Top 10 marketing strategies for tourism businesses

Google, Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Kayak, Instagram… The tourism industry is constantly evolving as the algorithms, tools and key players are joining the party! How can you make sure that your tourism or hospitality business is thriving and will keep being successful in the long term? With a solid marketing strategy! After working with travel businesses for years, we have been able to see trends come and go, allowing us to define a top 10 list of marketing strategies that are worth implementing for your travel business. Why 10? Because Vancouver has been breaking records 3 years in a row with 10 million visitors each year. One or two just won’t cut it!

1. Be informed

management consulting services wave lines

One key differentiator between a travel business which succeeds and one that doesn’t is information!

Travel regulations, political environment, natural disasters… You need to know what is going on in your industry, what is the latest news about the destinations you are selling to your potential customers and be able to quickly distribute that information accordingly. 

What are the trendy destination or travel activity of the year/season? 

Barcelona? Maldives? Las Vegas? What is the travel destination that your target wants to visit this year? As a tourism expert, you need to know what the current popular destinations are and adapt your marketing strategy. Whether it’s through your SEO strategy, social media content or event product offering. 

Depending on the specific products or services you are offering, keep in mind that your sales cycle could be seasonal. You need to know when your target will want to buy. Is it a year in advance, or is it a last minute item that people tend to buy while travelling?

Travel marketing tip: As social media and SEO (Google ranking) will probably play a major part in your strategy, try to stay up to date on their best practices. Changes in their algorithm happen pretty regularly, and could impact your business. Your marketing manager or a marketing consultant are the best people to advise you on that.    

2. Have a solid content generation strategy

management consulting services wave lines

Content is essential to the success of a travel or hospitality business. Through the years, we have seen so many businesses with great concept that, unfortunately, didn’t succeed because of their content strategy.
As a tourism business, keep in mind that your target is here to travel, and this travel experience should start from the minute you have a first touch point with them. Social media, website, apps, advertising… Your entire strategy should be about travel and immersion. 

Blog posts, photos and videos… this is the content you need to have on a regular basis for your brand. Generating travel content on a regular basis can be challenging, especially for a small business with limited resources, that is why you need to consider user generated content. Different approaches are possible:

Influencers marketing:

Travel bloggers, instagrammers, youtubers… Define who is popular among your potential clients and could talk about your brand. The idea is to reach out to the influencers that have similar values to what your brand is about and a high engagement rate (the number of followers being secondary). Lots of influencers are already working with travel and hospitality brands and are producing great articles, photos and videos. Depending on influencers, budget can be variable, if you can’t spend too much on influencer marketing, prioritize influencers with less than 10,000 followers. 

Organize contests:

To engage your current fans or clients, raise awareness and create content, organise a contest. This can be done on one of your social media platforms or even on your website. This can be setup pretty easily and generate lots of value for your business. 

Create a community:

Is travel photography, video or articles part of your brand positioning. Have you considered creating a member community on your website, where people could exchange tips or upload their content? This is a key successful pillar of brands content strategy, like National Geographic for example.  

Collaborate with content writers:

Do you have a company blog? Are you a travel publisher? The team writing your content, whether they are in house or not, could be a serious asset to your strategy. Don’t forget to ask them to generate different types of content while they are working for you.

Hire a content creator! If you don’t have the time, or struggle with well-written content, you can hire on contracted writers who will deliver what you want to put out to your readers. 

Travel marketing tip: Are you already doing all the above but are struggling with conversions? Partnering with complementary businesses can also help retain your website visitors. For example, if you are selling trips to Mexico, why not partnering with the Tourism Office of Mexico to provide, on your website, useful information about this destination. Your users will have more reasons to stay on your website, meaning more conversion potential for you.

marketing strategy tourism businesses 1

3. Think SEO

management consulting services wave lines

Whether they are looking for a flight or information about a destination, lots of people are using a search engine like Google when planning a trip. Make sure that your potential clients find your brand instead of your competition. How, you may ask? By optimizing your website for SEO! Without going into too technical terms, here are some current SEO best practices that a SEO consultant should be able to help you with:

  • Have a website optimized, focus on how it works as a mobile site and the overall speed. 
  • Create internal links between pages
  • Create external links to your pages
  • Use SEO keywords on your website navigation and content
  • Have an optimized Google My Business profile

Travel marketing tip: Optimize ALL your content for SEO, even the content that is not on your website, like Youtube videos for example.

4. Instagram is your friend

management consulting services wave lines

What would be a website without inspiring photos and videos? The best social media for this is Instagram. Your travel business needs to be on Instagram. What should your action plan look like on Instagram? Our team of Social Media Marketing experts advise you to:

  • Posts on the platform regularly. 
  • Create nice visual content.
  • Curate content from other accounts (if you have their permission!).
  • Contact influencers and see if there is any collaboration possible.
  • Use the right hashtags that will allow your account to be more visible to your potential target.
  • Engage with the community.

Don’t forget other social media platforms that could be beneficial to your business like Youtube, Facebook and Twitter mostly. 

The platforms you will put your efforts into and the content you will publish will really depend on what your brand is about and what your niche is, but keep in mind that people want to be inspired. 

Travel marketing tip:

When posting, try to keep the ⅓-⅔ rule in mind: ⅓ of the content should be about your brand or products, ⅔ should be more inspirational (something that is linked to your brand positioning and that your audience should like).

5. Get positive reviews

management consulting services wave lines

Whether you are a hotel, a travel agency, a tour company, etc., your target is probably browsing the internet to have more information about you and your competition before making the decision to buy. What could make a key difference on your conversion rate is reviews. Different platforms exist where your clients can leave reviews: Google My Business, Tripadvisor, Booking, Yelp, Facebook…

Make sure to provide a great customer service to your clients and ask them to leave reviews. You can do that the old traditional way (just ask them face to face), through a follow up email or through print. The solution you will adopt depends on what you are selling. 

Travel marketing tip: Not only you need positive reviews, but you need to have recent reviews. Also don’t forget to reply to negative reviews.

6. Run PPC campaigns

management consulting services wave lines

Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Google Ads, display campaigns… Different platforms exist where you can run campaigns to raise awareness around your business. While Google Ads, through Google Search, will allow you to target specific keywords that your target is looking for on Google, platforms like Facebook for example will run campaigns to a specific target that you will set up. 

Don’t underestimate the power of remarketing. Customer’s journey can include dozens of searches and visits to hundreds of web pages, especially in the tourism industry. Remarketing ensure that one interaction someone has with your brand isn’t the only interaction. People who know your brand will be more receptive to your future messaging. 

Travel marketing tip:

Have a clear idea of who your target is. This will help you define the targeting of your PPC campaigns and optimize your ad spent. When it comes to Google Ads campaigns, ask a certified Google Partner to help you. They have lots of experience running ads and will help you maximize your ROI.

7. Define a clear target and unique positioning

management consulting services wave lines

The demographics of the customers you are trying to reach must be top of your mind. Who are they? Where are they? What do they do? What do they like? Are your final customers the one that is looking for your services/products or not? For example, some studies have shown that women conduct 68% of the searches when it comes to family vacation ideas. Make sure to target the decision maker in your marketing tactics and not necessary the final customer. 

Travel marketing tip: writing buyer personas will help you create successful campaigns that will speak to your target and get them to click and convert.

8. Meet your target at events

management consulting services wave lines

A great way to raise awareness to your business among your target audience is to attend events and even organize some. Major conference, fairs, street festival, workshops, talks… See where you could go and talk with potential clients.

Travel marketing tip: Events can also be a great opportunity for you to meet and collaborate with potential partners targeting the same audience. Bring your business cards!

9. Be reactive

management consulting services wave lines

Trying to expand your brand awareness? What about featuring your services in a newsletter that is sent to your target audience! Contact complementary brands who are already working with your potential customers to see if you can get some exposure. 

As most of the visitors who come to your travel website for the first time might not make an immediate purchase, get them to subscribe to your newsletter, so that you can send them valuable content, encouraging them to buy your travel products. 

Don’t forget that email marketing can be a great tool to stay in touch with your existing clients. You have higher chances to convert an existing client than a new lead, that’s why you need to have a clear email marketing strategy when it comes to your regular customers. 

Travel marketing tip: customize the content of your newsletters and transactional emails so that it is relevant to the experience that your clients had with you. Did they book a trip in the Rockies in the past? They might be interested by other National Parks or mountain trip for example.  

10. Raise awareness and stay in touch with your target through email marketing

management consulting services wave lines

Trying to expand your brand awareness? What about featuring your services in a newsletter that is sent to your target audience! Contact complementary brands who are already working with your potential customers to see if you can get some exposure. 

As most of the visitors who come to your travel website for the first time might not make an immediate purchase, get them to subscribe to your newsletter, so that you can send them valuable content, encouraging them to buy your travel products. 

Don’t forget that email marketing can be a great tool to stay in touch with your existing clients. You have higher chances to convert an existing client than a new lead, that’s why you need to have a clear email marketing strategy when it comes to your regular customers. 

Travel marketing tip:

Customize the content of your newsletters and transactional emails so that it is relevant to the experience that your clients had with you. Did they book a trip in the Rockies in the past? They might be interested by other National Parks or mountain trip for example.  

Do you have the feeling that your current marketing strategy is not strong enough to get more awareness and conversions among your target market? We have been working with lots of travel businesses like you for decades. From National Geographic to small travel businesses, we know what is working and what is not. From a marketing assessment to a full action plan, we work with you on finding which marketing strategy will help your travel business reach its goals. Contact us! 

By |2019-09-25T22:18:23+00:00July 22nd, 2019|Marketing|