The life of a tourism business owner can be stressful. You undoubtedly wear many hats, including customer service representative, guide, bookkeeper, cleaner, team leader and marketing manager.
And the list of roles may go on and on…
All the while facing a barrage of changes with social media, algorithms, SEO, booking systems, technology, and tourism best practices. Oh, and add the latest and greatest marketing workshop or tool, plus the numerous committees you are probably on. Eek!
Stressed, Overwhelmed and Time Poor
No wonder you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Your time is precious; you are time poor yet want to fit everything in. We get it!
That’s why it’s important to remain disciplined and focused, especially regarding your tourism marketing.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler.
To help you reduce your overwhelm and claw back a bit of your sanity, we have compiled a list of tips and tools to help you manage your time and marketing efforts.
General Time-Saving Tips
1. Stop Multi-tasking
The benefit of multi-tasking is one of those misconceptions that has evolved over time. In truth, multi-tasking divides your attention and makes it harder to complete a task successfully.
There is a reason driving and texting are illegal!
Science has proven that our brains work best when focusing on one thing at a time. By doing one task at a time, you will ultimately save time.
2. Set Time Limits
Allocate a specific amount of time to a particular task, whether a meeting, social media posting, updating the website or one of the hundreds of other jobs you perform. If you set a time limit, you will become more productive.
Setting a countdown timer on your phone will ensure you focus on completing that task in the time allocated. Also, the countdown timer creates a sense of urgency. Over time, you will find you become less distracted as your concentration is solely on completing that task before the timer hits zero.
3. Track Your Time
Time tracking is key to understanding how you spend your day. How much time do you spend browsing the web, looking through your inbox, or trying to find that document? These minor tasks accumulate over time.
By tracking your time, you will gain an accurate recording of your time spent on each task. Then, you can decide which tasks to prioritise, outsource or which are simply time wasters.
4. Eliminate Distractions
Implement a mechanism in your workplace that states ‘Do Not Disturb’. This could be as simple as:
- Closing your door.
- Switching your phone to silent or airplane mode.
- Shutting down emails or other apps on your computer.
We all know it takes twice as long to get back into the groove once you lose focus. If you eliminate the distractions first, you will complete tasks quicker and more efficiently.
5. Invest Time in Education
This may seem obvious, but you will save time later when you learn a new skill relevant to marketing your business. For example, learning how to use a team app, social media scheduling tool, or updating content on your website will save you time in the future.
6. Create SOPs – Standard Operating Procedures
Standard operating procedures (or SOPs) should be integral to any tourism business. They outline in a step-by-step format tasks that are performed regularly. And the benefits are numerous, as SOPs help:
- Establish routines
- Implement quality control
- Offer better systems for growth
- Enable task reassignment
- Reduce loss of productivity or downtime
7. Use a Password Manager
You are inevitably logging into a load of tools and resources online, and each invariably requires unique user credentials.
It’s frightening how many business owners use the same password across devices, keep a list on their computers or a paper copy at the front desk. Invest in a password manager tool like Lastpass to store your passwords.
It is a lot quicker than looking up a password on your computer. It also advises how difficult your password is to hack or if it’s compromised. PLUS, you can allocate team members to different folders depending on their access needs.
8. Tidy Your Inbox & Unsubscribe
This is a no-brainer, but it’s commonly relegated to ‘not a priority’ for time poor business owners. However, you’ll gain time just by spending 1/2 an hour a week deleting unwanted emails, unsubscribing from the no longer relevant newsletters, and filing actioned emails.
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”
9. Systemize Your Filing
Like tidying your inbox, systemising your cloud filing will save time when looking for those important documents.
If using a shared cloud based filing system for your team, ensure everyone is of the new filing format and where to quickly access files.
10. Delegate or Outsource Tasks
If you have SOPs in place, there is no reason why you shouldn’t delegate or outsource tasks. You don’t need to do everything yourself.
11. Take Breaks
You are not a machine so take restful breaks. Just as multi-tasking is a time zapper, so is being overly tired.
Marketing Time-Saving Tips
12. Develop a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is an essential and powerful business tool. Not only does it focus on the why, how, when, where, who and what of your marketing. But it also outlines the specific, measurable steps you need to take to achieve your marketing goals. Yet, around 80% of Australian small businesses reportedly don’t have a marketing plan!
Having a marketing plan will save time because you won’t be wasting efforts marketing to people who don’t fit your target audience profile. Plus, your messaging will be much more strategic and resonate with your audience.
By having clear and manageable marketing goals, you can more effectively direct your resources and measure the success of your marketing strategy.
Marketing and, specifically, having a PLAN for your marketing is crucial to the success of your tourism business. Think of it as your roadmap to success.
FURTHER READING: How to Write a Successful Tourism Marketing Plan in 10 Steps
13. Choose Marketing Channels Wisely
By having a marketing plan underpinned by a solid strategy, you won’t be spending time and money promoting your business on platforms that will not reach your target audience.
14. Create a 90-day Marketing Calendar
Your Marketing Plan usually spans 1-5 years and is a top-level document that will tie into your business plan. To hone your marketing, breaking down your marketing tactics into 90-day blocks works wonders.
90-day plans break your annual goals into quarterly segments and make it easier to understand the critical success factors, strategies and actions necessary to achieve your objectives. It will also prioritise tasks and give you clear direction and accountability. Having it in a 90-day calendar format makes it much easier to visualise and action.
15. Create a Brand Style Guide
Consistency should be the core of all your tourism marketing efforts. The best way to do this is a brand style guide that directs all stakeholders on your tourism business’s fonts, colours, writing and visual style. A brand style guide is a rulebook that specifies every aspect of your brand’s look, feel and voice.
FURTHER READING: The 101 on How to Craft a Comprehensive Tourism Brand Style Guide
16. Create Marketing Templates
Similar to SOPs, templates are colossal time savers, especially as many social media activities are repetitive. Templates you could create are:
- A set of graphic templates in Canva for each social network.
- A standard set of hashtags to use on your Instagram posts.
- A blog layout.
- A seasonal copy update for your ATDW listing (see No. 18).
It will save you time when you only have to change an image or modify the text rather than starting from scratch each time.
17. Create a Media File
At some point, you will be contacted by media or other tourism bodies requesting information on your tourism business. Once contacted, many business owners then drop everything and waste valuable time trying to find imagery and information. Instead, a clever idea is to create a media file that includes the following:
- 300 to 1000 word bio on your business story.
- 1 page document with contact details, social links, a few testimonials and possibly links to any other media coverage or relevant blogs written by you.
- Up to 10 high resolution professional images.
- Logo and brand style guide.
Set this media file up in a shareable file such as Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Docs. Do remember to update information regularly.
18. Schedule Seasonal Updates
Tourism is primarily seasonal, and so is Mother Nature. Therefore promoting images of lush green winter fields all year round may end up causing colossal disappointment to your summer tourism guest. Change your images ready for the seasons on:
- Googe Business
- Media File
- Social Media headers
- Anywhere else you can think of.
19. Repurpose Content
Creating content for your marketing can take considerable time. However, there are many ways in which you can repurpose it and extend its reach. One of the fastest ways is to repurpose content by cutting it down into smaller chunks. This is particularly easy to do with the following:
- FAQs pages
- Customer testimonials
An example is the humble FAQs page. What better place to find content ideas than a page containing every problem or question your audience might have?
FURTHER READING: The Tourism FAQs page – why you need it and what to include.
And if in need more inspiration, check out our Decant Digital Instagram feed. You’ll see how we cleverly repurpose our blogs into carousels.
20. Batch, Automate and Schedule
Once you have a 90-day calendar (see No. 14) and templates (see No.16), you can easily create strategic social media content in one batch. This alleviates trying to create content on the run, which is time consuming, stressful and usually misses the mark. Plus, you’ll then be able to automate your social media by scheduling posts which frees up your time for other tasks.
21. Avoid Social Media When You Should Be Doing Something Else
Yep, social media can be an effective marketing tool. Alternatively, it can also be a distraction that sucks your valuable time. So, allocate specific time slots to post, reply, engage and discipline yourself to stick to them.
22. Don’t Waste Time on Things That Aren’t Working
Continuously evaluate your various online marketing campaigns and activities. Be ruthless, cut out the things that aren’t working, and invest more time elsewhere.
If you use the 90-day calendar method, the end of each quarter is a savvy time to review your metrics and sales and see what worked and what to ditch.
23. Prioritise As If Your Life (and Sanity) Depends on It
Some aspects of your marketing activities should take precedence over others. But in this digital age and the increasingly constant barrage of marketing tasks, we can become overwhelmed and think everything is urgent. So prioritise.
Each day ask yourself if this task is in the top 20% of your activities or in the bottom 80%?
24. Get Professional Marketing Support
As a tourism business owner, your marketing budget is possibly tiny to non-existent. Plus, you’ve been told so often that you can DIY it.
Sadly though, the DIY route is time consuming. We get it.
Clawing back your time, reducing stress and successfully marketing your tourism business may be as simple as getting professional tourism marketing support. And possibly more economical in the long term.