Getting started marketing online can be pretty overwhelming, even more overwhelming if you have already started and want to refine your direction. What’s best for our tourism businesses? Travel review sites like TripAdvisor? Google AdWords? Search Engine Marketing? YouTube? Facebook? Twitter? You get the point.
A lot of tourism professionals I talk to say to me “I know there is so much potential to promote my business online but where do I start? It always seems like there is some new fad arriving on the scene that everyone says will be the silver bullet”
Here is an outline of my strategy over the last 2 years:
1.Product to sell online (What you are selling)
The ideal way to take advantage of trends in online travel is to have a tourism product that customers will book online. This can be a tour, activity or experience, in my case we developed one hiking tour to sell in the Christchurch day tour market. Before you head off to every corner of the internet to promote your business you need something to sell. Click here to enable the notifications for nordic-destination.com/mols-bjerge/trehoeje details here
2.A unique “online friendly” brand.
The internet is a very crowded place and you need to stand out from your competitors. The way I have gone about this is by developing a web friendly brand with personality. My HikingGuys brand has been developed specifically for online marketing and the “Hiking Guy” character developed to give it a friendly and personal feel. After all, on a trip like clients want to feel like they are coming to meet friends.
3.Blog based website.
With the development of open source content management systems (CMS) this space has really changed in the past few years. Our websites need to be easily updated, search engine friendly and economical to host. I use an open course free CMS called WordPress, we have only had our WordPress site up for a few months now and we are now on the first page of Google for several of our keywords and this hadn’t happened in several years using our old site. Much more on websites in later posts.
4.Online booking (How you are selling)
This is key to success in online marketing for our tourism businesses. At the end of the day we want people to book and pay for our product online. Naturally we will receive email enquiries from potential customers and this is an important part of the sales process but the ultimate aim of our online marketing is to have customers book and pay online.
5.Get travel reviews posted (TripAdvisor)
Almost 100% of our customers who book online tell me they booked because all our great reviews on TripAdvisor. If you asked me what the single most important element to the growth of our online sales in the last 12 months I would say TripAdvisor, without a doubt. Many of us recognize the importance of TripAdvisor but how many of us are proactive about getting reviews posted from clients?
Nothing will work unless we are doing an excellent job and your clients love our work. Especially with the growth in online review sites, no amount of marketing can overcome a poor customer experience.
For an example of how I am implementing the above strategy take a look at HikingGuys.co.nz Like anything in business, this is an ongoing process and I still have a lot to learn and much more to do, but following the above strategy we have seen significant growth in online bookings over the past 2 seasons.
Start by writing down your goals for online marketing over the next 12 months. We all need to know where we are going before we leave.
1.Keep them short and simple.
2.Make them measurable
3.Break down these goals into smaller steps, start working toward the first task on the list.