Marketing your Location – Why now and what are you social media options for re-opening.
During these challenging months of COVID-19, tourism has seen a complete shutdown and is facing decreased in bookings due both to visitor enthusiasm and restrictions at least over a six to eighteen month horizon.
MARKETING, some fundamental changes to your online approach, and modifications to your standard practices, may be all that stands between the family venture and success for what remains of the season.
Meanwhile, at least at the time of writing in late June, your audiences are still spending at least 29% more time on social media, giving you the ideal opportunity to BUILD YOUR BRAND online – and be ready to reap direct bookings as restrictions diminish and the tide begins to turn.
It is critical for you, and the tourism industry in general, to navigate this re-opening period as smoothly as possible during the following few months if we are all to “save the season”, as it were.
Like it or not, your digital marketing approach and particularly your digital marketing funnel probably needs attention and recalibration based on the current story for Covid-19. I say funnel, and for those who may not be aware of the concept, this is where the eyeballs at the social media page or website, move through the process of convincing themselves:
- That they can afford and indeed need a holiday this year, at least for sanity sake!
- That it is safe to go on holidays for a week or more
- That should things go awry, a Covid-19 resurgence for example, that your facility and area will be the safest place to be given the circumstances
- That your location is the safe place to go without compromising on the experience
This funnel approach should focus you in considering how to run successful online and particularly, social media campaigns that will convert into direct bookings via your own website when travel opens up again and your client is ready to decide and pull out his or her credit card.
Social Media Considerations
Facebook and Instagram are now essentially one platform and it is relatively easy to send content to both platforms and at the same time, reach different audiences and age groups. A Facebook pixel should be installed on the website for re-marketing purposes but that is getting too technical at this stage. Potential customers will arrive here by accident as they browse and but are open to entertaining the idea of going on a vacation or short trip.
Google and YouTube, similarly, work well together and should be treated as an additional and separate platform. These are both essentially search facilities and serve as another route for research for your potential client. The process is almost sequential and essentially at this stage your potential customer is entertaining the idea of a vacation and looking for more information and a justification for a possible decision further down the road.
In looking at both routes, there is some free access to your client but all have paid advertising that varies greatly on your approach, your target audience and the outcome you want from the placement. You need to be very careful that this is not going to be an expensive commitment which can happen very quickly when comparing Google to Facebook to Instagram and You Tube for example. In each case, the audience and the cost can be very different but that is not to say that each is not a value addition to your offering and broadens your client base.
In terms of demographics you should also consider your offering in terms of age, activities and whether for example your clients will generally come from another continent by air or from another county or state by road. Targeting clients with social media, simply based can be tricky but I have see it very loosely broken down as:
- older clients Twitter 60+ (newspaper readers)
- In the middle you might have Facebook 40-65 (Album and memories)
- and younger 20-40 Instagram (instant gratification)
You will need to verify and adapt your message going forwards and it is a bit of a moving target. It also depends on the algorithm of the particular platform with reference to paid or organic advertising.
LinkedIn may not be ideal for this application and is more B2B as opposed to speaking to your guests – however, saying that, if you do have a business or personal profile on LinkedIn, ensure that your profile etc are congruent with the message of the main business. It may also be useful to be a part of one or two groups on Linked in that may be appropriate for discussions on the travel and tourism generally, to gain and provide support within your industry but avoid the direct sell approach … not worth the expense and very much a case of fishing where the fish are …
Emails etc and Compliance on GDPR /Privacy is critical – this means that you must have permission to add the address to your mailing list … and there should always be an opt out or unsubscribe option on the emails that are sent out to ensure 360 degree compliance.
Timing and International Travel
International and domestic markets behave differently for planning purposes and need an advertising lead time based on one month for the domestic market, and possibly three to six months in advance for international; travel. So, while it might not be as critical for an affluent market, so, for example, an international marketing plan execution must in place by Nov-Dec for Spring 2021.
The messages will be different but the welcome back theme, and the safety message must be similar in order to create the dream for the visitor and avoid creating uncertainty – make it look controlled, adaptable and relaxed.
And Finally – The Safety Message
It is important in The New Normal that your message reflects to a greater or lesser extent, the changing times and their effects on occupancy, critical social distancing, quality of service etc and how variations will work to create and secure a safer and more enjoyable experience for the clients.
Imagery should reflect isolation and relaxation, the experience, without imposing face masks, for example, Your customer be aware of this, will see this message and be warned of local requirements elsewhere en route. You may reming them on arrival, but at this stage you are selling the dream and should avoid showing faces / masks / quarantine risks etc. which may not be applicable for all your customers i.e. national and international requirements may vary – focus on the experience and the product.
More to follow …