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Tourism Marketing: 11 Expert Tips to Get More Bookings

By Alana Sly 9 November, 2022, 11 mins read

How do you get clients for your tourism business in Australia (and worldwide)?

The tourism industry in Australia will grow by a projected 21% in 2022. This is following the lifting of restrictions on international travellers in February ‘22. This represents a major opportunity. 

And today, Megaphone Marketing’s going to help you seize it. 

We’re Australia’s #1-rated marketing agency. On this page, we’ll share 10 effective strategies for marketing your tourism business in the new normal. 

Let’s start with tip #1… 

1. Create or Update Your Website

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You can advertise your destination or activity on platforms like Bookings.com, TripAdvisor, and even Facebook. But having your own website lets you control your marketing more completely. It lets you get visitor analytics, control website copy and design, and more. 

What’s more, online marketing is a lot more important now, post-pandemic. People expect to find exhaustive information about your business on the web. This includes photos, videos, the ability to book easily, and more. The best way to deliver is with a website. 

Making a beautiful website doesn’t have to be complicated: DIY website builders like Wix, Elementor, or Squarespace are easy to use. With these, you can create a beautiful, responsive website quickly using templates and with no coding skills. 

Tip: Make sure your website is responsive and mobile-optimised. More and more travellers research and make decisions on their smartphones. 

Other valuable tips here include:

  • Use your website to communicate who you are and what you offer. 
  • Make sure to collect visitors’ email addresses so you can message them later. 
  • Add a blog to your site to share valuable information with your target audience. Use relevant keywords to get Google traffic.

2. Focus on One Organic Social Media Channel

Tourism Marketing 11 Expert Tips To Get More Bookings

Organic Social Media Advertising – posting text, images, and videos to get business – is highly effective in the tourism space. Just don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus your social activities on one or two platforms and go from there.

Instagram is a good place to market tourism brands because it’s highly visual. Images and videos help sell destinations, hotels, and activities – and both formats are native to Instagram.

Tourism Marketing 11 Expert Tips To Get More Bookings

Facebook is useful because of Facebook groups. You can create a group where your customers share travel experiences easily. People with an interest in travel often join such groups even if they have never used the tour company.

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TikTok is a smart choice if you have lots of video content or are willing to collaborate with influencers. People use the platform to find dream destinations – and you don’t need a big budget to have influencers create content on your behalf. 

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On all your platforms, use hashtags to find and join conversations in your niche. Consistent participation in discussions will improve your brand awareness. It will also build your reputation in the industry.  

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In addition, when customers make posts or videos about a destination, hotel, or activity you are selling, share it on your account. People who haven’t used your services will get a better impression of your brand when other consumers share their good experiences.

3. Use LinkedIn Ads To Target Business Travellers

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Unlike holidaymakers, corporate travellers can be a reliable income stream for tourism businesses  throughout the year. As a professional networking platform, LinkedIn is the ideal marketing channel to reach this audience.

With LinkedIn ads, you can target key decision-makers who organise trips on behalf of their companies. Tailor your packages to their needs by creating offers like:

  • Hotels that are close to crucial business hotspots such as convention centres.
  • Destinations that are close to bus and train stations and airports for easy access.
  • Activities for team building events.
  • Hotels with full amenities such as conference rooms, spas, and gyms.

Entice companies to buy from you consistently by running a loyalty program where they can qualify for special group discounts, free upgrades, and more. 

4. Create a Destination Guide

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A guide is one of the best ways to market a destination. It can visually show prospects what your offer is like; it helps audiences familiarise themselves with a location; it puts you out there in front of potential customers. 

Use the guide to show your customers and target audience what to do, where to eat, where to go, where to shop, and where to hang out at the destination.

Strive to help people experience the best of the local life. For instance, point out spots where they can enjoy local food when showing them where to eat. The aim is to make a destination guide that allows visitors to see the location through the eyes of a local.

Make your guide more helpful by highlighting attractions suitable for unique groups. These include families with children, sports enthusiasts, business travellers, couples, and youth. 

Add a calendar of local events, festivals, and holidays happening all year round. Some tourists love travelling to new cities when there are local festivities happening to enrich their experience. Always keep the calendar up to date to avoid inconveniencing your customers.

Use lots of high-quality, well-curated pictures in the guide. Include pictures of everything you talk about. This includes restaurants, scenic hotspots, museums, shopping spots, activities, and festivities.

Tourism Marketing 11 Expert Tips To Get More Bookings

If you have the budget, consider creating a video or image destination guide. Turn it into bite-sized content on social media platforms, use snippets in ads, etc. Or just make destination videos (our next point) alongside a guide. 

5. Create Immersive Destination Videos

Showing prospective customers what your destination offers is better than telling them. Australians love video content; 88.1% online videos and 34.5% watch vlogs. 

Your videos should be immersive, showing destinations or even entire areas. Feature points of interest such as restaurants, shopping spots, local attractions, hotels, and amazing scenery. 

Make sure to show the most photogenic places for taking photos. This is a hit with millennials and Gen Z travellers. 

Think of the video as a travelling guide that takes your audience through the destination in real-time. Share the fun even more intimately with livestream videos of events, activities, and local festivals. 

Provide variety and make your videos more fun and engaging by using different formats, such as 360-degree videos and aerial videos.

Also, share the videos on your social media and website to reach as many potential customers as possible. Videos get more engagement than other content types on social media, so they’re a great way to market your destinations.

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6. Accept Online Bookings

Nowadays, most travellers book hotels, flights, and vacations online from the comfort of their homes. This is especially true post-pandemic. Integrating automated online bookings into your website is essential. 

With an online booking system, customers do not need to contact anyone at your business. This is important for millennials and Gen Z’ers, many of whom do not like phone calls

Another benefit? An online booking system is open 24/7; important for Australia, where many arriving tourists live in time zones different to you. 

In short, modern customers expect online bookings. Online booking software is widely available. Make sure to integrate it into your website. 

7. Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews

A previous study by Capterra shows that 98% of Aussies check reviews when deciding on brands to engage with. You want to rack up as many reviews as possible on review platforms like TripAdvisor, Google, and Yelp. 

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But having an account on review platforms is not enough. Most customers don’t leave reviews. That’s why it’s important to remind customers who have a positive experience with your products to write reviews for your business.

Some ideas:

  • Ask people to leave a review in follow-up emails, on social media, and by sharing QR codes. 
  • Use call-to-actions on receipts, menus, and invoices. 
  • On your website or app, use automatic pop-ups to ask for a review at the end of a transaction.

Remember to time your requests for reviews properly. While some customers can provide feedback shortly after completing a transaction, others take longer because of the nature of their purchase. 

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For example, with customers who have bought a vacation package, wait until their travelling is over to ask for a review. Just don’t wait too long – ask when the experience is over, but still fresh in their minds.

Another way to encourage customers to review your brand is by sending a short survey. In the end, ask them to leave a review. Conducting a customer experience survey shows them you care about providing quality tour services. This encourages them to write a review.

Once you get reviews, always engage with them. This applies to both positive and negative reviews. 

Replying to both shows your target audience you care about what your customers have to say. It also assures them that you take steps to improve experiences for those who had complaints. This can go a long way in improving your brand reputation.

8. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a lucrative marketing strategy for travel businesses. Use influencers to promote destinations, hotels, and activities. 

The ideal influencers to collaborate with in the tourism industry are travel bloggers and vloggers. These are content creators who share their travelling experiences with their audience.

An example of influencer marketing in tourism is when you sponsor an influencer to go on a vacation at a particular destination, in exchange for them highlighting the visit. Content can range from videos, photos, and articles.

When selecting an influencer to promote your products, choose one whose audience matches your target market. 

For example, some influencers love exploring hiking trails, while others travel to discover historic sites. Use the hiking enthusiast to promote hiking destinations or activities and the history lover for historical sites. 

Pursue influencer marketing on social media platforms by targeting influencers with sizable audiences. A good engagement rate is also important.  

TikTok influencer marketing with nano and micro-influencers can be the most affordable and rewarding for small and medium sized tourism enterprises. 

The platform’s unique algorithm makes it easy for users with a low follower count to go viral as long as they create engaging content.

9. Email Marketing

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Email marketing has an ROI of $42 for every $1. Studies have singled out email marketing as the digital marketing strategy with the highest ROI. The tourism industry is no exception.

When potential customers visit your website to check out your offers or blog content, invite them to opt into your email list before they leave. Provide a few details about why joining your email list is a good idea. 

For example, let them know that by joining your list, they’ll get alerts for special discounts, free travelling guides, and access to other valuable resources. 

Email marketing has a high success rate because the people who opt in to your list are already interested in your brand. Once they have joined your list, it’s up to you to target them with content that could encourage them to do business with you. 

One way to get this right is by segmenting your email subscribers into target groups. Group them based on their demographics, past purchases, geographic area, survey answers, and personal interests. 

This helps you send emails with personalised offerings valuable to each of your subscribers without having to write a unique email to everyone, which might not be sustainable.

Above all, email marketing is one of the best ways to retain your customers. By maintaining communication with them and delivering valuable content to their inboxes, you keep your brand on top of their mind. When they need to travel again, they are likely to choose your brand. 

Lastly, you can use your email marketing to generate website traffic by sharing links to the latest content on your blog. Include a visible call-to-action inviting your target customer to check it out.

10. Smart Targeting with Facebook and Instagram Ads

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Facebook and Instagram have a decent ad reach, with the former having a reach of 63.6% of total internet users in Australia and the latter a reach of 54.0%.

To get the most out of these social advertising platforms, use smart targeting that allows you to reach users with the highest potential of using your travel and tour products. 

One optimised option is travel ads for retargeting. Retargeting ads target users who have already been to your site or app. 

These ads promote your inventory, including hotels, flights, and destinations, to your visitors on all devices, regardless of the one they used to access your site or app. 

To enable these ads, set up your catalogue on Facebook’s Business Manager and then install a Facebook pixel on your site. The pixel monitors visitor action on your site to determine the most appropriate products in your catalogue to show to them. 

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The second optimised option is travel ads for prospecting. These ads target users who haven’t visited your site but have shown intent to travel. For prospecting ads, you can only promote hotels and flights.

Use interest-based targeting to find the ideal prospects for your business. For example, people surfing the web for wedding rings are good targets for romantic getaway travel packages.

Conclusion

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Tourism in Australia is a lucrative market, but it’s also highly competitive. A watertight marketing strategy allows you to get your brand in front of your target audience and boost conversions. 

By making the above-listed strategies a consistent part of your marketing plans, you’ll have a great chance of building a strong brand. 

Your tourism business will do even better if you involve experts with the right marketing skills and who are familiar with the most successful tourism marketing trends.

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