4 Smart Digital Marketing Tactics Keep Tourism at its Peak All Year Long
This thought leadership piece from Take 5 Media Group, a provider in e-mail and omni-channel marketing, details four tips that hospitality businesses can use to help keep tourism going year-round.
Travel is big business, valued at $488 billion, but that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing. Many tourism markets are on an annual rollercoaster ride, with months of skyrocketing sales followed by dramatic slumps. In some destinations, more than half the calendar year is characterized as low season or shoulder season, and it’s during these times that provocative and cutting-edge digital marketing strategies can amplify a brand and reel in those elusive tourist dollars.
While the number of digital marketing companies has spiked in recent years, few have the experience and creative teams in place to implement one-of-a-kind marketing solutions that actually produce a significant uptick in hospitality sales. The travel and tourism industry has its own set of challenges, including seasonal variances and vicissitudes in travelers’ behavior patterns. While personalization is a key tactic to engage consumers, it is not simple to determine which messages are powerful enough to influence consumer travel decisions.
Here are some effective digital marketing strategies for filling hotel rooms, cruise cabins and airline seats during the slower travel seasons:
Hone In & Segment Your Audience
A digital marketing company with advanced databases and sophisticated capabilities for isolating audiences (e.g., affluent mothers, student travelers, honeymooners, retirees, male business travelers, family vacationers and those with impending milestone birthdays/anniversaries) can segment these groups and personalize their engagement strategies in meaningful ways that are likely to pique interest and generate sales in traditionally slow times of year. Receptive consumers might include, for example, those with smaller budgets, but more free time than the travel company’s typical prime season guests.
Target Locals with Geofencing
Don’t forget the “low hanging fruit” of people who live nearby. Slow travel periods are generally categorized as off-holiday seasons when people are at work or in school and unable to travel long distances for any great length of time. Those deterrents open the door to establishing relationships with locals who can take advantage of a great promotion and enjoy a “staycation” close to home.
Top digital marketing companies use geofencing to successfully engage residents of a specific geographical area. With the use of GPS technology marketing companies can build a virtual perimeter extending several miles around a cruise port, hotel or drive-in market and serve promotional ads to anyone within that radius who is on a smartphone. This GPS technology not only ensures that the right people are receiving an ad at the right time, it also helps build larger audiences through new interactions.
Get Compelling with Content
Anyone can publish content today, but most of it isn’t particularly meaningful or interesting. In contrast, our in-house content marketing team has developed a process for creating unique, highly entertaining and relevant content to enhance brand recognition. Its strong appeal to top-tier publishers consistently delivers double-digit media placements. An entertaining story on superhero travel, sponsored by a student travel company, and results of a survey on drug and alcohol references in various music genres on behalf of a rehabilitation center, are examples of the wide range of Take 5 content that has gone viral in promoting a brand.
On a more basic level, content should be useful. For example, if a destination or travel brand has particularly slow months due to extremely hot weather, content should address those concerns by showcasing experiences that challenge them.
Connect Often through Social Media Content and Imagery
People everywhere are using social media to tell their story, whether it’s an Instagram photo at the hotel’s beachfront, a Tweet about a long check-in line or a Facebook post about the thrill of zip-lining through the rain forest. Hospitality companies can communicate a clear brand identity that highlights their product in meaningful ways to the audiences they want to reach. The second step in that process is retargeting on a regular basis and staying top-of-mind with consumers who have expressed interest. It takes persistence, but the pay-off will make it worthwhile.
With the announcement that Facebook will cut off access to third-party data for ad targeting, companies with sophisticated first-party databases offer the advantage of reaching hyper-targeted audiences through detailed demographic, sociographic, psychographic and geographic filters, as well as past shopping history.
With smartphones, iPads and computers always within reach, there is no question that digital marketing is the way to point travelers in your direction all year long.