If you live in a popular tourist destination and have a passion you want to share with the world, a tourist business may be the thing for you. But, as every business owner knows, the key to success is not always as straightforward as jumping straight into things and watching your business grow overnight. Marketing a business in the tourism industry takes hard work, and it’s all about knowing what to do to get ahead of your competitors.
No matter what your goals are for your business’ future, implementing the right marketing strategy can help you to achieve them faster. Don’t worry if you’ve not put much thought into your marketing until now – it’s never too late to get started. If you’re looking for advice, take a look at our 6 sure-fire ways to make your tourism business stand out from the crowd:
Social media is an essential for any growing business that wants to be successful, but it’s all the more important for businesses in the tourism industry. What’s the first thing that many people do before they even book a vacation? They head online, and search for everything they might need to know about the destination they’re visiting: the hotels in the area, the transportation links, and the things to do.
If you can get yourself noticed on social media and reviewing websites like TripAdvisor, you’re already a long way ahead of your competitors. Make sure your branding is really clear wherever you’re featured. Encourage your customers to give you a rating, and with a bit of hard work and dedication, you might even end up as one of the top-rated businesses in your area. Which is the best sort of publicity you could ask for.
Optimise your SEO
It’s all too easy to put your website on the backseat when you’re in the tourism industry, because – and you’re partly right in thinking this – your business is all about the here and now. That said, while a good majority of the customers you’ll pick up will be spontaneous purchasers, you should never undervalue the power of a professional website that delivers valuable content. And there’s no point in having a website if it’s not being seen by anybody.
If you’re new to SEO, save yourself the fuss and hire out a professional who can do the job for you. They’ll help you to get the most out of your SEO potential, handle all the technical stuff for you, and put you literally ahead of your competitors in all the right places.
Consider video marketing
The tourism industry is all about the visuals, and you can really use the beauty of your location to your advantage. One of the easiest ways to encourage tourists to visit your business is to create a clever video that clearly links your business with the location you’re based in, telling customers that they need to stop by at your business while they’re enjoying their vacation at wherever it is you’re based.
Video marketing of any form is best produced by the experts, so it’s worth looking into a local video production company and running through your ideas with them. They’ll have access to all of the latest recording tech, and a team of creative masterminds who can help put your ideas into action. It may just be one of the best investments you make for your business.
While businesses elsewhere might be moving away from the more traditional forms of marketing, in the tourism industry, traditional will always have its place. Don’t just copy off everyone else with flyers taped to the local bus stops and radio ads, though. The more creative and unique you can be with your traditional advertising, the keener people will be to come and visit you.
Traditional advertising is all about location. You need to position your advertising in places where tourists are most likely to stop and think, “actually, visiting so-and-so sounds like a great idea right now.” If you’re a nightclub, look into advertising nearby to restaurants and cocktail bars, where people will be more likely to take up the offer of a night out clubbing after a drink or two.
Deal with the negative
One of the major problems with working in the tourism industry is that one person’s less-than-perfect experience can have the potential to damage the entire reputation of your business. And unfortunately, there’s no avoiding the bad reviews – even if you believe your business is consistently exceptional, opinions are subjective, and there’s always going to be that one person who doesn’t agree with the way you do things.
The key is to handle the negatives like a professional. Try not to let them get to you personally, even if that’s easier said than done. On reviewing websites, respond courteously to negative reviews and take the approach of “the customer is always right”. Offer your apology and defence where necessary – although don’t be too defensive, or you risk coming across as aggressive. Usually, that’ll be all it takes for you to quieten things down, and you can focus on moving forward to better reviews.
Build up a reputation
Reputation counts for a hell of a lot when you rely on tourism for a living. The better the long-term reputation you can build up, the higher the rewards you’ll reap from it. And if your reputation starts to waver, you might really struggle to reclaim that positive image of your business again.
One of the best things about being a tourist business is that you have the potential to be a part of somebody’s amazing vacation experience that they’re likely to remember forever. Providing you give them the exceptional service they expect, you might even find yourself making repeat customers who return to you on their vacation year after year. That sort of reputation will really bode you well, and word of mouth can get you a long way in the industry.