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seagulls soaring over deckchairs on a pebble beach think about your digital marketing strategy for the tourism industry

Create a Fantastic Digital Marketing Strategy for your Travel Business

Wondering how to approach digital marketing for your travel business? As with any industry, there are some general principles that apply when you’re creating your digital strategy  – and this is no different for the travel industry – examine your offering, look at your market and identify your customer. After exploring these, we’ve put together 9 top tips to help you write your digital marketing strategy for your travel business.

Examine Your Offering & Business Goals

  • What is your product/service, what is your Unique Selling Point (how do you stand out from the competition and what messages do you use to get this across to your audience)?
  • Price – does it reflect the value of your product, are you cheapening your product, or is the price putting off your audience. Is it competitive? – what do your competitors charge? Are there special prices for members?
  • If possible carry out some market research, talk to your current customers – how did they find you, what made them decide to purchase your product/service, etc? What social media do they prefer, etc?
  • Go through your business plan, so your digital strategy helps deliver your business goals.

Look at Your Market

Examine your market, then you can see where you should place your marketing oomph!!!!

  • Your Strengths – Perhaps a great existing customer database you can utilise
  • Your Weaknesses – Perhaps not much experience of venturing into other international markets
  • Market Opportunities – Perhaps a new transport network has opened in a particular market which could see a rise in tourism to the area or a new attraction has opened locally
  • Market Threats – Perhaps your main competitor has just started marketing to a segment you want to get into, e.g., weddings or honeymoons

Who is Your Ideal Customer

Who you would most like to target, define a profile of them to make it as easy as possible to target them when you write your content and knowing where to reach your target market. Try and cover age, gender, socio-economic background and what hobbies and interests they have.

9 Top Tips for Your Travel Business’s Digital Marketing Strategy

Once you’ve established all these key points, you’ll be ready to start creating your digital marketing strategy

  1. Branding & Message Make sure before you start marketing that your branding is consistent across all the digital channels, with your logo, font and tag line if you have one. (Is your USP coming out through your message – get fresh eyes on your marketing and social media account profiles to make sure others see a clear USP)
  2. Website – This is key for your digital strategy to have an up-to-date, informative, easy-to-use website. Can your customers book online? If so, is there an ideal process (“sales funnel”) you intend your customers to experience as they go from Prospect to Lead to Customer to Repeat Buyer. Pretend you are a customer, or better still ask a prospective customer to go through the site and check it’s user-friendly and encourages them to book.
  3. Email signup – Many website softwares now come with the feature to add an email sign-up box when visitors reach your site, or as part of the purchase process. Once you have their email, you can contact them regarding their visit and request they contact you for more information if they had doubts over the purchase and didn’t buy online on that occasion. This encourages long term relationship building.
  4. Email Newsletter – one of the most cost effective ways of marketing is spending money on customer retention and what better way of doing it than to regularly send updates, special offers and deals to your happy customers. This also encourages long term relationship building.
  5. Social Media – there are various social media platforms to choose from and some are more appealing for the travel industry:
  • Facebook Page – Local Business (great if you have an actual office you want your customers to find) Good for posting photos and videos and great for targeted advertising within different segments – travellers who enjoy keeping fit, travellers who enjoy walking, women who live in Wales who are interested in Honeymoons.
  • Pinterest – This is great for image based pins, either ones you have taken, or which you can link from your website. You can include lots of description, your keywords and links to your website.
  • Twitter – great for linking up with media contacts, travel experts, niche market writers or bloggers. With only a limited number of characters allowed per tweet, it’s great to give quick updates or to link to blog posts or other social media
  • Instagram – Photo based and now videos can be posted. Great for reposting guest images of your property or travel experience.
  • YouTube – You can create a Channel for your property or travel experience, and can post your own videos, or guest videos with their permission.
  • Google+ Business Page – Useful if you have a physical office, as it will be displayed on Google Maps and can help increase being found on Google search results.

6. Travel Review Sites – Get to know TripAdvisor, etc, even a free listing can really help visibility and promotion if your business comes under the following categories: “Hotels”, “Restaurants” and “Things to do”. Manually email all of your past guests/customers and ask them to review you, or use a free automated tool such as Review Express which manages the review process and sends reminders.

7. Certificates & Rewards – If you do what you do really well and get industry recognition, then shout about it as much as you can by posting certificates and reward logos on your website, social media and even sending out Press Releases to online Press Release sites, some free and some paid-for, and they are well utilized by trade journalists.

8. Promote to particular segments within your strategy. If for example you know there are some people who love your venue for weddings or honeymoons, then you can be targeted in your approach by creating Wedding boards on Pinterest, for Twitter or Instagram if you send out a wedding related post, you can use #wedding, #dreamwedding #weddingideas, etc, so that anyone searching using these tags will see your post.

9. Get to know your calendar – what’s on when will inform a lot of what you do on social media and marketing generally. If you are catering for visitors to the area, it’s a great idea to be able to offer guests plenty of useful ideas of things to do when they are visiting.

Working in this way is really effective in finding which channels are best suited to your business. There are many other simple tips that can be given to boost your marketing strategy and they are affordable for smaller businesses too. They include Search Engine Optimisation for your website and linking up with key influencers in your industry, such as bloggers and journalists. To chat through how we can assist you with creating your digital strategy call us on 01437 720033 or email today.