Tourism marketing dream

I wish someone would let me loose with the marketing budget for a tourist destination.

A lot of places have nice beaches. What is so good about your beach?

I would spend it on a beautifully designed, SEO optimised, up-to-date website that is easy to navigate and tells you where to stay, eat, shop and play with contact details and Google maps.

It would be a pay-to-play system where tourism partners pay to be listed. In return for this, I would share the site metrics with them and help them develop equally good websites. I would teach them about social media and SEO and the importance of online booking engines. I would encourage them to learn about blogging, Facebook ads and how to encourage visitors and guests to promote them via their social media networks.

Frankly, any tourism business that won’t commit to building a professional online presence just makes everyone else look bad. An effective campaign strategy has no room for amateurs with clip art.

I would insist that participating partners host an agreed number of visiting media every year. I don’t want to waste my time begging for support. Partners would give me an annual allocation of room nights and complimentary meals, spas and activities with black out dates and I ring up and book. Done.

I would encourage partners to host bloggers and social media influencers as often as possible. I would plough funding into supporting media activity of all kinds but especially famils where the participants agree to Instagram, Pinterest, Tweet, Facebook and blog about their experiences. If they’re Chinese, let’s look at Sina Weibo and Renren. Subsequently, tourism business would need to offer free, reliable wifi so that visitors can get online without any dramas.

I would engage with niche markets using their language, communication style and peer networks. There is no such thing as mass market any more. The rise in niche publications, special interest blogs and tailored touring options is testament to the fact that people don’t want be treated like part of the faceless flock.

Which brings me to the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) market. Marketers and partners need to be creative, be efficient and tailor pitches by industry and culture. Don’t go pitching the wine degustation to Arabs and don’t think that you’re meeting their end of week deadline by sending through a prop at 5pm on a Friday.

To summarise, the three keys to tourism marketing success are:

–          Practical, optimised web presence with booking capabilities

–          Openness to new media and generosity with hosting

–          Creating targeted programs for niche markets that are culturally sensitive

What do you want to see happen in the world of tourism marketing? What tools would make your life easier?

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