Effective PR and Marketing for tourism businesses is essential if they want to be noticed.
If you run any kind of tourism business, we offer a few helpful tips for you to boost your profile.
Despite having Celtic roots, I grew up in England and upon moving back to Scotland it struck me just how unassuming the Scots are. Whilst a humble nature can be an enviable trait, too much modesty isn’t good for business!
If you run any kind of SME, particularly within the tourism sector, you simply have to find the courage to shout about what sets you apart from the competition. In this digital era, the channels are there aplenty, but you need to find the confidence and skills to maximise their potential. A robust PR and Marketing strategy is essential and whilst there are no concrete guarantees with PR, the one guarantee is that if you don’t embrace it, someone else will and will almost certainly gain the edge.
When looking ahead at your strategy, here are some key recommendations:
- Enter Awards
Work out a calendar of relevant awards and get entering! A shortlisting, and especially a win, offers excellent promotional value and free advertising.
Recognition also inspires customer confidence and further boosts your credibility. Likewise, Award ceremonies themselves are great for networking, expanding relationships and picking up tips.
Last, but by no means least, both you and your staff are likely to feel motivated by recognition for your hard work.
- Good Quality Content
Remember that in this digital age, top notch content is critical. Invest in some quality photography which you can then use across a multitude of channels from your own website and literature to Facebook and Instagram.
Videography is also becoming more and more essential (statistics abound but very striking is that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it on video compared to 10% when reading it) and, perhaps at a faster rate than photography, amateur footage is becoming increasingly acceptable. Would potential customers be interested in seeing first-hand the hospitality, adventures or accommodation that you offer on video? The chances are the answer is yes!
Think a little out of the box – perhaps what you offer would lend itself to some time-lapse videography or drone footage to really show it off.
- Social media
Time is always of the essence but use as many platforms as you can manage and choose them according to who your target demographic is.
Make sure you post regularly and don’t set up an account which then lies dormant. If you are clever, you can link social media platforms, meaning that you only need to post once to achieve greater outreach.
Remember to link back to your own website (or wherever bookings are taken) so that your efforts stand the best chance of leading to sales. It sounds daunting but using basic social media analytics helps you to ascertain which types of posts work best and therefore which to replicate.
When it comes to social media, INTERACTION and not numbers are king! Read up on hashtags (and befriend them!) and make sure that you are mentioning (and thanking) happy customers, businesses which supply you, other local businesses etc., always giving them interesting snippets of information when you engage.
Bury that modesty again and don’t be afraid to follow useful people (known in the trade as ‘influencers’) – key bloggers or journalists can be extremely useful, so tag them in any relevant posts or perhaps invite them along to experience what you offer. It will be well worth the effort if they re-post to their 10,000 followers, or take you up on an offer, and yet you have lost nothing if they don’t.
- Embrace the Seasons
Your business is seasonal so work with that and don’t be lazy about changing website images and copy frequently as this can also help with search engine optimisation.
Make sure that you promote any seasonal offers or discounts on all possible media platforms, websites and mailshots, and think about running seasonal campaigns.
- Never Forget
Your USPs are your key to success, whether they are based on location, scenery, food and drink, service, quality, equipment etc. tourism businesses need to shout about what sets them apart from the crowd.
If you plan (don’t start thinking about 2018 in January!), using your UPSs to create your key messaging, you can develop a strategy that is as simple or as detailed as you like and which then gives structure to how you use your marketing time.
Think about anything else you could take advantage of, such as member benefits of organisations or associations you belong to, and ask them how you could help them (perhaps offering a competition prize?) and then how they can help you (by offering feature pieces, interviews or adverts).
Finally, perhaps most important of all is to remember that if you have anything new or interesting happening, however small, SHOUT about it! Other people are far more likely to shout about you if you start the chorus!
Contributed by Anna Davies, Scene & Herd Director and Co-Owner.
Scene & Herd specialises in all aspects of rural communications from traditional public relations to digital marketing and everything in between. Contact us for an informal chat.