In 2019,  industry trends indicated that global tourism sector reached $1.3 trillion in revenue, more than half of which came from digital commerce. When the global pandemic disrupted the current market trends, many tourism operators pivoted their marketing efforts to digital tactics to help cut costs and reach consumer market. Online marketing is the way to go if you can no longer afford to rely on word of mouth and want to implement cost-efficient campaigns to promote your experience.

We’ve got five practical tips to help you complete a strategic marketing plan to promote your tourism offering and hit your 2021 revenue growth goals.

Tip #1: Clearly Define Your Target Audience

Clearly defining your target audience may seem like advice from a marketing 101 class, but it’s something most companies forget. Before developing a marketing strategy, you should have a clear picture of the ideal prospects for your tourism business.

Solo adventurers, couples, and families have different travel considerations, and you should treat them as separate personas. You can’t create a successful marketing plan without first clearly defining your audience.

For example, here are some industry trends about family vacations:

  • Women account for 68% of family vacation searches and 59% of all travel-related searches.
  • The 35 to 49 age group is the most significant contributor to family travel searches at 41%
  • followed by the fifty to 64 age group at 31%.

Given this information, you should consider reaching women in the 35 to 49 age group to offer your services to families. They’re the ones who are most likely planning their family trips.

Solo adventurers and couples will have different statistics, so clearly define your audience before coming up with a plan.

Tip #2: Know Your Audience’s Digital Habits

The digital travel booking process often takes place over several interactions—with different devices used for researching, reserving, and purchasing.

Your target audience might do their research online during a long commute to work, for example. They can make reservations on a tablet while discussing travel plans with their companions. And they can book slots through a laptop at home.

Make sure to optimize your content for any part of the customer’s booking journey. One person can have several interactions with hundreds of brands before coming up with a decision. It’s best to prepare for any phase of the booking journey, especially during these moments:

  • Dreaming phase: a traveler is searching for travel ideas and inspiration at this point.
  • Organizing phase: a traveler is making decisions about vacation specifics during this phase.
  • Booking phase: the vacationer has already made decisions about reservations.
  • Experiencing phase: the traveler is searching for things to do in their travel destination.

Tip #3: Practice Content Marketing

Content marketing focuses on creating valuable materials such as blogs, videos, and infographics that pique interest in a company’s products or services. An effective content marketing plan aims to stand out from a saturated market that exposes customers to thousands of ads daily.

Relevant content will set you apart from your competitors and enable you to fill your social media calendar with content that attract new clients, encourages social media shares and comments, and that results in more bookings. Content marketing can also help fuel your public relations efforts by giving you valuable content that attracts journalists and fosters media placements. 

For example, check out this video from Disney:

It’s an ad created for Disney World. It’s a video where a little girl sings famous Disney songs and dresses up as Disney princesses. Disney doesn’t mention its products or services but shows you the kind of magical experience your little girls can have if you visit. It has over 57 million YouTube views to date.

Tip #4: Make Use Of Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Local SEO aims to improve your search engine rankings for your target market to easily find, get in touch, and purchase from you just like traditional SEO. There are, however, techniques specific to local SEO, including:

  • Creating local listings including Google My Business
  • Getting good reviews from clients
  • Using localized keywords such as ‘amusement parks in [your destination]’
  • Using location-specific site copy
  • Earning backlinks from other sites

Travel companies with a geographical component should use local SEO and capitalize on local mentions to get more traffic. Examples of such businesses are amusement parks, museums, outdoor activities, and entertainment venues.

When search query has local intent, Google displays a local SEO 3-Pack, a list of the top three local businesses that match the search. It includes a map, ratings, and business descriptions. The Google 3-Pack appears for searches like ‘museums near me’ or ‘outdoor activities in New Orleans.’

Properly-implemented local SEO can help you drastically improve site traffic from tourists that are searching for things to do, places to stay or places to eat in your area. 

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Tip #5: Run Targeted Pay-per-Click Ads

Pay-per-click ads have the advantage of both speed and precision. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram and many other platforms offer detailed targeting solutions that provide the opportunity to quickly reach consumers in or searching for your travel destination and driving highly qualified traffic to your website. With proper targeting, traffic from pay-per-click marketing campaigns often convert at a higher than normal rate, resulting in increased bookings with a high return on ad spend.

How powerful are pay-per-click ads? Many tourism operators include paid ad campaigns in their marketing mix as part of their strategy to hit their reach goals. More importantly, users respond to ads. In fact, around 64% of site visitors say watching a video online influenced them to make a purchase, and 52% of them attributed purchases to Facebook ads. 

Now is Your Opportunity to Create A Tourism Marketing Plan

Specialists expect the tourism industry to bounce back by 2021. Avid travelers will be excited to travel after months of staying at home. It’s the perfect time for tourism businesses to create a detailed plan to blow past your competitors and hit the revenue growth goals in your business plan

Do you have more questions on how to create an effective tourism marketing strategy? Get in touch with a digital marketing agency that specializes in tourism marketing and has to resources to help you improve your marketing and grow your business.

Meet the Author:

Carl Lefever

Carl Lefever, Founder & Strategist

Carl is the founder of Improve & Grow, LLC, where his primary passion is helping businesses grow by improving their online marketing. He leads the team and is involved in developing and executing internet marketing strategies for our clients. Carl's background is in continuous improvement disciplines, focused on sales and marketing operations. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He is a proud father of 4 girls and loves traveling and supporting missions work.