How to prepare for the return of tourism May 14, 2020Big opportunities are coming for tourism marketing! With America beginning to open up for the summer, the market is going to be getting very competitive. Fewer people are going to be vacationing at the start, but businesses will be wanting to open as soon as possible to get their cash flow going again. This means you’ll be competing for a smaller clientele. It’s important that you start preparing for this now so that you can beat out the competition and retain your market share, or even increase it! So what is market share? Market share is defined by Investopedia as “the percentage of total sales in an industry generated by a particular company.” It essentially represents the number of sales your company make in an industry, and how you compare with your competitors. Gaining market share means that you are gaining customers faster than your competitors. Here are some tips to help you maximize your impact with the right kind of marketing. (We’ll share a few helpful links along the way where you can learn more about the topics we cover. Most of them refer to marketing Arctic tourism, but the principles apply to any type of tourism business. We’re also happy to answer any questions you have, so please feel free to schedule a consultation.) Building brand awareness In this period before people start booking their next vacations, it’s super important to build awareness of your brand. This ensures you’re front of mind when people are ready to book their next vacation. Your brand is your visual identity – it is what people think of when they think of your tourism business, so it needs to reflect your reputation and what people think of you. When we create brands for our clients, we go through a process called the “brand discovery meeting” to help clients understand their brand story. It’s an opportunity to involve your whole team and get creative to help figure out what story you want to tell. When we have a brand discovery meeting with our clients, we like to guide them with a series of questions: Describe your business in two sentences or less. What is your “elevator pitch?” A brand is a promise. What does your brand promise its customers? What is the current perception of your tourism business? What is the desired perception? How do you want to position yourself in the marketplace? Are you the “value” company? The expensive boutique? The innovator? The “tried and true?” The academics? The quick fix? The thought leaders? What is your big-picture mission? Your primary focus in this part of the process involves identifying your competition and figuring out how you can differentiate yourself from them. This is especially important in a reduced market. Differentiating yourself early on allows you to put your company in a position where potential customers think of you first. You also want to identify your target customers and work out how you can appeal to them. Once you’ve understood what your brand is, and how you’re going to adjust it, you must maintain it. Read more: 5 steps to build a strong brand for your Arctic tourism business Maximizing inbound leads In order to get customers, you need to be getting leads. The more leads you get, the more customers you’ll get, the more your market share will grow. So, how do you maximize your leads? Up-to-date website Your website is the most important part of your online presence. It represents your physical location in the digital world. You want your tourism business to look good, provide people with the information they need and inspire them to get to know more about you. This applies both in the real world, and online. Websites should be updated or redesigned entirely every 2-3 years. This is because best practises change so frequently online and you need to keep up to date so that you don’t fall behind the competition. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure your staff, products, and services are all up to date. Here are the steps: Meet with your team: We always recommend that web design be a team process. Get everyone, or at least the key players, in your business in one room and try to answer some key questions. We recommend asking yourselves what the purposes of the website are, what information you want customers to be able to find, what features you like about other websites in the same industry. Map out your design: Using a document known as a wireframe, we map out the location of all components of the website. That includes text boxes, images, videos, headers, etc. This is complemented by a sitemap, which describes the interaction between all the pages of your website. Content: Once the website is fully mapped, both in terms of pages and contents, it is time to actually write the content to go in those boxes! This is the time you really want to start thinking about Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, this is the process of making sure your web content is easy for search engines to find. To find out more about SEO, check out our blogs on web design and blogging for arctic tourism. Read more: Beautiful web design can boost your Arctic tourism business Targeted advertising Targeted advertising has become increasingly popular in recent years. It allows you to put ads on Facebook, Google, and other platforms which are based on people’s online behaviour. So as a tourism business, you could target people who have been looking at vacations in your area, or people who have shown an interest in the tours and experiences you offer. It’s incredibly powerful – you can click here to learn more about retargeting. Active social media Social media is another vital aspect of a business’s online presence. One of the best things about it is the opportunity to interact with people in an organic, natural way. This gives the opportunity to present your tourism business’s unique culture and present a welcoming face to potential customers. Best practice varies from platform to platform, so here is an insight into social media best practice for businesses. SEO SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is all about pleasing the algorithm Google uses to rank results on their search results pages. One of the most important things Google looks for is quality. If you provide content that people want to read, Google can recognize this. You can make sure that your content does this but researching what people are asking about certain topics and writing content that answers those questions. Here are some tips to create a show-stopping SEO strategy for your business. Converting bookings So, you’ve reached potential customers and piqued their interest in your tours and activities. Now, how do you convert those leads into bookings? Sales funnel One of the most successful strategies for converting customers is the sales funnel. This uses a multi-stage process to gradually draw potential customers further into the “funnel.” The first stage is the awareness stage, where you first gain their attention. Next, you get their interest. This is where you use your content to present solution to people who are looking. The goal at this stage is to remain in people’s consciousness, by having them subscribe to your mailing list or social media. The third stage is the action stage. At this point, the person becomes a customer and closes a deal with you. Finally, and perhaps not obviously, there is another stage of the funnel: retention. The best customer is the repeat customer. Keeping them happy will keep them coming back for more – perhaps every summer for the rest of their lives. Running a successful tourism business and creating happy memories for your customers will mean adding new customers at the top of the funnel, but also growing the pool of repeat customers at the bottom. Is there anything better than becoming part of a family legacy? Human connection We discussed earlier how this is the perfect time to start marketing to prepare for reopening your business. A great tool you can use to bring in customers is your authenticity and real human connection. This period has demonstrated the value of human connection as many people have been deprived of it. We hope this post will provide some insights into the tactics you can use to get your tourism business ready to reopen in the coming weeks and months as people start looking to go on vacation again. If you want help marketing your tourism business you can schedule a free consultation.