Whatever business you run in tourism it is important to be clear about your target customers, your own objectives and to plan for success. Understand your objectives and your client needs and you can plan for growth.
This principle applies to all businesses of course but here are some tips for tourism businesses that will hopefully provide some of the ideas that you can implement easily and effectively.
Research your market
Determine your product offering and focus on your core strengths, target the market sectors that match your product(s) and vice-versa. For example: if you run a small bed and breakfast will you mainly appeal to young professional couples seeking exotic weekend breaks, empty nesters, families or business people?
Are you targeting the correct market?
Research what others businesses are doing in your area of activity:
You may pick up ideas that you can emulate – do not directly copy but use the information to develop your own niche.
Take time out to sit down and write a plan of the marketing you would like to undertake.
It does not need to be complicated – a simple calendar of actions will keep you on track. Remember the adage “Poor planning leads to poor performance”.
Ensure the basics are in place
Swift reactive sales processes, good on-site standards, friendly, professional team effort, if you employ people, train them for the market. If you are a sole trader look for ways to stay ahead and informed, keep abreast of trends – technology, social media, attitudes, business change etc.
Make sure you keep up to date
Think about your target markets, decide what to include in your plan that might be most likely to appeal to them.
Think also about your communication methods and how you might reach them.
Which media are they most likely to use?
- Online News channels?
- Lifestyle magazines?
- Special interest publications?
Include social media in your plan:
The most common are Twitter and Facebook but explore others such as:
Google+ (general contact)
LinkedIn (for business contacts)
Pinterest (for image posting)
WAYN (Where are you now – similar to Facebook for people with common travel interests)
Issue Regular Newsletters that communicate directly with your past customers and potential customers.
They are important because they can convey what you want to say directly but also provide you with an opportunity for feedback. Newsletters also help you to build loyalty, can be used for ‘exclusive’ promotions for the readership, help you to gather opinions and can improve repeat custom.
A newsletter could help to create a stronger relationship with your customers
Manage your reputation
Keep in touch, constant contact, interesting collateral, direct selling, personal contact, news updates. Review sites such as Trip Advisor are an important part of the marketing mix and well-managed, can help you to gain referrals. People are more likely to visit a review site before making a decision to book your service or buy your product.
Employ great PR
Communicate your brand consistently and keep it at the forefront of mind. Use a good PR agency for best results – an expert ‘outsiders’ view of your business can help you to understand more clearly how it is perceived and how it can be managed. Good PR can make a huge difference. It doesn’t have to be costly but can pay back many times over.
Having an outsiders view could help you see it more clearly
Think long term
Today’s ‘not interested’ may be tomorrows ‘yes please’ - build your database and keep it clean.
With other local businesses - think about charity connections, corporate social responsibility, accessibility and joint promotion.
Engage and be creative
Try new ideas to interest your potential clients and don’t be afraid to be different – people respond to enthusiastic ‘tryers’. Ask for their opinion, respond to their ideas. Follow up and follow through.
Create combination offers
Two products offered at a perceived lower price together than if bought individually – e.g. Drinks and food dishes, Rooms and dining.
Implement Monthly promotions
Planned in advance e.g. for hotels and restaurants:
Lazy Sundays – including lunch and late check out
Mid week option – Champagne, flowers and chocolates. Three-course meal with complimentary glass of wine – buy the rest of the bottle at half price.
Do you offer monthly promotions?
Pick up the telephone
Making telephone calls to generate sales is still one of the best ways of getting business. If you have the right contacts, prepare well and call with genuine offers using good salesmanship techniques.
Never give in.
Marketing and Selling is the Oxygen for your business - Keep Trying, Remember that every NO is simply the next step to YES.