Get your online marketing #sillyseason ready!

The silly season is just about here, which means busy times for tourism businesses.

In the last few weeks of calm before the storm, there are a few things that you should do to make sure you are maximising your online marketing exposure over the peak season. You need to make sure visitors can find you, book you & tell all their friends about you. With all those customers around, summer is also a great time to build your database to offers in the quiet season and entice visitors back.

Here’s my top10 tips to get you online ready for summer:

1. Review your website 

Is your content up to date, fresh and inviting, is it easy to contact you from the site and do you have responsive design for mobile & tablet devices. While you are at it, review your listings and images on any other site too!

2. Deliver an amazing experience 

If you WOW your customers they will want to share about you online. Take some time before the rush to review your processes and procedures so that you don’t fall down when it gets busy!
 

3. Make it easy for your customers to share 

Tell them your facebook address, @twitter and @instagram handle and #hashtags. Show them the best spot to take a picture with an amazing, ask them to check-in virtually and tag your business when they post.
 
For some great tips on getting your customers to share read this blog from Tourism eSchool
 

4. If you don’t ask you don’t get

Reviews are powerful social currency, ask for them. If you’ve given your customers an amazing experience they’ll happily review you on Tripadvisor, Google or a booking site. Give customers the options and let them choose their favourite platform.
 

5. Show your customers some love 

 Not only when they are in your business, but also by responding to their reviews. Good or bad it’s really important, it shows customers (esp. potential ones) that you care. Allocate this task and schedule time each week to do.
 
Don’t be scared about negative reviews, deal with the as you would any other complaint in your business. Responding to negative online reviews quickly improves the perception of your business.
 
Need to know how to respond to a review on TripAdvisor – here are the details, with some tips on replying to negative reviews
 
If you do get negative reviews, don’t delete them. Respond to them, take the feedback on board (can it help you improve your business) and encourage more positive reviews from your customers.
 

6. Check your local search listings 

We are all using our phones to find stuff when we are travelling, can customers find you? Check your Google+ Local, Facebook, TripAdvisor & Destination Port Stephens listings. Make sure your business name, address & phone number is consistent across them all.
 
To make sure you are listing on Google+ (including maps and with a business page) go to – www.google.com/business, click on ‘Get on Google’, click on ‘Get on Google’ and follow the prompts.
 
On Facebook make sure are set up as a ‘local business’ and have included your address, this will enable check-in’s at your business and will get you found in local search through facebook.
 
 

7. Work smarter not harder 

Your going to be busy & facebook will probably be that last thing on your mind. Plan ahead and schedule some content to go up everyday. You can schedule posts straight from facebook, use the scheduler tool under the post or there are tools like – HootsuiteSprout Social and Edgar that you can use to schedule across a range of platforms.
If you have a spare minute, curate your content by sharing a post from another awesome local tourism operators and businesses (local photographers can be a great source of beautiful imagery).
Like other businesses in the local area and share their stories straight form your newsfeed.
 

8. Don’t tell if you can show 

Visual content is a winner in the online world, include pictures & videos wherever you can in your social media posts it increases interaction.
 
Try tools like Picmonkey and Canva to edit your photos and apps like Camera Plus Pro, Snapseed, Photogrid and of course Instagram to edit your images (search for them in the App Store)
 
 

9. Build your database 

While you are busy, capture contact information from your customers (name, email address & mobile number) & build your own database which you can use to communicate directly to customers to entice them back when the peak season is over.
 
There are lots of online tools out there to manage your database – try MailchimpConstant ContactAweberInfusionsoft and iContact. Google email marketing service providers and do some research on the best tool for you. Then put a system in place to capture contacts and make regular newsletters a part of your marketing plan for 2015
 

10. Have some fun! 

Summer in in a tourism business can be is a crazy ride – people love the behind the scenes story so share some of the madness with your fans online.