Across different industries, most businesses acknowledge the importance of marketing. Yet, every industry has its challenges and doubts. Marketing strategies need to fit your industry like a glove. So, for those working in the tourism industry, this article will tackle everything related to the best practices of tourism marketing. Deep diving into the details of the industry and how to ensure your marketing strategy captures the unique nature of tourism and hospitality.
- What is Tourism Marketing
- How Building Brands Affects the Entire Tourism Industry
- The Return on Investment of Country Brands
- Tourism Marketing Mix (The Four P’s)
- A Customer Journey Applied to Tourism Marketing
- Tourism Marketing: Trends in Tourism Marketing
- Must-Haves on Your Tourism Marketing Strategy (12 Tips)
- The Trendiest Types of Tourism and their Relevant Tourism Marketing Messages
- Examples of Successful Tourism Marketing Campaigns
- Tourism Marketing During COVID19
- Digital Marketing in the Tourism Industry
- FAQ-Tourism Marketing
- Tourism Marketing Wrap Up!
What Is Tourism Marketing
Tourism marketing is simply any marketing strategy used by businesses within the tourism industry. This includes, for example, hotels and other forms of accommodation, along with airlines, car rental services, restaurants, entertainment venues, travel agents and tour operators. Like any other marketing activity, the purpose of tourism marketing is to promote the business, make it stand out from rivals, attract customers, and generate brand awareness. It also uses the same marketing channels. Digital channels such as social media, search engine marketing, affiliate marketing, etc. Traditional channels like printed ads, billboards, radio, or TV. So, what makes tourism marketing different from other industries? It’s marketing mix; what’s known as product, price, promotion, and place.
How Building Brands Affects the Entire Tourism Industry
Before getting into the marketing mix, let’s look at the bigger picture of the tourism industry to value the importance of tourism marketing. To realise the huge influence of building brands on tourism, let’s take this example. Let’s say you’re planning a vacation abroad and you’ve never been abroad before. You have a fat list of places you want to visit ever since you were young. Your final decision to narrow it down to one will be influenced by so many factors. Budget, activities in the country, the experiences you hear from acquaintances who have been to that country, online reviews, flight conditions, visa requirements, and the list goes on.
Tourism marketing is not only for companies and businesses operating in the industry. On a state level, nations compete with each other to get the biggest share of visitors. They utilise tourism marketing to create a ‘country brand’. A country brand is the intangible characteristics and associations that people relate to the name of the country. Paris is the city of light, entertainment, fashion, and nightlife. Thailand is known for its paradise-like islands; the ultimate getaway for newlyweds. Italy? Known for its rich art and the most delicious cuisine. The United States? Living the American dream in Hollywood, Vegas, and New York.
Every county, sometimes every city, has a ‘brand story’. These stories are what motivate people to put these countries on their bucket lists. Surely, that translates to more tourists choosing one country over the other. To build a brand for an entire country is, of course, a mission that requires the cooperation of several institutions and a budget assigned by governments. That starts with the media outlets which build the country’s brand image for potential visitors up to the tiniest details that tourists experience during their visit to the country.
The Return on Investment of Country Brands
Just like any other brand, a successful country brand is one that is capable of building a large fan base of loyal visitors. Of course, the number of visitors comes as an obvious indicator of a strong country brand. France has the highest number of tourists in the world, followed by Spain and the United States. Italy ranks in fifth place while Thailand ranks in eighth place. The USA has the highest total tourism income with over 210 billion dollars yearly. Spain has the second largest tourism income in the world with almost 68 billion dollars yearly. France is the third on the list with over 60 billion yearly tourism income. These are not just lucky numbers. Countries on the top ten list are consistent with their promise and strategy. That’s how they gain the biggest share of the global tourism income.
Beyond these numbers, the devil’s in the details. Loyalty is a reliable and accurate indicator of the success of a country brand. That’s called retention in other industries where a customer keeps buying a product. If a tourist is willing to visit the same country again, then the brand definitely fulfilled its promise. Moreover, word of mouth is another success factor. People love to talk about their travels. Especially if the place is exotic or far away from their home country. If visitors are recommending the country to their friends and relatives, their experience must have been positive.
Tourism Marketing Mix (The Four P’s)
Today, 10.4% of the world’s GDP and 7% of the world’s total exports come from tourism. The industry is worth over US$ 1.1 trillion. The money earned from expenditures by foreigners are crucial drivers of economic development and can be an important source of foreign exchange. That’s why countries, companies, airlines, and hotels want to make the most out of it. So, let’s discover how to apply the traditional marketing mix to tourism marketing.
Tourism Marketing Mix: Product
Familiarity VS Innovation
The first P stands for the product. Most of the time, the product in tourism marketing is a service, not a product. Services are not similar to physical products. Products need innovation to survive. Whether it’s a bag of chips, an iPhone, or a car, manufacturers need to come up with new flavours, novel features, or creative designs to get people to buy the same brand and get a bigger market share. On the other hand, services survive through consistency, individuality, and relevance.
Renting a car or booking a hotel stay does not require much innovation. Two hotels may be in the same location and have the same facilities, but one of them could be making more profit than the other. What differentiates a service is creating a familiar, cosy atmosphere. Guests, visitors, and users like that feeling of familiarity; the feeling of being home. They want the same comfortable car they’ve tried before, the same clean and sunny room they stayed in last time, and the same courteous waiter who knows how they like their coffee. That’s not the case with product marketing where consumers are continuously looking for new experiences.
It’s misleading to say that tourists take these basics for granted. On the contrary, customers find it appalling when companies spend millions on marketing and advertising but fail to deliver on the basics. Tourists want to know what to expect. The tiniest details make big messages. For example, a hotel or a resort may have its selling point as ‘pet friendly’ or ‘adults only’.
That’s why, in tourism marketing, your brand promise needs to be clear and specific.
Customised VS One Size Fits All
Another challenging aspect of the tourism industry is that every customer has a different expectation of your business. One tourist is looking for calm and comfort, while the guest next door is looking for entertainment. The feeling of being home is great, but the best feeling that guests and customers want to experience is ‘feeling special’. They want to feel that everything is being tailor-made for them. With products, this expectation isn’t always there. The same car could be sold for many different personas. Toothpaste is toothpaste for most people. One product may suit the needs of several customer profiles, but at the end of the day, consumers don’t expect a customised experience from a mass produced product.
That means that within a tourism marketing strategy, marketers don’t deal with highly demanding customers who expect the business to come up with special packages, benefits, and deals tailor-made to them. Later, when you go through the classifications of tourism marketing, you’ll understand that at any given moment a hotel, a restaurant, or a transportation line is catering for the needs of a hugely diverse group of people.
Quality Assurance of Products VS Services
Products are made by machines, meanwhile, services are offered by humans. If you want to maintain quality as a manufacturer, you need to get the best machinery, the best engineers, and the best research and development team. While consistency is relatively easy to maintain with products, it’s much harder to do so with services. Because every touchpoint is human interaction. That’s why service providers need to prioritise staff training to ensure the service offered is the best. Any business operating in the tourism industry needs to put its personnel at the core of its marketing strategy. Your staff is your product.
That’s why human resources cannot be separated from the tourism marketing mix. Your service providers should communicate the same values that your brand speaks. If a brand promises professionalism to business travellers, then the staff needs to be on the same level. If it promises a friendly stay, then your staff must be flexible and approachable. Take Uber as an example. Their captains carry the weight of their brand marketing. No amount of advertising or promotions could improve their image and drive more conversions if these captains disappoint Uber’s customers.
Tourism Marketing Mix: Price
Tourism marketing professionals are not too envied when it comes to pricing strategies. There is no price list and no one-price show like IKEA’s. Most of the businesses in the industry either adopt a price-discrimination strategy or a time-based pricing strategy; both of which are never fixed. That makes the market extremely dynamic and a price war is always at play. From the consumer’s perspective, that’s quite confusing and sometimes frustrating.
A price discrimination strategy is when you set a different price for the same product based on the market status of the buyer. For instance, a hotel or a travel agency may charge a local citizen, senior citizens, or students a lower price than a global tourist for the exact same service. A business traveller may be charged more than someone travelling for leisure.
Meanwhile, a time-based pricing strategy is typically used by companies whose product or service has high seasonality or last-minute purchases. Of course, airlines exemplify this: it’s more expensive to book flights during the holiday season and cheaper if you’re travelling during off-seasons. Additionally, the closer you are to the travel date, the more expensive the ticket will be. For time-based pricing to work, you need to have a system in place tracking the factors at play and adjusting prices accordingly, especially if buyers can make a purchase without talking to a salesperson.
Furthermore, sometimes a skimming pricing strategy where a company offers special benefits at a premium price; like airlines offering a higher price for business class compared to economy class. Recently, a value-based pricing strategy was used by tourism marketers when small travel agencies started customising cheaper packages for young travellers which became a global trend with Gen Y and Z explorers. Above all of that, price competitions are fierce in the tourism industry.
All these varying factors keep tourism marketers busy with keeping up with all the pricing strategies. They constantly need to change and try new techniques based on many factors at play simultaneously. Therefore, you need to keep a close watch on your competitors, the time factor, the individual customer, and the new trends of pricing techniques.
Tourism Marketing Mix: Place
Place refers to where and how people buy your product. With traditional products, that requires a strong distribution network to increase the availability of your product and shelf share against competitors. In recent years, digital spaces became an essential part of ‘place’. That digital space includes all online outlets where consumers can purchase your product such as a web browser, a smartphone app, or marketplace channels like Amazon or Walmart.
For tourism marketing, place varies a lot depending on the business. For instance, Airbnb and Booking.com are strictly digital. Meanwhile, some hotels diversify their ‘place’ strategy by allowing their guests to book through partner travel agencies, their own websites, or through the phone even. To set up the right strategy for ‘place’ within tourism marketing, you must take a deep look into the customer journey or your ‘funnel’.
The most essential part of ‘place’ strategy is to facilitate access. From young hipsters to big families, they’re all looking for the smoothest booking experience. Therefore, you must be a part of the travellers’ community in order to know where they’re engaging and where they are making decisions.
Tourism Marketing Mix: Promotion
The fourth P in tourism marketing refers to promotion. Promotion includes advertising, public relations, and promotional strategy. The goal of promoting a service is to reveal to potential clients why they need it and why they should pay a certain price for it. Tourism communication has its own challenges, even more so in the post COVID-19 age. Because the industry is competitive, fragile, consumers are price sensitive, and there are so many things that consumers are looking for: value for money, a unique and memorable experience, safety and hygiene, luxury and comfort, and the list goes on and on.
When thinking of your promotion strategy, there are many questions to answer.
- What are the messages that you want to communicate?
- What is your brand positioning?
- Who exactly is your target audience?
- Where will you send your marketing messages to your target audience?
- How does your competition promote their product? Does that influence your own promotional activity?
- When is the best time to promote?
These are business questions that you must always experiment with to find the best results. Tweaking the answers and optimising to improve. These are not questions you answer once and move forward; they are rather a cycle. Promotion is what makes or breaks a business, and through communication, you’ll find yourself asking the big business questions. Furthermore, it will make you realise that the four Ps are more intertwined than you had imagined.
A Customer Journey Applied to Tourism Marketing
The customer journey is defined as the steps, touchpoints or interactions customers have with your company. The journey starts from the moment they hear about the service, that’s their first impression or hook. Ideally, the journey should never end with a brand as long as both sides keep in touch.
That’s why, mapping the customer’s journey helps you set up the right tactic at each stage. That means that your marketing messages will be customised according to where each customer stands in their journey. Walking with your customers through this journey helps you understand their behaviour, their reasons to believe, their values, what they’re looking for, their motivations, and their pain points. It helps you know exactly where you need to engage and the right way to communicate. A customer’s journey takes the shape of a funnel. It starts with the wide net; the unknown and unspecific and narrows down to the customers you know and can easily track or reach out to. Your role as a tourism marketer is to take your customers down that funnel.
So, let’s start with throwing the net. First, a prospect discovers a need or a want and becomes aware of your company through any medium. They could become aware of your services through an online search, a recommendation from a friend, a website, a testimonial, or even a social media or a blog post. Perhaps you sent them a coupon or a newsletter on their email or physical mailbox for a product or service they’re considering. Any medium could be a source of leads. This is the top of your funnel, so the goal here is to throw a wide net to reach out to the biggest number of potential clients.
In the frame of tourism marketing, digital platforms now play the biggest role in raising awareness. Agencies still play a role, but not as big as they used to be. Mainly, social media and search engine marketing are the silver bullets. At this stage, paid advertising is the most common practice. You need to utilise relevant marketing channels to reach a bigger pool of interested leads. Although your leads can come from anywhere, your best bet will be on those with the highest conversion rates. Analysing your lead sources is essential to push your advertising investments to the right channels to make the most of awareness channels.
Chances are, your business is not one of its kind. There are other companies offering the same things you offer. Evaluation comes naturally to customers. They must weigh the pros and cons. At this stage, prospects investigate, do their research and read content like manuals, package details, Q&As, product reviews, etc. That’s the most competitive stage. A customer knows about you, has heard your offering but they’ve never tried your service before, so they’re not yet loyal customers. They can easily be lured by your competitors if they offer a perk.
What you need to do at this point is give as much reassurance as possible. The customer at this point may have given out their email or phone number. Therefore, email marketing or SMS marketing is a great way to be there. Maybe, you should send an email with an extra benefit or service that they haven’t heard about before. Send an exclusive promotion if they book now. Do not bombard them, simply lure them with one more reason to say yes.
From a digital point of view, the smartest practice at this stage is employing content marketing to communicate the functional and emotional benefits your potential customers get from doing business with you. Now, remember that everyone is always on the look for the package that satisfies both the mind and the heart. You need to cook that package and serve it to your leads. Functional benefits are based on a product attribute that provides the customer with functional utility. These benefits should answer their basic question: ‘what do I get?’ It is the direct reason why one buys anything.
The answer could be: they get an extra comfortable bed, access to the spa, a sound-proof room, a discounted price, or an on-demand personal assistant. The goal is to select functional benefits that have the greatest impact on customers and support a strong position relative to competitors.
However, it is important to keep in mind that functional benefits often fail to differentiate, and competitors can copy them easily. That’s why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. You have to associate your brand with the ‘feel good’ benefits; the emotional ones. Emotional benefits provide customers with a positive feeling when they purchase or use a particular brand. They add richness and depth to the experience of owning and using the brand. It should answer a question that they won’t ask, but that is always there on the back of their minds: ‘how does that make me feel?’ Each functional benefit has a parallel emotional one. A sound-proof room is meant to make them feel comfortable. While a discounted price should make them feel smart, an on-demand personal assistant should make them feel safe.
One of the biggest mistakes that tourism marketers make is ‘yelling at’ clients with services (what you do) rather than ‘speaking with’ the customer about the functional benefits (what they get) and the emotional benefits (how they feel). Watch half an hour of TV one night and you will see brand after brand yelling service after service after service. This type of tourism marketing just forces the consumer to have to figure out what they get from your brand.
In a crowded market, where your potential clients are chased around by 7,000 brand messages per day, you have just lost out on the opportunity to find a set of customer-oriented benefits that your brand can use to motivate them instead of owning these benefits as you build the reputation of your brand.
By this stage, your customer should have all the information they require in order to make an informed decision. They have narrowed down their options to a select few possibilities, so they are almost ready to go ahead with the purchase. Unless there’s something holding them back.
So what’s holding them back? You need to listen carefully. If it’s a price issue, then offer different options that would fit a tight budget. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with your offer, they’re just not ready to take it at the moment. Then, respect that and give them a long term discount so that you remain their top of mind choice once they’re ready. Or, maybe they’re just still confused. They’re still unsure about the option which offers the best service, with the best benefits, and the best value for money. They just need that extra bit of reassurance to convince them that they are making the right decision, so content like customer reviews play a huge part in the decision stage.
Testimonials play a huge part in tourism marketing. They give your prospect proof that you’ve provided a great experience for people just like them. A free trial is a memorable gesture that you can provide to your prospects at this stage as well. Send them a nice, hot meal or offer them a comfortable ride. This helps you earn their trust by giving them a real experience to account for your reliability.
This is your last chance to impress, so make sure it counts. Ultimately, the prospect should move further down the funnel and become one of your clients.
Retention starts early, the moment you’ve got the sale in the bag. Once the customer has made a purchase, the real thing has started. For years, sales and marketing teams thought this is the end of the customer journey. They even called it ‘closing the deal’. But that is far from true. The deal is actually about to start. This is the time to start building that bond between your brand and the customer and deliver your promise.
To start on the right foot, your biggest concern should be providing the most value and satisfaction. Write down every customer touchpoint and think of how you can make it a better experience. Here is an example:
Mr Tom Buchanan and his wife Daisy are going on a 3 day trip to an oasis:
Meeting point & road-trip:
The meeting point should be accessible & close. Buses must be clean, air-conditioned, and not full to the maximum. The road trip is long, so there are several stops on the way to rest and have access to restrooms.
Receptionists must be friendly and helpful. Check-in must be quick and hassle free.
24/7 room service. Hot & cold water. Clean & private. A small compliment to the couple.
Temple visit: Eloquent & friendly tour guides. A small souvenir for free.
Sunset by the salt lakes: Private and free time. Assistance is available upon a call.
Reliable 4×4 cars. Excellent camping equipment. Clean sleeping bag. Water. Cars are always ready in case there’s an emergency. A candle-lit BBQ dinner.
Surely, you should be planning your retention plan by exceeding the customer’s expectations beforehand to give yourself the chance to go the extra mile during the event. The example is imaginary, but that’s how it’s done. Every touchpoint matters. Even if your business simply offers car rides to tourists, your touchpoints list may be shorter, but that doesn’t make it less significant.
Why should you invest time and money into a retention plan though? Aren’t you going to spend money on acquiring new leads anyway? Yes, you’ll continue to advertise and create content to bring new leads to the funnel. However, it’s a known fact that it’s easier and less expensive to retain customers than to acquire them. The most recent statistics indicate that it’s true. For one thing, you’ll spend five times less money on customer retention. Additionally, at best, your probability of selling to an existing customer is at least 40 per cent more likely than converting someone who has never bought from you before. On top of that, existing customers are more willing to spend money by 31%. That’s why you should be keen on not only gaining new customers but also maintaining their loyalty. In the future, these happy guests could be a main source of revenue either through themselves or their referrals.
Loyalty programs is a beloved tactic used by the biggest names in the world of tourism, especially airlines. Offering your customers something in return for their business is a great way to encourage retention. So any discounts, loyalty schemes or even a little birthday card every year will go a long way and show how much you value them. This needs to be a two-way relationship.
Brand advocacy, or word of mouth marketing, is a term used to describe actions taken by people who love your brand and continuously support your business by promoting products and services to new customers and prospects. Usually when marketers bring up ‘brand advocacy’, Apple is mentioned. Consumers have championed Apple’s innovations since its inception. That has made Apple the first trillion dollar company in the world.
Now, within tourism marketing, it only makes sense to call them ‘happy tourists’ instead of brand advocates. That’s because it’s certainly the ultimate experience that counts. Some of these factors are within your control, and others are totally up to the entire industry. Tourist advocacy has many more levels. For instance, say a traveller is happy with your hotel service, but not happy with the entire experience in the city, you can’t expect them to be an advocate. In the best case scenario, they would recommend the hotel if an acquaintance has already made up their mind to pay a visit to the same destination anyway. However, if they won’t even recommend the destination, then they won’t advocate for the hotel. That makes a tourist’s advocacy more complicated than a consumer’s advocacy.
Although there will always be factors that are out of your hands, you should be making the most of those within your hands. While the goal of a retention strategy is to enhance the client’s experience, the goal of your advocacy strategy is to get your clients on board with a loyalty program. Loyalty programs are the easiest and most guaranteed way to have travellers champion your business. So, if one should add one more touchpoint to the Buchanan’s trip it would be:
Retention & referral program upon check-out
10% discount on any trip booked by the Buchanans or any of their referred friends. Valid for a year.
Loyalty programs could be as basic as this. Or, they could come with a twist. Startup travel businesses in particular love to know what customers are looking for. Instead of spending a budget on focus groups, use your resources well. Once done with their experience, ask your customers to fill a survey, or invite them for quick feedback. Hear what they have to say. You will gain a lot of insights, and at the same time, you’ll have their attention for a chance to onboard them as a brand advocate with an incentive.
Tourism Marketing: Trends in Tourism Marketing
As a new generation is becoming the power horse of the industry, new tourism marketing trends are taking over. Tourism is dynamic and you need to always be updated with whatever is going on. Here are some of these trends to capture.
A New Generation of Customer Needs
This is the most basic customer need that’s associated with things like courtesy and politeness. Friendly agents are a top indicator of a good customer experience, according to the customers surveyed in a 2020 Trends Report by Zendesk. Your agents are receptionists, drivers, doormen, room service, waiters, and telephone agents. Almost every touchpoint in the tourism industry is offered by a human to a human.
Customers need to know the organisation understands and appreciates their needs and circumstances. In fact, 49% surveyed in the same Trends Report said they want agents to be empathetic.
Customers must feel like they’re getting adequate attention and fair and reasonable answers. With a new, empowered generation that has access to all the information a click of a button away, your answers need to be convincing, honest, and rational.
Customers want to feel like they have an influence on the outcome. You can empower your customers by listening to their feedback and using it to improve. Responsive brands win because customers trust them. They know that if things take a wrong turn, the brand cares to put the effort to make things right.
Here we’re talking about the power of customisation again. Giving flexible choices to your customers is a huge perk to differentiate your marketing mix. If you own it, it would influence your brand loyalty and revenue. Customers want choice and flexibility from customer service; they want to know there is a range of options available to satisfy them. In fact, high-performing companies are more likely to provide customers with a choice. 50% of high performers have adopted an Omni-channel support strategy, compared to 18% of their lower-performing peers, according to Zendesk report.
Customers want to know about products and services in a pertinent and time-sensitive manner; too much information and selling can be off-putting for them. A knowledge base is a great way to provide existing customers with the information they need when they need it. Now, in such a transforming around-the-clock industry, customers are confused. They need simple and direct answers.
Guests’ time is valuable, they’re most probably here for a short period of time and they want to make the most out of it. There’s no time to waste and no room for mistakes. Your business needs to understand this idea and treat it as such. 73% of customers said resolving their issues quickly is the top component of a good customer experience. To deliver on that expectation, your entire staff needs to be well-trained to get things done right and fast. Not only train the manpower but also empower them with the right tools and technology to execute. So, your tourism marketing strategy needs to be involved with how to deliver services fast and the needed tools and training to do so.
Must-Haves on Your Tourism Marketing Strategy
Say you’ve got your target audience and you’ve defined the messages you want to communicate with the audience. Where can you go from here?
1. Get to Know Your Customer Needs through Research
You’ve defined your audience, but do you actually know them? Many brands don’t really study the behaviour of those they’re targeting. That’s why they fail to reach their objectives. There’re several types of information that you can find out about your audience. Quantitative data, also called demographics; such as age, gender, where they’re from, their professions and how much they earn. But more important than demographics, psychographics is a qualitative methodology used to study consumers based on their personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. Research is not only for big multinational businesses. Your resources could be simpler. Focus groups, customer surveys, social media listening, keyword research, and customer journey mapping are cost efficient and help you know your audience.
Both quantitative and qualitative data helps you identify what drives your customers to book and how they prefer to book. Questions to ask yourself during this brainstorming session are: what motivates them, your ideal customers, to travel? Where do they find information about their destination? How do they prefer to book? What annoys them about the research and booking process? You can build at least three customer personas from your answers to those questions. You can then develop your branding, website and marketing strategy around the personas.
Read more: Develop a Full Brand Strategy
2. Build an Experiential Website
A website is essential for your online presence. It shows reliability and tells the story of your business. It’s no longer nice to just have. Tourism and travel are dynamic, they thrive on interactive communication. That’s why your website needs to immerse each visitor in the heart of your service. Your goal is to get them to experience glimpses of what they can get. It has to click by getting them to say “I want to add that to my bucket list” or “This is definitely going to be my next destination”.
Every website is judged by two factors: aesthetics and technicalities. The design and performance are everything to a website. Performance-wise, your website must be responsive and fast. Use Google’s great tool called Test My Site to test the page speed and usability of your website. The results of the test are not only nicely presented, but also show the absolute loading time of your site. And Google also puts your page load time directly in relation to the respective industry average, so that you’d know where you stand against the competition.
Meanwhile, your design needs to stand out and grab attention. It should tell your brand story and deliver your tone of voice as a business. Building a website can be intimidating, but it’s so much easier now. You can check one of the platforms which don’t require you to write code. There’re several website-building platforms that fit tourism marketing needs with sleek, attractive design templates. Or, you can outsource this project to an agency that can develop a website for you or uplift your existing one.
3. Focus on Mobile
Stats say that 45% of UK travellers and 44% of French travellers are comfortable planning and booking their entire trip on their mobile devices. What you do as a tourism marketer to make your business adapt to these facts speaks volumes about your bottom line profits. Mobile experience should be as good as the website experience, if not better. Users need to be able to perform the same tasks, as comfortably, on their mobile devices as they can on the desktop version of your website. In addition to websites, mobile apps are also the best way to reach out to frequent travellers. Those are the customers with the biggest return on investment. Through apps, you can create a personalised experience for your visitors by sending them push notifications and reminders based on their previous behaviour on the application.
4. Use Social Media Platforms to Raise Brand Awareness
Goes without saying. Being relevant and being part of the pop-culture conversation is what makes people consider you when they’re making a decision. It gives you an edge at the evaluation stage in the customer journey. Facebook and Instagram are great platforms for tourism marketing, especially for tour and activity providers.
People want to be immersed and see themselves as part of the experience. If they can see it, they can plan it. Instagram, in specific, is a purely visual platform which makes it perfect for marketing a destination. Additionally, social media advertising empowers you with specific targeting methods to get your message to the exact right audience. If you want to retain a customer, you create a retargeting campaign for the audience who already know you.
While, if your goal is to bring new customers to your funnel, you can easily do so by excluding those who know about your business. It’s flexible, specific, measurable and easy to track. That’s why it can be used at any stage of the customer’s journey.
By now, it’s become a fact that videos achieve far better results than still images. In the travel industry, tourism video content viewing is rampant. Online videos are viewed throughout the entire customer journey from awareness to purchase, mainly to make travel decisions. 63% of leisure and business travellers use travel videos of all forms when looking for activities to do in a particular destination.
Creating videos for tourism marketing has many perks. First, it tells your brand story better than any other medium. You’re engaging your audience with beautiful shots and music that conveys a message. For instance, if your activity is fast-paced and action-oriented, create a video with quick cuts and movement. If you’re trying to convey the personality of a low-key and relaxing outdoor activity or a vacation rental service, use drifting drone shots to show the stillness and beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
Moreover, an in-experience video of your tour is like reading another customer’s testimonial in 3-D. Instantly, your tour or activity becomes more relatable and speeds up the process of consideration. It makes the audience feel that your business is trustworthy because other people have trusted you and they can ‘see’ that they’re happy with their decision. It also sets their expectations. With tourism marketing videos, what you see should be what you get. Customers can always tell if your videos are genuine.
6. Become an Email Marketing Pro
Learning from the pros tells us that email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels for tourism. Besides that, it plays a major role in pushing potential leads down the customer journey funnel. According to Litmus, people start planning vacations mostly from one to three months in advance. This time is enough for you to assist your customers in many ways, including through email content. During that time, a customer becomes aware and considers your business, they then do their own research to eventually make a decision. So, this is your chance to educate on benefits, options, and offer exclusive discounts to fasten the decision process.
Personalising email marketing based on the behaviour of every individual is a technique continuously used by Booking.com and Airbnb, which has been proven highly effective. So, if you’ve searched for a stay in Barcelona on the app, you’ll be getting emails about the hot deals and offers from hotels in Barcelona. Even if you cannot customise an email for every customer, every step in the customer journey has specific content that you should promote through email marketing to achieve high conversions and deliver the expectations of your travelling subscribers. So, you can always group potential leads in clusters to send them relevant emails based on what they need at the given stage.
Additionally, collecting a list of interested emails, known as lead generation, not only serves as a sales tool but also as a way to build a community for your brand. Travellers are naturally open to meeting new people and going through new experiences, so they’re more likely to engage with other travellers and interact with competitions, forums, questionnaires, and events that your tourism business initiates. MailChimp is the most popular email marketing platform, it’s easy to use and it offers a free plan which allows you to send emails to 2000 contacts. You can always upgrade to a more advanced plan based on the number of contacts on your mailing list.
7. Blog Regularly
Video marketing has the ‘wow’ factor and the charming appeal to show fun activities. However, that doesn’t mean travellers are not avid readers. From first-time travellers to seasoned ones, travellers want to be knowledgeable. When you are deep into the day to day of running a business, it’s easy to forget that you are an authority on what you do. You’re the expert on all things travel. Sharing your experience is the best way to make people trust you.
Here are some tips on tourism blogging:
Focus on Customer Persona
Knowing your customer’s persona will be of great advantage when you write blogs. Travellers are diverse. There’re families, young couples, old couples, solos. Then you, have budget travellers, luxury travellers, business travellers, and leisure travellers. And the list goes on! Tailor your blog ideas based on the majority of your customers, you’re writing to them at the end of the day. Surely, business travellers appreciate topics such as how to pack essentials on their business trip, how to make the most of their free time in-between meetings. Meanwhile, budget travellers are keen on reading tips on how to save money during their trip. The wanderers are probably on the search for a destination, but still unsure where to go.
Use Compelling Titles With a Call to Action
Keep your titles short, simple, and to the point. Be specific by using numbers and accurate hints on what readers will find in this blog. Vague titles are never compelling because they don’t set your expectations straight. So, they don’t intrigue you to read. How-to guides and lists in specific are top favourites for everyone. They’re always a good way to go. They are easy to write, easy to read, and usually offer very useable information. Here are some really good titles!
- Packing Light for Travel: The 10 Things You Can Go Without!
- Brazil Vacation Packages for the Winter Weary
- Cheap Ways to Travel: Because the World is Calling
- Family Friendly Vacations Your Kids Will Never Forget
Call to Actions, the Deceptively Simple
Many travel blogs miss on the opportunity of using the right call to action. They either do it too bluntly so that it sounds like painful advertising. Others, simply just don’t utilise the power of ‘call to action’ because they want to look sincere. A good call to action is helpful to both sides. So, while writing a call to action, ask yourself if it benefits both the reader and your business? If yes, then write it down. Here are some strong calls to action for the previous examples!
- “You’re ready to go, but you can’t get your suitcase closed. Do you really need everything in that bag? Probably not. Packing light for travel is all about figuring out what you really need, so give us a call. While you unpack some of the extras, we’ll make sure your itinerary is in order.”
- “Here in North America, it’s the dead of winter. Trade in those grey skies and fierce winds with these Brazil vacation packages. Remember, summer is just a short trip south. Call us today.”
- “Vacations are expensive, but they don’t have to be. We’ll give you some cheap ways to travel, whether you are going around the world, or around the mountain. Call us to save big on your next journey.”
- “One of the best gifts you can give your children is great memories. Family-friendly vacations are a fun way to share those future memories. Let us know how we can help you find the perfect vacation.”
Read more about blogging for your business here.
8. Accept Online Bookings
Knowing that 82% of all travel bookings (including accommodation, tours and activities, flights, etc.) in 2018 were made online via a mobile app or website, without human interaction should be a good enough motivation. Travellers have a lot of online resources and tools at hand to research, review deals, and choose the best travel packages for them. If you want your business to be one of the choices they consider, you need to meet them where they are. Think of it this way, having an experiential website will get your visitors hooked on the idea, and an online booking system enables you to get them right away. Getting a ‘hot lead’ increases your chances of closing the deal. ProfileTree can help you integrate a sleek booking system into your website. It also makes most of your calls to action basically a click of a button.
9. Master Search Engine Marketing
One can’t talk about blogs and online booking without bumping straight into search engine marketing. This is a power trio that you can’t underestimate! It all starts with a Google search. If Google trusts you, then you’re doing something right. That makes potential customers automatically trust you. There’re two ways to appear at the top of the search results page: organic and paid. Both organic and paid page results increase the chance of your business being recognised and gaining more traffic.
Paid search marketing is a powerful marketing channel to invest in. Google AdWords campaigns have a high average conversion rate which is 4.40% on the search network. That’s because users who perform search engine queries are serious. They want solutions to their questions. They’re willing to buy these solutions.
However, you may not always be able to advertise and pay money to appear at the top of the search results. Search engine paid campaigns are effective, but they’re short term. Within tourism marketing, you want to invest in both short-term results and long ones. That’s why you should up your SEO game. SEO is all about authority. You want to tell users that you’re an expert at what you do. Your brand not only has all the right answers to their questions but also can make their next travel unforgettably pleasant.
Remember that search engines are just like you. They’re also service providers that want to offer their users the best experience. That’s why they rank the content which actually offers solutions to the search queries. So, when you’re writing content for your website pages or blog, it must be SEO friendly. Your content should be long, comprehensive, easy to read, and fact-based. Your titles and sub-titles should tell what your article is about and include the primary keywords you want to rank for. Here are some more great tips for SEO friendly copywriting!
A good place to start your SEO efforts is Google My Business is a good place particularly local SEO. Google My Business is a free tool that enables you to control how your business shows up on Google Search and Google Maps. It specifically enables you to add your business name, contact details, location, hours, photos, etc. You can also monitor and respond to customer reviews, and see where and how people are searching for you. And when people search for tours and activities near them, they’re usually ready to book the tour on that same day.
Read more: SEO for Hotels
Influencer marketing is a superb, cost efficient tourism marketing channel. It’s also a low maintenance marketing activation which makes it something you can repeat more than once over the course of one year.
Macro influencers are the big names. Brands think of them as long-term ambassadors who stand for the same values the brand represents. Their return on investment is rather a long-term objective. Having a macro influencer as a brand ambassador is more expensive and you need to select them carefully. Anything they do might be reflected in your brand reputation. Although they are not as trusted by their audience, they have a vast and diverse reach. That makes them the right medium if you want to position your brand and gain a lot of reach without necessarily asking the audience to make a purchasing decision.
Micro influencers usually have 1,000-500,000 followers and specialise in a specific niche within their industry. They have a smaller and more targeted audience. As such, they often have higher engagement, more loyal followers, and better conversions on their social channels. Plus, they are cheaper than the big influencers. Micro-influencers are often tied to short term objectives. That makes them the perfect medium to promote events, limited-time discounts, and holiday season packages. Whenever you want the audience to purchase make a low involvement decision, micro-influencers are your go-to channel.
11. Make Use of Augmented and Virtual Reality
While virtual reality, in many ways and for a long time, was confined to games, movies, and other sources of entertainment, it has also gained a growing following among destination and activity marketers. It lends itself as a great tool to showcase destinations and activities in a never before seen way. It’s fairly inexpensive, with prices for production and equipment coming down to consumer levels, it’s new and it’s a fresh take. It’s the perfect combination for the experiential aspect of destination and activity marketing.
With Google, Facebook, Samsung, and others pushing the technology, it’s no longer a novelty. VR and AR products are developing into a mainstream consumer product with sales expected to hit 24 million units in 2018 and half a billion by 2025. It’s a channel for destinations and tour operators to use that is here to stay and one that will be in demand. With Facebook repositioning to Meta, one can only expect that this will be a huge area of investment in the future. Tourism businesses that adopt the technology sooner than others are going to have an edge and attract a new generation of travellers.
12. Experience More!
With millennials becoming the power horse of the industry, they brought about their values of putting experience above material luxury. Experience tourism is becoming the norm because consumers would rather spend their money on experiences and not on things. The emphasis now is on seeking out activities that appeal to niche personal interests rather than on checking must-see sites and monuments off the to-do list. For the majority of leisure travellers now, especially younger ones, it’s all about the journey, not only the destination. Travellers want to connect with a place on an emotional level, and, as a result, it becomes much more than settling for a busy trip packed with a full itinerary in all the touristy hot spots.
Booking and travel agencies today simply must offer more than a product. They must offer and promote life-enriching experiences –language lessons and cooking classes, riding the rapids, trekking to remote locations, swimming with sharks. The travel industry is evolving to meet and capitalise on this experiential purchasing trend, known as experience tourism.
The Trendiest Types of Tourism and their Relevant Tourism Marketing Messages
Knowing the different types of tourism helps you build a business with your target travellers in mind. It helps tailor the experience for each traveller. All industries are moving towards niche marketing, and the tourism industry is no exception. Here is a list of different travelling purposes to discover!
#1 Re-creational Tourism (Leisure Tourism)
Exploring different cuisines has always been associated with moments of leisure and travel. But the concept of food tourism has recently evolved to encompass activities beyond the plate. It has grown to become the central experience instead of a secondary one. These are tourist and entertainment activities that place food traditions as a pillar of regional identity and cultural heritage. Food tourists value the relationship between food and society. So, food tourism doesn’t have to be about gourmet experiences. What matters most is that it shows the heart and soul of the place and culture. It results in an average 25% greater economic impact in most destinations.
- Taking a street food tour
- Tasting of local dishes and beverages
- Following regional product routes (wine tasting, brewery tours, producer visits, coffee routes)
- Eat at traditional restaurants;
- Share meals with local people
- Participate in food events and festivals
- Visit local markets
- Learn about the production of food by visiting farms and artisan producers;
- Participate in cooking classes
- Visit exhibitions that explain the history of local cuisine
- Culinary expeditions with chefs and specialists.
The key message for food tourism marketing is focusing on growing community awareness and pride in local food traditions. Visuals and aesthetics play a major role here. That’s why video marketing and social media would be the best marketing channels here along with educational content marketing.
Read more: 20 of the World’s Best Food Tours
Beach tourism is the major segment of holiday tourism that has led to the overall development of tourism in many parts of the world. It doesn’t go out of fashion because who doesn’t love to dip in the sea, dive, and enjoy the endless options of water activities. Luckily, there’s an abundance of shores around the world. Honeymooners, small families, and senior couples are the three main personas for beach tourists.
You can imagine how the needs of every persona are very different, sometimes the exact opposite. If your service can really cater for the needs of everyone, you need to communicate to every persona differently. On the other hand, there’s no shame in choosing only one persona and customising the entire experience for them. The Maldives, for instance, is a labelled destination for honeymooners and couples, and it’s the country’s largest revenue generator.
On a different note, when it comes to the recommended marketing channels, beach tourism is almost similar to food tourism. Video marketing and social media are great ways to attract travellers.
Now, let’s take a look at the European beach tourism scene. The pandemic has shifted the behaviour of most travellers. Sun and beach travellers were concentrated in the domestic market, also known as a ‘staycation’, while the outbound market almost completely vanished.
Although there are many hybrids, one can distinguish two types of tourists in the beach tourism market. The first group is by far the largest target group. This group focuses on all-inclusive package deals and is highly focused on price. They mainly book trips to the Mediterranean region, with Turkey and Egypt as the most important developing country destinations. Their accommodations consist mostly of big hotels or resorts. Because the resort provides all they need, there is little need for these tourists to leave the resort. Therefore, such tourists offer little opportunity for small and medium-sized suppliers. Many in this target group are baby boomers.
The second group of tourists is more interested in a diversified offering. They will probably visit multiple places within your country, combining a safari, city trips or other experiences with a nice time on the beach. Many of these tourists will also be interested in more than leisure when spending time on the beach. This target group will be mainly found in Western Europe. Generation Y and Generation Z are the most important generations if you focus on this target group.
#2 Cultural Tourism
The simplest way to explain the concept of ecotourism is with two words: travelling responsibly. Simply put, ecotourism is tourism that centres around awareness of the environment and the local community. As eco-tourists, the goal is to visit an area with the well-being of the local people and nature in mind. Not only should they respect their home, but they should actively improve it whenever they can. Since it’s a booming trend, it’s getting a lot of attention—both good and bad. The latter, unfortunately, exploits this by luring tourists into “eco-friendly” getaways that aren’t helping the local environment at all. However, eco-tourists are self-aware and great researchers, because they believe in a cause.
For this reason, if you’re not genuine about it, don’t claim it. But if you really can offer tours that help with environmental issues and leave the minimum impact on the environment, then the right communication tool would be building an educational website. A blog that roots for the cause and educates everyone about eco-tourism is a sign of sincerity. Moreover, certificates and proofs that your business is truly eco-friendly are great evidence of being genuine.
Rural tourism focuses on actively participating in a rural lifestyle. It can be a variant of ecotourism. Any forms of tourism that showcase the rural life, art, culture, and heritage at rural locations, thereby benefiting the local community economically and socially. Many villages can facilitate tourism because many villagers are hospitable and eager to welcome and sometimes even host visitors. Moreover, it enables interaction between the tourists and the locals for a more enriching tourism experience can be termed as rural tourism.
Agritourism: although often used to describe all tourism activities in rural areas, more frequently either term relates to tourism products which are ‘directly connected with the agrarian environment, agrarian products or agrarian stays’: staying at farm, whether in rooms or camping, educational visits, meals, recreational activities, and the sale of farm product or handicrafts.
Farm Tourism: explicitly farm-related and most usually associated with tourism involving staying in farm accommodation and seeking experiences from farm operations and attractions.
Wilderness and Forest Tourism: tourists explore the wilderness and natural beauty of the rural area. In wilderness and forest tourism, tourists travel to the natural habitat of plants and animals. It mostly encompasses non-consumptive interactions with wildlife and nature, such as observing and photographing animals in their natural habitats. Wilderness and forest tourism activities are many such as wild photography, safari, bird watching, trekking, and hiking etc.
Northern Ireland has a huge potential for rural tourism. The government is encouraging this trendy type of tourism. From a tourism marketing point of view, your key message here is simplicity. You must focus on how visitors can enjoy a ‘back to basics’ lifestyle during their stay. Make the traditional Irish culture the centre of your show. Show the true local faces behind the experience. Make sure your audience know that their experience here is nothing like anywhere in the world.
Religious, or spiritual, tourism which is also denoted as faith tourism refers to a type of tourism where persons travel in groups or sometimes individually for missionary, pilgrimage, and spiritual leisure. It’s usually underestimated, however, most religious tourists are very motivated to travel, so they are willing to spend more money than the average traveller. This inherent motivation also makes religious tourism less vulnerable to economic lows.
Religious tourism includes several activities such as:
- Traditional pilgrimage
- Church tourism which involves visiting sites of prayer and shrines but for their cultural significance, architectural importance, aesthetic beauty or historic value – not for any religious motivation.
- Religious events
- Missionary & Volunteering
- Retreats and faith-based cruises
- Student/youth activities
- Secular pilgrimage which involves visiting a hero’s grave (Elvis’ Graceland, Jim Morrisson’s grave in Paris); a site of environmental or human tragedy (Pompeii, Tsunami sites in Indian Ocean, Ground Zero in New York); a battlefield site (Monte Cassino, Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam) or; an ancestral home (diaspora returning to their ethnic place of origin), can be considered as pilgrimage. It’s mainly travels which purposely or inadvertently includes a meaningful, transformative experience, beyond the norm, that impacts an individual’s belief system is being recognised as secular pilgrimage.
Of course, a blog may be the best marketing tool for religious tourism because, whether it’s believers or non-believers, there’s great potential for content marketing covering history, folk tales, culture, on site-information, architecture, and aesthetics and art. Many of these travellers are avid readers, so it’s a win-win. Be careful, however, not to create content that may be offensive. Always keep it neutral and diverse.
War tourism is sometimes referred to as dark tourism or mourning tourism. It involves visiting those places and sites that have witnessed the greatest tragedies in history. Besides this history of human suffering and bloodshed, these locations are famous for their historical value. Examples of these sites are:
- Famous sites in Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- Ground Zero, New York, USA
- The War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Pripyat, Ukraine
- Auschwitz concentration camp, Auschwitz, Germany
- Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, etc.
Tourists visit these places not only because they’re interested in learning about history, but also to honour the memory of those who lost their lives. Sometimes the habit of visiting these places is passed on from one generation to the other especially in the case where a collective tragic story is associated with the place. It becomes a way to connect with the ancestors through keeping the tragic memory.
#3 Adventure Tourism
Adventure travel is a leisure activity that takes place in an unusual, exotic, remote or wilderness destination. It tends to be associated with high levels of activity by the participant, most of it outdoors. Adventure travellers expect to experience various levels of risk, excitement, and tranquillity and be personally tested. In particular, they are explorers of unspoiled, exotic parts of the planet and also seek personal challenges. In fact, there’re two types of adventure: hard adventure and soft adventure.
Hard adventure activities are highly risky and dangerous in nature. These activities involve caving, mountain climbing, rock climbing, ice climbing, trekking, sky diving. Soft adventure activities, on the other hand, are less dangerous as compared to hard adventure activities. Yet, these activities are still always led by professional guides. These activities are following as backpacking, birdwatching, camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, kayaking, orienteering, safaris, scuba diving, snorkelling, skiing, snowboarding, sandboarding, and surfing.
It’s easy to tell that this type of tourism attracts the younger generations. And since it all thrives on adrenaline, you definitely want to give them a glimpse of that through your marketing communication. AR, VR and video marketing are the best tools to use to attract adventure tourists. Take a look at Red Bull’s Instagram page as a great source of inspiration!
Sports tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors and equates to $7.68 billion. It involves either observing or participating in a sporting event. It is also classified into sports event tourism, celebrity and nostalgia sport tourism and active sport tourism. Normally, tourists are attracted to events such as the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup, F1 Grand Prix, World Tennis Championship, BWF World Championships and Cricket World Cup.
What truly distinguishes sports tourists is that they’re highly engaged all year long. Whether it’s football, tennis, basketball, or any other sports, they’re always following up on the latest game and looking out for the next updates and news. The best marketing tool here would be building a community by becoming a reliable source of everything new on sports. It may sound crazy, but in order to succeed as a service provider for sports tourism, you must become the closest thing to a real-time sports magazine.
Wildlife tourism could be a sub-category of eco-tourism. However, some wildlife trips are focused on action and adventure. It could involve travelling to jungle destinations. Wildlife tourism has expert guides tour package arrangements crafted by tour operators. Your itinerary is lodge based and sometimes camp based. You start off in a safari enjoying the landscapes, thick growth of forests and tall grassland on your way watching herds of gnus and zebra crossing over streams filled with hungry crocks, pods of basking hippos, herds of wild buffalos grazing and the elephants on a group feeding spree. It is all thrill and suspense before you reach your lodge or camp where good food, drink and hospitality are waiting to entertain you. Wildlife tourism is an ever expanding billion-dollar industry.
If you offer services within this type of tourism, you must be a great storyteller. The legends and myths that connect man and wild animals are endless. So, the potential for creating stories powered by exceptional photography is right at hand. Instagram could be a particularly useful channel to tell these stories. Angama Safari is a great inspiration for wildlife tourism marketing on Instagram.
Set-jetting is the latest trend that involves travelling to destinations that are seen in movies. Visiting stately homes like in the Jane Austin movies, touring London in high-speed boats like James Bond are good examples. Top set-jetting destinations in the world are Breaking Bad (New Mexico), Harry Potter (England), Game of Thrones (Northern Ireland), and The Wire (USA). There is also one more type of tourism called Tolkien tourism where fans of the Lord of The Rings universe travel to the sites of the film, especially in New Zealand.
#4 Medical & Convention Tourism
Medical tourism describes travelling from one place to another for health-related purposes. Originally, the term referred to the travel of patients from less-developed countries to developed nations in pursuit of the treatments not available in their homeland. Today, there’re both qualitative and quantitative shifts in patient mobility. Patients travel from richer to less-developed countries in order to access health services. Such shift is mostly driven by the relatively low cost of treatments in less developed nations, the availability of inexpensive flights and increased marketing and online consumer information about the availability of medical services.
What really puts the word “tourism” in the medical tourism concept is that people often stay in a foreign country after the medical procedure. Travellers can thus take advantage of their visit by sightseeing, taking day trips or participating in any other traditional tourism activities.
Meanwhile, convention, or business, tourism involves travelling to a destination away from home or a normal workplace. It is a type of travel for professional purposes rather than personal. Some types of business tourism are incentive travel, exhibitions & trade fairs, conferences & meetings, and corporate events. Incentive tourism is a new and expanding phenomenon in tourism. Holiday trips are offered as incentives by major companies to dealers and salesmen who achieve high targets in sales. These are in lieu of cash incentives or gifts. Today incentive tourism is a 3-billion-dollar business in the USA alone.
Tourism marketers offering business or medical tourism services should focus on one thing: reliability. Travellers here are task-oriented. They’re travelling to get things done. So, they need to know that you can get things done for them. Traveller testimonials are powerful. Responsiveness is a deal-breaker. In addition, search engine marketing, paid or organic, would be the best channel to invest in. That’s why, your website’s SEO should be a top priority to generate organic traffic, besides pay per click campaigns.
Fill Your Heart with Ireland
If great marketing and advertising centres around talking to the hearts of the audience, then it doesn’t come more literal than the Fill Your Heart with Ireland campaign. A married couple from Sweden, who had never visited Ireland before, wore custom-made tech to track their physiological responses on their trip around the country. Heart monitors were linked to head cams and the data from the heart rate monitors was used to determine what footage would feature in the advertising.
This example shows the power of storytelling as this is not just about beautiful scenery. What matters most here is the story behind it and the amazing copywriting skills that make our hearts melt!
Travel Oregon has gained a reputation for creating some of the best campaigns. Their marketing is consistently out of the box, fun and performs to perfection. In one of their videos, they created a tour guide in the shape of a robot fish. Even on their blog, they add sarcasm and fun whenever they get the chance. Travel Oregon frequently combines print, sponsored posts, social media, banner ads and video to profound effect. Perhaps the icing on their incredibly impressive marketing cake is the Studio Ghibli-like video that re-imagines the US State as an ‘adventure dreamland.’
Doors of Thrones
In 2016, Storm Gertrude destroyed some of the trees that make up the iconic Dark Hedges, where the scenes on the Kingsroad were filmed for HBO’s smash hit, Game of Thrones. Quick to find hope in the midst of a disaster, the fallen trees were carved into ten doors, each one to represent an episode from Season 6 of the show. These doors were then shipped across the country to different locations. They now make up a new experience called The Journey of the Doors. It’s another example of turning a negative into a positive alongside combining real experiences with marketing mastery.
Yodel Ay Hee Hoo
Interactivity is playing an increasingly important role in tourism marketing. Live videos, augmented and virtual reality are great channels to evoke emotions and immerse the audience in the experience. Many brands, such as British Airways in their campaign #Lookup and the SNCF’s Europe, It’s Just Next Door, used interactive marketing. However, the pick of the bunch is this Yodel Ay Hee Hoo gem from Graubünden Tourism in Switzerland. The highlight of the campaign was a live video stream from a mountain village into a train station which encouraged passers-by to engage in conversation with a man from the village.
Tourism Marketing During COVID19
Tourists were asked to switch their annual foreign holidays for “staycations” when Covid19 hit and tourism was put to a halt. Businesses were pushed to put their tourism marketing techniques to use in order to encourage travellers to stay at home and explore the beauty of their own country. At the same time businesses and countries couldn’t let tourists forget about them for when the world would eventually reopen. The following are examples of the clever ways tourism marketing was utilised during Covid19.
Discover Puerto Rico’s Virtual Gateway
The destination marketing organisation found a way to keep Puerto Rico a top of mind destination even while the world was shut down. They built a space where they invited everyone to one of a kind virtual classes and weekend escapes to Puerto Rico. In the below examples, you can see all the virtual fun! A wild cocktail party, a soothing Puerto Rican coffee break, and even a Sunday brunch. Hosted on Instagram Live and Zoom, they allowed people to engage without leaving their homes. Furthermore, by featuring local guides, instructors, cooks, and dancers, they totally nailed the concept.
My Switzerland’s Dream Now, Travel Later
During the first wave of the pandemic, it was a rough and stressful time for everyone. Borders closing, loved ones sick, stores closing, and it seemed like the world we knew was saying goodbye. It was highly appreciated to get a message of hope amidst fear. This campaign by My Switzerland quickly became viral with its heartwarming message: Dream now, travel later. To further strengthen this message, My Switzerland released a short video inspiring people to dream and plan. The same was later projected on Matterhorn mountain, symbolizing that light is hope.
Now, saving the best for last, you’ll know why we did. This venue took it to the next level during the lockdown. Wild Detectives is a bookstore-bar-venue in Texas, USA. With their doors shut, they had to find a way, so they headed digital, with a twist. They came up with an outstanding idea to become a travel agent by launching Book a trip – an online platform offering “holidays” to a range of destinations worldwide. Wondering what on earth does a bookshop have to do with booking trips? Book a trip is a remarkable campaign aiming to help the shop keep going during the pandemic. The holidays they offer are actually books that could transport people to different countries and worlds. And the mission – to inspire people to keep reading and exploring the world through the magic of books.
The tourism industry is still feeling the impact of the Covid19 Pandemic two years on from when it first began and although numbers are still not up to what they were Pre-Covid, tourism is coming back slowly and surely. After such a hiatus from exploring the world around us people are only longing to hop on a plane and begin travelling again.
Digital Marketing in the Tourism Industry
We are living in an ever-changing digital world. Businesses must keep up to date with trends in the digital world in order to stay relevant. The Covid19 Pandemic highlighted the importance of technology to businesses. Those that chose not to adapt to this new digital environment and engage in ecommerce suffered great losses during national lockdowns. If people couldn’t go to the shop, the shop had to come to them via the digital world.
Businesses that have an online presence are far superior then those who just have a physical business, as convenience is key for customers. This applies to those businesses in the tourism industry. The digital world is very competitive so it is essential that your business invests in its digital marketing to ensure your website doesn’t get lost among the countless others. You want your website to be the first one that people see when they are searching for their next trip. This can be achieved by having an SEO strategy.
Digital marketing for the travel industry can reduce unnecessary costs on advertisements as it allows you to reach your target audience cheaper, quicker and more directly through emails, social media posts and blogs. When a business decides to go digital they immediately expand their network. A local travel agents can only target people in the surrounding area whereas if they use digital marketing they can target globally.
Social Media has done an excellent job in influencing people on where their next destination spot should be. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are used to post videos and pictures of the most popular travel spots. Some people determine where there next trip will be based on how “instagrammable” or “picturesque” the destination is.
A business should use these platforms to share their videos, pictures, tips and what their unique offering is for travelling. This is the easiest way for businesses in the tourism industry to target Gen Z as they will get their travel inspiration from social media platforms. Taking part in recent social media trends and using specific travel hashtags can drastically boost your businesses interactions with its target audience and spread brand awareness.
FAQ- Tourism Marketing
What are the Benefits of Effective Tourism Marketing?
- Identifies target market
- Increases customer base and brand awareness
- Increases sales and ROI
- Promotes the businesses values and offerings
- Gain competitive advantage
What are the 7P’s of Tourism Marketing?
We already discussed the 4P’s of Tourism Marketing above. However, there are actually another 3 P’s that can be added. These are;
Your customers are one of the most important aspects of your marketing mix. Knowing the size of your target audience and their expectations is vital in meeting their needs. For example, if a group of girls aged 21-25 have booked their holiday with your business, you may recommend certain bars and nightclubs and excursions like boat parties to them.
Similarly, if you have a family with young children booking their holiday with your business you may recommend waterparks and kids clubs for them. Having personalised recommendations for your customers forms a bond between your business and them.
The people in your marketing mix does not only include customers but also those apart of your business. Having highly professional and friendly representatives of your business will create a respected and trusted image. Good customer service is essential in order to retain your customers and build brand loyalty.
Having a proper process in place will ensure the smooth running of the booking experience for your potential customer. If your process is long, tedious and difficult to operate customers will become frustrated and will leave. Your process needs to be efficient and easy to use. If your process is quick and accessible compared to the competitions people will be more inclined to book their trip through your business.
A customer can’t physically see the exact service your offering them before they purchase so it is important to let them see what they can expect from your brand in other ways. Share videos and testimonials from past trips your business has booked for previous clients. 360° photography and videography are a good way to engage your consumer. Being able to see aspects of the service beforehand will reassure the traveller that your business is professional and respected.
Although the service your business is providing is intangible, make sure all the physical aspects of the service are of a high standard. For example, the transport and hotel should be clean and comfortable to make a good first impression on the customer.
Tourism marketing research is used to find out more about the tourism industry. This is done through surveys and questionnaires on past and potential customers. Getting information like where the customer heard about your business and were they happy with the service gives valuable information on what target group you’re reaching and what changes you can make to enhance the tourists experience.
Read more about the 7 Elements of the Marketing Mix.
What are the Features of Tourism Marketing?
When focusing on tourism marketing it’s important to look at it’s features as they have an impact on how you can advertise your service. Some of the features of Tourism Marketing are;
- Intangible: Tourism Marketing isn’t advertising a physical product that your target audience can see it is about trying to promote a service.
- Inseparable: Although you are advertising an experience all tangible products involved in performing the service are connected to it. For example, the hotel and the restaurants.
- Perishable: Tourism Marketing can only advertise a service for a finite length of time. Unlike a product which can be advertised for its long-lasting capabilities, tourism marketing must concentrate on advertising the uniqueness of the experience as by promoting it as “a once in a lifetime trip”
- Seasonal: Tourism Marketing is seasonal based. You won’t be advertising Winter getaways in Spring. Typically travellers will crave sun and relaxation during the Summer time and may prefer to go Skiing or to European Christmas Markets in the Winter.
- Non-transferable ownership: There is no transfer of ownership of the service between your business and the consumer. The consumer does not own the service after paying for it. Most consumers will buy a product because they want to own it, therefore when marketing for travel and tourism you must promote the experience and the memories that travellers will make from enjoying the service to entice them.
- Unstable: Factors, for example the seasons, the economy and world pandemics like Covid-19, greatly impact tourism. Marketers have to find innovative ways to advertise tourism when the sector is affected by any of these factors.
- Immobile: The tourism product cannot be moved. The customer must travel to the destination to enjoy the service. Marketing for tourism must highlight the enjoyment of travel and the excitement of the adventure.
Tourism Marketing Wrap Up!
If you’re here, then you’re truly dedicated to improving your tourism marketing strategies. We hope that the information in this article would be of value to your business. The tourism industry is going through massive changes and it’s likely that traveller behaviour will continue to change over the next years. One last piece of advice is to be agile and adapt to changes. Listen to your customers, continuously. See things from their perspective and don’t be afraid to try something new. Digital marketing is only going to grow as travellers now are accustomed to doing everything online, from ordering groceries to planning a wedding. When it comes to your tourism digital marketing strategy, ProfileTree is always happy to help. Send us an email with any questions or consultations, we’re just a click away!