The tourism industry has faced unprecedented challenges in 2020, but restrictions are lifting, and the time is coming for the sector to make a comeback. That means you need a strategy, and you’re going to need to pull it together relatively quickly.
Why is tourism marketing important? Well, when the economy starts to re-open and people start thinking about their vacations again, companies are going to be competing to win customers, but from a smaller pool as tourism tentatively resumes.
Since you’re going to be competing harder than before, you’re going to need to make sure that everything counts. Also, as people are more likely to take local trips rather than interstate or international, you’ll need to switch your marketing focus to capitalize on domestic travelers. These will form your core audience for at least the next few months.
So, how do you compete effectively in this market? You’re going to need to start thinking about this in advance and creating a strategy that you can implement in sufficient time to get a head start over your competitors. Here are three highly-effective options to consider.
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SEO: You’re open for business!
Right now, people have plenty of time to research their vacations and daydream about where they’ll go when it’s safe to do so. There’s one main place they’re doing this: Google!
It’s surely no surprise that most people never look beyond the first page of Google. One study even found that only 0.78% of searchers clicked on something on the second page of Google. Obviously then, it’s imperative that you appear at the top of people’s search results if you want to be competitive. This means your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy needs to be on point.
If you haven’t already claimed your business listing on Google My Business, do it now. That’s essential to helping tourists find you (instead of your competitors!). Once you’ve taken care of that, give your website a quick overhaul to make sure everything is up-to-date, including details of your products and services, pricing and contact details for the upcoming season.
It’s worth considering a pop-up or a banner to let people know you’re open and accepting bookings. Many businesses have let their websites sit and gather technological dust during the lockdown, which can make it hard for customers to know whether you’re open or not.
Take the guesswork out of it by making everything as clear as possible.
Content marketing for tourism
SEO is not a stand-alone tool. Rather, it should be incorporated into as much of your online marketing as possible. It particularly lends itself to content marketing, especially in tourism where a brand’s story is such an essential component of the customer’s experience.
Content marketing includes all production of digital content, including blogging, video marketing, social media, and user-generated content such as reviews. Let’s take a look at some of the content marketing methods you can utilize:
- Blogging is one of our main services at Beacon and is a highly effective method of getting your website to rank on Google. This is because it capitalizes on multiple SEO techniques. Blogs promote the use of keywords, which target topics that people are searching for, so it’s an easy way to provide useful content to consumers. Now is the perfect time to be putting out content online, as people have more time than ever to read it! If you’re interested in learning more blogging for tourism, check out this post on the ways blogging can boost Arctic tourism.
- Video marketing is another powerful tool that Google loves for SEO. It also really helps your customers as it’s easily digestible and has been shown to have higher retention rates than text. This article by WordStream has some incredible statistics on the success of marketing with video, for example, “Sixty-four percent of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos.” To learn more about video marketing, check out our blog post, here.
- Social media marketing is a rapidly expanding, highly effective technique. It allows you to connect more directly with customers. This, when done well, can be a valuable tool that adds credibility and a personal touch to your business’s online presence. The goal of social media marketing is essential to promote positive stories about your school. While doing this, it’s also important to effectively manage negative feedback. If you want to learn more about social media marketing, check out this blog we wrote on optimizing social media for schools (don’t worry, it’s just as effective in tourism!).
- User-generated content is always compelling, but it’s particularly persuasive in tourism because people love to share their vacations! The PESO model for content marketing strategy includes Paid Media, Earned Media, Social Media, and Owned Properties. In this context, social media includes reviews as well as content shared on platforms such as Facebook. Reviews are critical for online success, as they allow potential customers to see that your business is as good as you claim it is. It’s also important to remember that a well-reasoned and polite response to a negative review or comment can reflect better than a 5-star review!
Influencer marketing for tourism
Influencer marketing is a strategy that has grown enormously in recent years with the rise of video content on social media platforms. Influencer Marketing Hub is a great place to start if you’re looking to learn all about this growing industry. Ready for a crash course? Great!
Influencer marketing is described by Influencer Marketing Hub as an amalgamation of both traditional celebrity endorsement and modern content marketing. Influencers are able to build their brands online, usually on video platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, by establishing themselves engaging content creators and trustworthy and impartial authorities on different brands.
Influencer marketing is especially successful in tourism, because inspiration is everything. They can share their experience with their audiences, and potentially inspire thousands of people – whether that’s the magic of gliding over the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe on a paddleboard, the awe of climbing their first mountain in Alaska and taking in the view, or the joy in sharing a truly wonderful meal. It’s also really helpful in establishing trust and distinguishing you from your competitors.
Influencer marketing is a strategy that aims to emulate the advice one receives from a trusted friend, and successful influencers regularly put out content that generates strong engagement from subscribers and followers. One article in The Guardian says that “almost half of marketers spent more than 20% of their budget on influencer marketing” in 2019.
It lends itself to tourism particularly well, as people are always keen to see pictures and videos of beautiful places and people having fun. Many businesses have had success in luring influencers by offering free stays in hotels, free tours, and free experiences in return for the exposure to a targeted audience.
Right now is the perfect time to engage with influencers. Summer is coming, America is beginning to open up, and social media use is at an all-time high!
We hope you’ve found this post helpful in providing some ideas that you can use to prepare for the end of lockdown. We have a whole host of useful articles on our blog, which you can use for a more in-depth look at the services we offer and some of our insider tips and tricks.
Ready to get started? Schedule a free consultation with our experts today.