In our online driven world, it is easy to get caught up in the latest social media platforms when we should be spending time focused on more productive and strategic marketing activities.

While Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, WeChat, Snapchat and Twitter can be an important part of a tourism businesses marketing activity, I believe that too many tourism businesses are spending time on these activities without any strategy behind what they are doing or how they are doing it.

It’s time to get back to basics, have a planned approach to your marketing activities and work better together to achieve better results for your destination as well as your business.

How do you do that?

  1. Start with a plan

Yes, you need a marketing plan, which should be part of a broader business plan. You know what they say

“if you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there”

Plans are essential as they provide a roadmap for where you are going and how you are going to get there. Having a plan in place makes it easy to know which opportunities are right for you and more importantly which ones aren’t.

But business and marketing plans don’t have to be massive documents, they can be simple 1 page plans. In the Marketing Essentials workshop, you’ll get a template for a 1 page marketing plan and we’ll get started on completing it for you.

  1. Know your ideal customers

Yes, ideal customers, not target markets. Ideal customers are those ones that you love to have in your business, they love your product and become raving fans!

Consumers are bombarded everyday with marketing messages, to cut through the clutter you need to really understand their customers and what makes them tick.

You need to get very specific about who your customers, your IDEAL customers are – start by listing every common trait that they have – think about:

Demographics; exact age, sex, income, marital status, where they live, employment, family status

Psychographic; values, beliefs, lifestyle, hobbies, interests – be specific, what books do they read what TV shows & movies do they watch and how do they watch it, what keeps them up at night

Once you know all of this, you can be super targetted in both your marketing messages and mediums.

  1. Deliver amazing experiences

With the proliferation of social media and review sites, delivering an amazing experience for our customers is more important than ever. If we can provide our Ideal Customers with an experience that they love, they will become a key part of your marketing team, spreading the message online about your product.

When was the last time you critically reviewed your customer experience – through your customer’s eyes?

Take 20 minutes to do it now:

  • How’s your customer service – think about all the touch points in your business, website, email, phone, social media and in person customer service are you delivering the same level of service everyone, are all staff members delivering at the standard you expect.
  • What about the presentation of your product, do your rooms need a like of paint and more modern furnishings, is you signage clear, how are you staff presented, could you provide more commentary on your tours?
  • Then there’s your marketing, do you have a consistent brand, are you using the same logo and fonts, do you have current, professional photos (with people in them) are you using the same description for your product across all sites.

They are just a few things to get you started. Once you have reviewed your business, make a list of possible improvements and start to take action.

  1. Sell your destination

Not matter how amazing your hotel, tour, attraction, restaurant or café is, it is highly unlikely that visitor is coming to Shellharbour just for you!

Remember what Aristotle said

“The whole is great than the sum of it’s parts”

Visitors want the whole experience and they want you to make it easy for them to find out about it– so tell them about what else they can do in the area, sell them on the destination, give them plenty of reasons to to visit!

Think about:

  • adding a ‘Things to do” or “Places to eat in Shellharbour” page to your website
  • providing your customers with suggested itineraries for their stay
  • sharing about other local experiences through your social media or
  • creating a package together with other operators.

There are plenty of simple ways to start selling your destination – choose one to start and implement it now.

  1. Maximise your leverage

See point number 4 – not only do you need to sell your destination, but also work together as a destination to maximise your marketing dollars

You will achieve far greater reach than you ever could alone by tapping into the marketing activities of you local, regional, state and national tourism organisations. Make the most of the opportunities that are available through Tourism Shellharbour, your Visitor Information Centre, South Coast Tourism, Destination NSW and Tourism Australia.

Some things you could do:

  • Make sure the VIC know about your product and what is happening in your business
  • Participate in destination marketing campaigns
  • List with Destination NSW on Get Connected (it’s free)
  • Host famils for trade, media and local businesses
  • Share on their social media platforms & use their #hashtags
  • Get involved in the Aussie Specialist travel agents training program

The platforms are there for you to use, tourism organisations are looking for amazing experiences to showcase to their ideal customers – make the most of them!

Want to know more about how you go about doing this in your tourism business and get practical tips on how to improve your marketing?

Register for the Tourism Shellharbour Marketing Essentials for Tourism Workshops now.