While 2021 will be another challenging year for the tourism industry, the difficulties created by the pandemic also bring opportunities to innovate and adapt.
With demand for domestic travel growing, and vaccinations offering a light at the end of the tunnel for international tourism, now is the ideal time to review your Marketing Plan, innovating and adapting to these five opportunities.
1. Authority and Trust
Building trust is more important than ever as COVID-Safe becomes a mandatory requirement for travellers. Australia is ranking as number one for safety and security, according to a recent Tourism Australia survey, offering tourism operators a unique opportunity to take advantage of the country’s reputation as a safe destination. This is not only important to engage returning international markets, but also to re-enforce with domestic travellers.
First impressions of your tourism business will project an immediate feeling around the travellers 'level of trust' with your business. For many tourism businesses first impressions will be formed through i) a visit to your website and social media pages ii) brochures in tour desks. Now is the time to sharpen up your logo, visual identify and brochures, inject emotion into photography and film, re-develop your website and review your frequency and quality of content on social media. All of these touch points will project a level of professionalism to capture travellers trust through holiday planning.
While an effective way to gain authority and trust is by ensuring you provide accurate information that your customers can locate when they need it, don't allow these COVID-Safe messages to dominate your communications material. For example I often see large red banners across the top of websites with alarming content, reminding travellers of the risks with travel. I recommend a COVID-Safe page on your website with a link from the home page that fits in with your website design. This page will highlight your COVID-Safe practices and also your refund policy and points of flexibility as customers will be worried about sudden cancellations for some time to come.
2. Over 60's Going Digital
Travellers which previously used print and in-person travel services, such as grey nomads and retirees are becoming much more adept at navigating the internet.
Over 60 travellers continue to move into Facebook and Instagram and are becoming more active on internet search to plan and book their holidays. As this high yield traveller may be new to these channels, make sure your information and booking process is clearly defined and explained.
3. Virtual Tourism
A recent virtual tour of Reykjavik which drew over 40,000 participants demonstrates how popular virtual travel has become in destination planning over the past year. According to industry leaders, virtual tours are set to become an indispensable marketing tool for travel operators.
Fortunately, it’s never been cheaper or easier to create your own compelling tours showcasing all you have to offer. Before you launch into the world of virtual tours be sure to set your objectives. Do you want to attract more people to your website, grow your mailing list or possibly tap into another income stream? You need to think carefully about how to use virtual tours to generate interest in your brand to generate a measurable ROI.
With more than 1.1 billion users monthly, TikTok is still the most popular platform when it comes to short-form videos. While still a younger platform the audience is slowly ageing up into early 30's, making this an ideal time to develop a presence. The platform gives tourism operators a great opportunity to get attention through captivating and unique content.
TikTok’s value is in its algorithm which shuffles videos, making them available to users who aren’t following your account. As a result, new users are able to get exposure and even go viral without having to acquire a lot of followers first.
To attract attention on TikTok your videos need to tell a compelling story with an interesting twist. This might include a sneak peak at some behind the scene aspect of your experience, or a breathtaking virtual tour. Make sure to include relevant hashtags and also add your location, as the algorithm makes use of geo-location. Don’t forget to share and repurpose your videos on your other platforms.
5. Collaboration and Partnerships
One silver lining which has come out of the pandemic is a growing awareness of the importance of connection. The collaboration between tourism operators and associations, councils, chambers of commerce and industries around the country to keep the tourism sector going re-enforced the value of working together.
Collaborating with other businesses will give you exposure you simply can’t get on your own. To utilise this strategy, reach out to businesses in your location that complement yours, and together develop a marketing plan to attract customers and cross-promote your brands.
To demonstrate your commitment to promoting your region and other businesses, it helps to actively contribute to online discussions and comment on posts. This will also build your authority.
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