The digital age has empowered us all, thanks to the near-instant access to information and the ease in which we can research our purchase decisions.
This digital technology, in turn, offers more opportunities than ever to market your tourism business, enabling you to stand out and be considered.
Alleviate the Frustration and Overwhelm
Yet, time and time again, we hear from tourism business owners that they are frustrated and overwhelmed. Their tourism marketing tactics are not getting enough traction, and they are missing out on valuable bookings, sales and growth.
With so much talk of SEO, email automation sequences, click funnels, videos and a myriad of social media tactics, it’s easy to drown in it all. Or be left wondering why you are not getting the results you expect.
So, if your tourism marketing strategy could use a boost, read on to discover 10 ways to get creative and easily generate more brand awareness, website traffic and sales.
No.1 Blogs, Blogs and More Blogs!
Having a blog on your website is one of the single most important marketing tactics your tourism business can implement.
Because for your website to make a memorable impression and create strong customer connections – it first has to be found.
And this all starts by being there when people first start researching their next holiday destination.
They want inspiration and help to make the perfect choice, because “67% are more likely to book with a travel brand who gives them relevant and valuable information on the destination they want to visit” (source Google).
So, give them relevant and highly valuable information. Be the tourism business that is a great resource in your region!
Think of it in terms of Before, During and After – each touchpoint of your customer’s journey with your tourism business can be covered with a blog.
A great example of a tourism business doing this beautifully is Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage, located in the heart of wine tourism country – the Barossa Valley.
We were wrapped to see them receive huge kudos in a blog (of all things) by acclaimed blogger – Donna from Socially Sorted for their fabulous efforts in consistently blogging about their neighbours and surrounds.
So much so, that if you Google information on Barossa Valley cellar doors, dining experiences, best coffee and more, there is sure to be a blog from Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage showing on Page 1 of the search results.
And why is their strategy so successful?
Because they have focused on the customer – what they are searching for and what they want information and guidance on. The customer experience is first and foremost!
FURTHER READING: 15 Reasons Blogging is a Powerful Tourism Marketing Tactic
Whether you already have a blog or need to publish your first post, spend 10 minutes right now on a power brainstorm about new topics and angles, focusing on how to assist your customer easily access information about your region.
No.2 Embrace Videos or be Left Behind
Videos are the hottest ticket in town for social media and search – for good reason.
On Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, they lead the way in engagement, are a powerful magnet for strong, human connection and are easy to share.
But interestingly, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound! So be mindful of imagery and captions.
They are also just as powerful in search marketing. According to search marketing specialist – Neil Patel
“videos are a force you ignore at your peril. Video now appears in 70% of the top 100 search results listings, and viewers are anywhere from 64-85% more likely to buy after watching a product video”.
To get your tourism brand noticed, create videos that share the beauty of your surrounds.
The Clyde Greenock shared a beautiful tribute to the artisan producers, wineries and what they love most about their beloved Greenock village, which you can’t help but be drawn in by!
Showcase your region. Whether it’s the change of seasons, the unique, local events, what markets to visit, interesting history or something else the viewer will love doing in your region when they visit.
Go off-topic! Think laterally and find topics that are related to your offering that will be both helpful and entertaining for your viewers.
Present behind-the-scenes. Introduce the people behind your business, your story, the failures and successes.
Then, if you need help producing your video, we highly recommend Animoto. Gone are the days of video being either hard or expensive to generate. Animoto guides you through 3 easy steps and offers a world of templates, images, music, options and adjustments to make your video pop.
No.3 Be Seen and Found on Social Media
Technology has changed the 5 stages of travel forever and social media has a large part to play in this shift. So it follows that having a strong, professional and engaging online presence simply isn’t complete without Social Media.
Social media channels amplify word-of-mouth and trust and are also one of the most common places for people to do their holiday research and gather information (the Planning Stage of Travel).
So by being social media savvy, you can create regular content that stands out, connects to your customers and tells your story.
Social media also gives you the ability to greatly enhance your customer service also.
By using the Messaging and Comment functions you can answer questions, receive feedback and allay any concerns, for as many hours of the day as you want to, and provide highly professional customer service.
Are you using social media now? Think you can up your game on it?
Take a step back and check in on your social media strategy. Quite simply, whatever can make your brand stand out, is unique, fun, emotive and inspiring – be social & share it!
No.4 Create an eBook or Guide
Think a blog is only for one use? Think again!
Repurpose those blogs and create a guide to your area or a relevant and helpful eBook that your potential and actual visitors will adore.
By creating ‘evergreen’ content (long-lasting content) you can repurpose or reshape your blogs for other uses for plenty of time to come.
This differs from social media posts that often have a very short shelf life. Sometimes as little as a few seconds before your reader has moved onto the next post or app!
But, you can still mine your social media posts for content gold that will fit beautifully into your eBook or guide.
No.5 Don’t ignore Mobile Responsiveness
It’s hard to believe its only been a few short years that people began using Mobile Devices more than Desktop Computers to search and book, yet…
There are tourism business websites that are STILL NOT mobile-friendly!!
Today, 60% of searches for destination information (Source Google) come from mobile devices, so it’s incredibly important to make sure your website is ‘responsive’ and adapts to the size of the screen it’s being viewed on.
Your potential customers are using their small screens to research, plan and book their big purchases – including their next holiday to your region.
So ensure your greatest online asset (your website) is is mobile-friendly and caters beautifully to all website visitors.
Remember, you can also look in your website’s Google Analytics, to check the figures for what platforms and devices are used to visit your site. Don’t have Google Analytics?! Aarrgghhh! Call us today – it’s a must-have!
Spend some time looking at your own website, online marketing and social media using only your mobile phone. Then on a tablet.
Can you see anything needing to be tweaked or fixed? Can you see any opportunities to change, be different or more creative?
While you’re at it, take a look at the competition to see what they’re up to, what they’re doing well and what mistakes you can learn from.
No.6 Ask for Referrals & Reviews
In tourism marketing, you’re selling the experience rather than a tangible product.
And more often than not, you’ll be promoting this to people who can live anywhere from an hour away to half a country or globe away!
Which is why it is crucial to ‘social proof’.
FURTHER READING: How to Use Social Proof Successfully in Tourism Marketing
Testimonials, star ratings, reviews, endorsements and even social engagement stats are all powerful forms of social proof.
It’s more important than ever that tourism businesses use social proof – to instill confidence and trust in those who visit your online platforms and provide additional proof that your claims are true. Before they visit and find out for themselves.
As Nielsen reported, the sources of advertising that are trusted most are:
- #1 Word of mouth: a whopping 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.
- #2 Online Consumer Reviews: the next closest at 70%.
So, don’t be shy about asking for customer referrals.
The majority of people are willing to provide a referral if asked, but very few take the initiative to do it on their own.
Referrals make it easier to get in the door with new customers. If you aren’t asking for them, you are missing opportunities.
How can you ask your customerfor their referral? At time of visit? By a well-constructed, emotive email sent after departure? Do you encourage testimonials and other positive comments on TripAdvisor, Google My Business and other social media? Put your thinking cap on!
No.7 Let Your Customers Promote for You!
The topic of social proof ties in beautifully to ‘User Generated Content’ or UGC. Also called – Earned Media, this is content you can use to promote your business that has been created or shared by your customer.
UGC can include Images, Videos, Infographics, Comments, Blogs and Reviews.
So how can you capitalise on your UGC?
Here are 3 easy ways:
- Share it widely. Social proof is only effective if it’s visible. So start leveraging your social proof and UGC wherever you can! Make sure you’re including your testimonials and stats throughout your social media channels, website and blog, as well as in other marketing collateral and email marketing communications.
- Boost the impact with a photo.The next time you share the positive reviews or testimonials of a guest, share some gorgeous images of your business also. Bonus points if you can include a pic of the guest who wrote the comment!Or, use Canva to place your customer’s beautiful words over an even more beautiful image from your tourism business.
- Make it easy to act. When you use your reviews to gain trust and inspire others to book – make sure you make it easy to book! Include links to your booking platform, your site, email or phone number so they can act instantly.
Where can you improve your service to encourage even more testimonials? Is there any ways you can surprise or delight your guests?
Do you have your hashtags visible so your customers can use them when they get snap happy? How else can you encourage UGC?
Speaking of the power of images, make sure you have plenty of photo opportunities that you can point out to your customers – to encourage even more UGC in the form of selfies and memorable travel pics they post on Instagram and Facebook.
FURTHER READING: User Generated Content in Tourism Marketing – A Quick Guide
No.8 Milk the Media
Implementing a PR strategy which results in getting your tourism business featured in the media – be it the local paper, radio station, TV or online – is an incredibly cost-effective marketing tool.
So what will you need?
- Content Calendar – start thinking of one newsworthy angle each month.
- Target Media List – as well as local traditional media, think of websites and social media pages who cover ‘What’s On’ and other relevant themes.
- Media Release Template – follow the formula and aim to send out one release per month. Stick to it and be consistent!
You can also capture the attention of the media by thinking outside of the square.
Whether it’s a publicity stunt, something that gives back to the community, sponsoring an event, winning a business award, hosting a VIP event, inviting the local media to experience what you offer firsthand, and more.
What can you think of that’s a bit different?
If you’re having trouble discovering newsworthy angles, targeting the right media and crafting your media release, download our The Essential Media Release Guide + Template. This product is chock full of great content and also has a listing of media contacts. Alternatively, give us a call. We’d love to help.
No.9 Investigate Google Adwords & PPC advertising
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and Google Ads (previously Google Adwords) campaigns are worth exploring, as they can be the path to more bookings.
Done well, it’s a highly efficient, targeted, trackable and cost-effective form of online marketing.
The idea of PPC is that you bid on a particular keyword (what someone enters into their Google search bar), your ad turns up and if someone clicks on your ad to go through to your website, it is only then that you pay.
We suggest considering these tips before you jump into an Google Ads campaign:
- Set a budget.
- Decide if you want to go it alone or use an agency.
- If you choose an agency – do your research and compare a number of them.
- Narrow down your search terms, so you’re not paying for expensive, generic terms that have greater competition.
- Be honest and use keywords that relate to your business.
- Track and measure so you can get the best ROI possible.
- Pay close attention to what’s working and what’s not and tweak as you go.
Look at your current forms of online advertising to discover their ROI. Then, if you have money in your budget for PPC advertising, investigate and experiment to see what positive impact it can have.
No.10 Create a Tourism Marketing Plan
Last, but definitely not least.
A successful marketing plan is a powerful and essential business tool.
You need a comprehensive marketing plan that includes both digital and traditional communications. Your plan will outline the specific, measurable steps you need to take to achieve your goals.
AND, it will give your tourism business the power to:
- Plan for business growth.
- Meet & exceed industry benchmarks.
- Uncover gaps, opportunities and trends.
- Keep your mission at the core of all activities.
- Focus your resources and inspire your staff.
- Create content and track, test, and tweak.
- Measure & improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.
- Reach more of your target audience.
- Ultimately, increase sales.
FURTHER READING: How to Write a Tourism Marketing Strategy in 10 Steps
Think laterally, dream big and have fun bringing your tourism marketing plan together. Make sure you get input from all of your staff as they’re sure to have some great ideas.
Is your creative brain now bursting with ideas?
Excellent! It’s time to get cracking on using these 10 ways to easily market your tourism business.