There are three key digital strategies to marketing any company operating within the tourism industry, in today’s highly digitised and connected society, that all businesses need to actively take on board, namely: develop a location strategy for your business; formulate a review strategy; and embrace the power of pictures. I will briefly discuss each to better understand their importance.
A location strategy:
These days your digital location is just as important as your physical location, because increasingly more consumers are turning to the digital landscape as the first step to finding the businesses they are looking for and so you need to be in their field of vision straight away. A location strategy is therefore about ensuring that you are placed prominently online so that potential customers will come across your product or service easily and early on in their search.
“Online consumer reviews rank higher, in fact, than professionally written reviews”
To have search engines find your business, you need to make sure you appear on the right directories, such as Google Places for Business and Yellow Pages, as well as on reviewing sites such as TripAdvisor. You also want to rank highly on the right social networks, such as FourSquare, Loopt, We&Co and MobiLuck as Google has started taking a more holistic view to search rankings, now taking social networks into account in its calculations.
A review strategy:
One of the primary reasons why you need an online review strategy is that reviews are the backbone of consumers’ online research into a company. When it comes to making a purchasing decision, we as consumers want third-party information because we feel it is relatively objective and trustworthy.
A recent Nielsen study shows that consumers trust online brand or product recommendations above all other forms of advertising save for recommendations from people they know. Online consumer reviews rank higher, in fact, than professionally written reviews. Secondly, online reviews mean better search rankings and more traffic to your site. They are also free advertising. Reviews have therefore become an integral part of the modern-day sales cycle.
Social sites that are predominately visual – think Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube – have all grown hugely in popularity and are a powerful tool for visual internet marketing. They offer incredible opportunities for the travel and tourism industry: they can show the visual appeal of a destination or hotel, they can help companies/brands to connect with their current and potential customers, they can assist in building rapport and trust between the two, and they can offer added value to customers.
Companies must just find the right balance between promotion, inspiration and discussion. Images and videos are also the perfect mediums for experiential marketing, which is about communicating your brand’s product or service to your target market in a way that ‘transports’ them there and gets them excited about it.
With the three marketing aspects of Location, Review, and Picture in place within your business you will see a marked increase in social sharing, brand awareness, sales, and eventually your bottom line.
About the author: Mike Saunders has won the respect of business by his determined approach to helping business navigate a diverse and complicated world of Digital and Business. Mike’s digital agency DigitLab was voted one of South Africa’s Best Digital Agency by The Bookmarks Awards in 2012. Mike is also an entrepreneur and businessman.