[Updated May 2023]
The constant evolutions in available technology means that our digital marketing strategies must be nimble and adaptable. Travelers with their phone in hand have a world of options to chose from, so we must make informed digital marketing strategies to keep our tour businesses competitive and visible to prospective customers. Tailoring a marketing plan may seem overwhelming. But we are here to break down the essential components of digital marketing, so your tourism business continues to grow and thrive. Well executed digital marketing can foster relationships with prospective customers, and ultimately generates higher-quality leads.
In order to orient yourself with the digital marketing trends in the tourism industry, consider what sort of input tourists receive along their journey.
1. Wide-ranging travel mobile applications
Mobile apps with a wide reach, like TripAdvisor and Viator, are a constant reference for the tourist along their journey to deciding on an experience, thanks to their mobile availability. There is a huge variety of tourism apps(opens in a new tab) on the market, but only the well-known and useful ones will survive on the user’s mobile phone for more than a few days.
Part of what makes a great mobile app is its interface (think: is it user-friendly? Is the information easily accessible? Does it load quickly?) as well as what it includes (think: can I book directly on it? Does it show me accurate maps? Can I easily see reviews?). How do you pick the most important ones, you ask? Think about what apps you’re always hearing about — like the ones just mentioned — and do some searching around on the Internet. You’ll be able to find some articles on the best review platforms in your niche industry quite quickly, guaranteed.
Tip: Encourage reviews on your chosen travel apps, respond to your reviews (both good and bad), and keep your listings up to date across all platforms.
2. Google and its impact on tourism marketing
Google has firmly established itself as an Internet authority on all things. Not only does it have complex algorithms for how it calculates your site’s SEO value, it has also recently begun participating in the travel market by offering reservations for hotels, flights, weather forecasts, and other suggestions for numerous destinations. This makes Google even more of a major player in getting your business in the public eye and convincing travelers to book with you.
Tip: An up-to-date website(opens in a new tab) and a blog(opens in a new tab) are essential, and can work wonders with the Google wizards to keep your site ranking well. Make sure you’re updating your content regularly and effectively. Keep your Google My Business listing(opens in a new tab) updated and accurate to facilitate users coming to you directly from Google My Business.
3. Data in the tourism sector for marketing decision making
Analyzing the available data on consumer trends allows travel companies to compensate appropriately for tourist needs. By using data, we can make more accurate decisions that help us in our actions to attract users and improve their experience.
Tip: Explore your own data by taking a look at your Google Analytics(opens in a new tab) and other social media platforms, like Instagram Insights(opens in a new tab), for example — this can help you find out who is interested in your company and allow you to make adjustments as needed, whether that be adding new tours or different information onto your website.
4. Online sales of tours and experiences
With such advanced technology, consumers have the power to search for vacation options based on a host of special interests or requirements. Hook prospects with exciting visuals that show them why you are the best choice! Show off how your tourism business highlights the unique experiences of your region: the culture, the attractions, the fauna, the flora, the food, and more.
Tip: Showing your audience the experiences you offer can go a long way — think video content, podcasts, blog posts, and more. By using storytelling, tourists will know what to expect from you and your company, encouraging them to hit that “book now” button.
5. Inbound marketing and content
One tried and tested strategy that tourism companies use to attract buyers is well-written content, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Content is always going to be a huge part of your digital marketing strategy, but think beyond the pages of your website.
Tip: Blogs are a great way to have new content on a regular basis. In order to keep your target audience(opens in a new tab) intrigued, make sure to vary your content to some degree with photos and video content, shorter and longer blog posts.
6. Social networks
Social networks play an important role in tourism since they are used before, during, and after the trip. Everyone has their own platform preferences, so carefully consider this segment of your target audience to help you decide where to focus your social media efforts.
Tip: It’s not worthwhile to be on every platform out there, so we recommend that you pick between 3 and 4 and keep those regularly updated. There is nothing more discouraging for a social media user than to find that the last update was posted 2 years ago! By limiting the platforms you maintain, you can focus your efforts on generating innovative content, such as surveys or quizzes, to promote follower participation. Or, during the tour, encourage your customers to share their photos by creating a tour hashtag. This is a great way to appeal to social media algorithms, back up your reviews, and delight customers.
7. Facebook Messenger and chatbots
The growing need for a rapid response in social networks is satisfied through the use of practical tools such as Facebook Messenger or chatbots. Many people will book tours through the first company with clear tour information. This means it’s important to have complete information available on all your digital presences (i.e. your website, Google My Business, Facebook, etc.) as well as a way for people to quickly and easily contact you with questions.
Tip: Consider using a service like tawk.to(opens in a new tab). This allows your site’s visitors to get instant answers throughout the day, even if you aren’t sitting at your computer the entire time.
8. Social media influencers
Employing the help of influencers can be an effective marketing strategy when used properly. The ever-popular, photo-based Instagram is the perfect platform to inspire your guests to travel with you, and influencers are well-positioned to recommend your tours and services. This can be a complex business deal, so check out our tips on how to get the most out of your relationships with influencers.
By understanding your audience as well as the technology that they consume, you can better form a digital marketing strategy. Finding which platforms your target audience uses and what is relevant to them (be it through data analysis or forming relationships with influencers) allows you to get in your ideal guest’s head and organize your strategies to work for them.
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