Marketing is evolving constantly. Now, more than ever, we live in a commoditized and distracted world, which presents enormous challenges to marketing and selling to an evolving group of consumers. Tourism is not immune to these challenges. Often there are ongoing trends in tourism that are often overlooked, they come up consistently but don't become a focus for some travel brands.
Ok this one might be obvious - but why do we not set up our businesses to address this? You work in a 24/7 world. Your guests visit from anywhere around the world. This is especially significant for the global travel industry. The benefit is that you have a massive crop of potential guests, but you will not be relevant to everyone, nor can you service everyone. Is your business set up to address the varying time zones and immediacy of response that your potential guests are looking for?
Your potential guests are influenced by influencers, by social media, and what friends, family, and others that recommend online. Did you know that one good review from a guest can lead to 9 future referrals? Online booking sites like Trip Advisor, Booking.com and Viator have figured this out, and reward their best partners with better visibility so that they can make more money. Reviews matter to your guests.
Online travel agents (OTA's) and booking sites are over 70% of the market, and they are the primary source for finding travel services for your guests. These sites are your partners AND your competitors. They skim margins from us, but we can’t live without them because they give us access to a global audience. How do we work OTA's in the long run?
As industries commoditize, anyone can learn skills in business, and tourism as well as sales, marketing, social media, websites, and content. That It means tourism brands and products will continue to increase because, let's face it, tourism is an attractive and exciting industry to work in. How do you avoid looking generic and standout?
There are plenty of marketing strategies to manage some of the most prominent tourism trends and run a successful business.
Here are a few examples:
Marketing strategy matters. Otherwise you end up with a set of tactics that are disjointed and don’t work together to help solve your business challenges nor reach your business goals. An annual marketing plan will vastly improve your results it will also help you work out goals towards your customers, your channels you use and meeting financial targets. Unfortunately I rarely see this process happening with clients in tourism.
Reviews and recommendations will grow your business if you have frequent and quality reviews. Having a plan to ask, answer and leverage reviews in your marketing will move considerers of your brand to buyers, and lead to future bookings. Although is in not one of the new global tourism trends, it works. This strategy brings potential guests directly to your business instead of direct to OTA's because they learn to trust you.
The Human Approach - You can no longer sell/promote your business only with features and benefits – how you make your guests FEEL is even more important. Consumers have so many choices. – They connect with people that they like, with your story and what you stand for. As the NYT bestselling author Simon Sinek states: "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." Sharing your authentic self and the people behind your business will bring guests to your brand.
The Business Approach - You have a business to run, and you and your staff need to earn a living. This means focusing on the things that drive traffic, improve margins, but not at the expense of the relationship you build with your guests. Developing a pricing strategy and a marketing plan will help you stay focused on these goals.
"The aim of marketing is to know the customer so well, the product or service fits them and sells itself." - Don Norman
This means making choices on the guests you want to attract to your business. The better you understand your potential guest, the better you can find them and connect with them. This involves understanding your guest so well, that you know how to speak to them, and address their needs and challenges. Consumers are distracted with so many stimuli competing for their attention. If you understand them, to and better meet their needs – they will want to work with you. No longer are the days of trying to compete for the attention of every traveler. – trying to satisfy everyone, ends up pleasing no one.
You might find that the perfect guest that resonates with your brand and likes what you do, but they aren't ready to buy yet. You haven’t moved them effectively through the buying journey. Perhaps they are still learning about you, or you don’t know their needs well enough yet, in order to build trust - then to buy from you. A great example of this is buying Facebook ads, expecting the travelers will buy immediately after seeing your ad. Helping them through their journey is critical.
What other challenges do you face and what are your trends in travel and tourism? Maybe these issues all make sense, but where do you even focus? We have an idea. Check out our FREE course: The top tourism branding mistakes to help you get started. Access it now!