Digital Marketing Success for Travel and Tourism Websites
In addition to our Live Session on SEO for Travel Marketing, we recently offered an online live training session (as part of the "Ecotourism Master Class" program by The International Ecotourism Society) focused on digital marketing, sharing useful website and marketing tools as well as practical tips on how travel and tourism businesses can optimize digital presence - including search engine optimization (SEO) basics, web analytics tools, and tools to track and measure social media success.
See the presentation here: "Digital Marketing Success for Travel and Tourism Websites"
*Originally presented as part of the "Ecotourism Master Class" series by The International Ecotourism Society, Feb 2015.
A decade ago, digital marketing (marketing approaches that take advantage of digital technologies) may have simply meant having a website. Today, however, the field of digital marketing encompasses a wide range of digital devices as consumers find, access, and share digital content in an increasingly diverse manner.
As more and more travelers are searching for travel information, seeking travel inspiration, and sharing travel-related content online, as well as booking travel online, it's become essential for travel brands to build a strong digital presence. That's why, as emphasized in the above presentations, digital marketing is not just about having a great website and using the right keywords; your digital marketing success needs to be built on a solid foundation of quality content and quality customer experience.
Digital Marketing Strategy Basics
Digital marketing success consists of many ingredients - from SEO tactics to analytics tools to social media best practices. While the specific techniques and approaches do matter, they won't lead to meaningful results unless your digital marketing efforts are based on a focused and measurable marketing strategy.
There is no magic wand to solve marketing challenges of all tourism businesses. Your digital marketing solutions need to be in line with your business goals and priorities, and you need a marketing strategy - however simple - that outlines what you do, why, and what you seek to achieve through your marketing efforts.
Here are three key components of your marketing strategy that you should keep in mind:
1. Know Your Audience
Your target audience - and their specific wants and needs - should be at the core of everything you do to market your tours and to promote your destinations. Evaluate your current digital marketing performance - whether it's search, email or social media - by asking yourself if you’re asking the right questions about your online content and digital presence, from the perspective of the traveler.
Part of knowing your audience is understanding the "customer journey" taken by travelers as they interact with your brand over time through different channels. (Source: Online Travel Booking Trends Infographic, TrainingAid)
2. Track Your Performance Based on Consistent Indicators
Achieving a digital marketing success does not mean you work towards a certain target number and are done once you reach that point. You need to consistently track and monitor your performance, and improve your approaches. To do that, you need a consistent way of measuring your performance.
3. Focus On & Prioritize Goals That Matter
The ultimate goal of your digital marketing efforts is to achieve your conversion goals (the goals that you set - and specify in your marketing strategy - for the specific actions that you want your site users to take), such as newsletter signups and online purchases. Focus on the results that are meaningful to your conversion goals, rather than getting hung up on “vanity metrics”.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Tourism Businesses
During both of the above online training events, many participants asked questions around website tools and marketing tactics that small (and/or new) tourism businesses can utilize and benefit from. For example, is blogging helpful? Does it make sense to invest in paid SEO services? How can you build trust and authority when you’re new and not yet known?
In addition to the general advice about the importance of building a solid foundation with a targeted and measurable marketing strategy - including specific approaches to tracking and measuring performance based on actionable data - there are many solutions, tools and tactics available to small businesses, from short-term quick fixes to long-term strategic actions.