Sharing some simple secrets and insider knowledge
If you have a hospitality or tourism brand or product then you already know that reaching your customers can be one of the biggest challenges. Today, the internet is overloaded with options so it’s essential for your brand to stand head and shoulders above the rest.
It’s all very well having a breath-taking design hotel or one-of-a-kind gastronomical tour, but it doesn’t mean anything unless people hear about it – and feeling compelled to put their money where their mouth is by choosing your brand/product above all the others.
Today I’m sharing some pointers about how to establish yourself as a high-value, trusted hospitality or tourism brand, whether it’s a hotel, Bed ‘n’ Breakfast, tour, destination, attraction or product.
Every tourism and hospitality brand will benefit hugely from a detailed overall digital marketing strategy (including integrated marketing to ensure all of the channels your brand is promoted on delivers a consistent message).
Digital marketing strategies can include Facebook ads, social media strategy, targeted newsletters, new content such as videos and regular blog posts (simply sharing your Instagram feed on your website won’t be enough to significantly boost your SEO).
Make a GREAT First Impression
Getting more customers these days all begins with a good online presence and one of the first and most basic questions you need to ask yourself is ‘Do I have a good website?’. Even if you have the most gorgeous boutique hotel in Vermont (for example) but your website looks like it comes from the late 1990’s, then hardly anyone’s going to want to Ask Jeeves (ahem) if they can stay there.
The website needs to reflect the brand and be easy to use. If it’s old and clunky then guests will assume your services are too, so don’t sell yourself short!
Speaking of short, most people’s attention spans and patience is short so they won’t bother to wait for a slow page to load or search everywhere for an elusive ‘contact’ button when there are dozens of alternatives waiting for them. It doesn’t have to be a flashy website, but it does have to offer a good user experience. This is where a good web designer or UX specialist can help.
SEO Spring Cleaning Time…
You might not need to build an entirely new website, but getting some new written content and tightening up your SEO can help you get noticed, too. A spring clean of your website is a good idea, especially since SEO techniques frequently change in response to Google changing its algorithms.
Some techniques from several years ago (such as key-word stuffing) can now work against you (good news for real writers and bad news for low-quality, bargain-basement keyword suppliers!). Google is now sophisticated enough to be able to identify good, unique content-writing, which will push you further up the page on Google search results. Also, there are new guidelines on what the optimal blog length and format should be (more on blogging later!).
How to Win Friends and Influence People
You might also want to invite journalists and social media influencers to experience your hotel/destination; this is usually a relatively low-cost way of gaining publicity for your hospitality/tourism brand in comparison to the ROI from the amount of new customers it brings to you (and you never know, you might have fun entertaining them too!).
However, who to invite takes some thought because only writers and influencers with a significant amount of readers/followers within your target demographic are worthwhile (as they’re the one that will give you a good return on investment). A blogger might have an attractive-looking blog and frequently write about your niche, but if most of their followers don’t have the time/inclination/economic freedom to experience your brand then it probably won’t bring you much more business.
For example, suppose the blogger/vlogger is at the younger end of the millennial spectrum with followers in their early 20’s, but you run a five-star honeymoon resort in a high-end destination such as the Maldives. Well, it’s not to say nobody of that age could afford it, but the facts speak for themselves: 6% of visitors to the Maldives are aged 18-24 so pursuing that blogger would be pretty pointless versus someone writing for a blog or magazine with readers aged 25-34 (who make up 40% of visitors to the Maldives).
On That Note, Journalists or Bloggers?
A digital marketing specialist can advise you as to whether a journalist or influencer would be more appropriate for your brand; sometimes a combination of the two are best and both bring different qualities to the table/reach different audiences. Magazines, newspapers and professional travel websites are still today in the digital age proven to be associated with prestige, money, accountability and trustworthiness and usually have high net worth clients (think Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s etc).
With influencers it’s much less clear-cut as they often haven’t had media training and aren’t bound by journalistic ethics but some blog/vlog readership statistics can be verified, such as the number and age-range of readers/viewers, so there can be some value in that. Again, these background checks require quite a bit of leg-work, which is where a digital marketing expert can help save time and reduce the risk of getting involved with lame ducks.
Blogging and ghost-blogging
Ghost-blogging can be an excellent way of getting your voice out there. The current SEO advice is that good, unique, new content helps boost your website’s visibility. That’s why many companies have incorporated blogs into their websites; it’s one of the best ways of getting your brand messages and news out, boosting your SEO and establishing yourself as a trusted authority – so you’re killing two (if not three) birds with one stone there! You could hire a content creator/copywriter to write about certain topics, or even get one to ghost-write for you on your behalf, to make your blog seem more personal even if you don’t have time to write for it yourself.
Do you get great feedback? Share it! If you’re getting rave reviews on TripAdvisor or thank you notes from guests, then share them on your website! A widget can be inserted into your website to share TripAdvisor reviews, or you could ask permission from a guest to quote from a thank you letter on one of your pages.
At Ethical Digital, we can help you with all of these things I’ve mentioned, and if you need help in several areas at once we can join the dots between creating a digital marketing strategy, overhauling your website, creating content and much more by assembling our very own ‘A-Team’ for you!