive demand. This, in turn, can help differentiate the sector from other global players and give India a competitive advantage. Additionally, promoting MVT can bring significant economic benefits to India, such as increased job creation and foreign exchange, wherein patients will pay for consultations, surgeries, diagnostic tests, medications, and other medical expenses, which are typically paid in foreign currency and this spending will directly contribute to foreign exchange inflows. To fully realize the potential of the industry, a comprehensive and effective promotion and marketing strategy is essential to communicate India’s unique value proposition.
Factors to take into consideration for building an effective communication and branding strategy for MVT
In order to develop an effective branding strategy, companies should take the following factors can be considered to develop a strategy that can be employed to promote the uniqueness of MVT in India:
1. Understanding target audience: The first step in promoting the uniqueness of MVT is to understand the target audience. This includes identifying the demographics using criteria such as existing bilateral agreements with India, demand for quality and economical care in the country, ease of air connectivity and ease of access to medical visa, language and cultural synergies with India and the potential of Ayush and wellness treatments. A deep understanding of the target audience will help tailor the marketing message to effectively reach and engage them.
2. Developing a Unique Selling Proposition (USP): A USP is a statement that defines what makes your business unique and why customers should choose it over others. In the case of MVT, the USP could be the combination of affordability, quality of medical treatments, availability of traditional treatments, fast-track appointments, trained medical practitioners and end-to-end patient care.
3. Creating a Strong Brand Identity: Creating a strong brand identity involves developing a logo, tagline, and brand values that accurately reflect the business and its USP. This will help establish the brand in the minds of customers and differentiate it from competitors. In MVT, trust and reliability are crucial aspects, so brands can focus on advertising the patient testimonials and use an outcome driven approach to develop their brand identity.
4. Utilizing Digital Marketing: In today's digital age, digital marketing is a powerful tool to reach a large audience. This includes utilizing social media platforms, website optimization, and search engine advertising to increase visibility and attract potential patients.
5. Building Partnerships and Networking: Partnerships and networking with healthcare providers, travel companies, insurance providers, and other MVT stakeholders in the industry can help increase brand recognition and reach. Collaborating with these partners can also provide new opportunities for business growth. Participation in medical tourism conferences and events will help in building relationships with key players in the industry and can also help in showcasing the facilities and services available in India and attracting potential medical tourists.
Organizing roadshows for MVT promotion in other countries is an effective way to attract potential medical tourists to India. By identifying target markets, building partnerships, developing marketing collateral, hosting seminars and workshops, we can boost MVT in other countries and attract more medical tourists to India.
6. Providing Exceptional Customer Service: Providing excellent customer service is critical in maintaining customer loyalty and building a positive reputation. This includes ensuring prompt responses to customer inquiries, dedicated grievance redressal mechanism, addressing any concerns in a timely manner and continuously improving the customer experience.
So, for any entity in the industry, a strong marketing and branding strategy is essential in promoting the uniqueness of MVT in India. By defining its USP, conducting market research, establishing a strong online presence, developing a strong marketing strategy, partnering with influencers, offering special deals and promotions, and continuously evaluating and refining its efforts, companies can effectively promote its unique offerings and attract a loyal customer base. With a solid marketing and branding strategy and the ‘Heal in India’ initiative from Government of India in place, the MVT industry of India can differentiate itself in the market and establish itself as a leader in the medical travel industry globally.