As digitisation increases, so does online competition for tours, activities and attraction operators. While it is becoming harder to stand out in the crowd, Arival’s Distribution Landscape report shows that it is more important than ever to try, especially with a 12% increase for attractions and a 14% increase for tours in mobile bookings.
As the online booking trends show no signs of slowing down, we are sharing the marketing tips that can improve your online presence, drive more sales, and create a loyal audience of travellers ready to purchase.
1. Use Visual Storytelling to Boost Engagement
With destination marketing, visual storytelling allows you to show off the beautiful destinations and options travellers have when they visit you. And keeping this content in short form makes it extra ‘shareable’. 10-30 second videos on YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram can increase discoverability and showcase what’s on offer. Sharing views can increase both reach and engagement more than structured business posts.
Short-form video content and imagery on social media can also boost engagement because it encourages user-generated social posts which act as social proof with real people and authentic experiences. These build trust and loyalty to your brand because nothing is better in marketing than a happy customer sharing their expertise.
Bonus Tip: Create ‘Insta-worthy’ opportunities in-destination using frames, photo cut-out boards, or key lookouts with a view. Make sure to have your brand hashtag and social handle printed, so travellers know to tag you in their story.
2. Capitalise on Relevant Platforms
97% of Gen Z consumers rely on social media as their top source of shopping inspiration. So, companies targeting a younger audience should start leveraging platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, Gen Z’s platforms of choice. Arival’s Douglas Quinby agrees and has suggested tours, activities, and attraction operators leverage Tik Tok to appeal to younger consumers.
But it is important to remember that the right platform is where your audience is, so if you are trying to attract 70-80-year-olds for a coach tour, Tik Tok is not necessarily the way to go.
3. Focus on Providing Value
There is no point in producing content for the sake of it because you are wasting money and resources. When you know your audience, it will be easier to determine the content they are interested in, but it has to provide value to travellers or those interested in your products.
Instead, figure out how much your ideal traveller knows about your product or destination and create appealing content. For example, if they are frequent visitors, highlight ‘secret spots’ off the beaten track or sneaky ways to get a deal few people know. On the other hand, if you are appealing to first-time visitors, content around frequently asked questions or essential tourist basics would be more valuable for them.
Remember, creating high-quality content can establish your brand as a legitimate source of information, which helps build a following and loyalty.
4. Drive Traffic From Google (Without Ads)
Travel searches online are booming; a considerable portion of this is through Google Search. For example, query growth on Google for ‘vacation rental’ has increased by 37% compared to pre-pandemic, while ‘beaches and islands’ have grown by 27%. Therefore operators need to be front and centre of the search list. But you don’t necessarily need ads to do this anymore.
Google’s latest ‘Things to do’ program allows operators to appear in search and get direct bookings without the need for an intermediary or pay-per-click/commission pricing. Livn is an official global connectivity partner that shows travellers you are the ‘Official Site’ to book from and puts you on the list against online travel agencies without needing their ad budget.
To leverage Google’s ‘Things to do’ program, learn more here: https://go.livn.world/register
5. Engage Throughout the Customer Journey
Gone are the days when tours, activities and attraction operators needed to bounce travellers through intermediaries to book. Not only did this lead to a disjointed customer journey, but it was expensive and didn’t allow operators to retain the customer data. With Google’s ‘Things to do’ program, operators can regain control of the customer journey to get a streamlined booking process with a consistent brand experience.
Remember, engagement does not just happen on social media. Timely responses across all channels and touchpoints make travellers feel important as customers. And when they have this experience, they will keep returning for more. It will also be easier for them to refer you to their friends and families.
6. Optimise and Update Your Google Business Profile
Because Google’s ‘Things to do’ will direct customers to your business profile, you have to ensure it is optimised and up to date as a program prerequisite. Accuracy adds to the positive customer experience, impacting your sales and allowing you to communicate vital information like opening hours or service changes.
Here are some of the things you can do to optimise your profile.
7. Use Your Website to Your Advantage
With more traffic and direct bookings, it is essential to think of your website as a storefront. Potential customers will need to get all the information they need before booking in a user-friendly way.
Clear messaging and a specific CTA (call-to-action) will make it easier for travellers to navigate and make a booking on your website. If unsure, test the copywriting before going live to know what works and what won’t. The bottom line is to make your website pleasing and straightforward to navigate. Allowing customers to find what they need, book quickly, and pay.
There are many marketing tools available that can help you reach your marketing and sales goals. However, it would be best if you had a clear understanding of your business and audience to maximise these strategies to their full potential.
For more information on Google’s ‘Things to do’, register here: https://go.livn.world/register