Tourism Marketing Strategies for 2021 and Beyond
The tourism industry is one of the most heavily affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020 and even 2021 so far. Many travelers were confined home due to the travel restrictions placed by governments all around the world, and even as quarantines begin to be lifted, many travelers are still wary of returning to the previous travel habits from the pre-pandemic days.
Thus, if they want to survive, travel and tourism businesses really need to be creative with their marketing strategies to attract more customers and stay ahead of their competition.
Also, 2021 travel marketing campaigns should incorporate elements of health and safety besides the usual messages like convincing customers to have a new experience in their destination countries.
Looking for ways to improve your tourism marketing campaigns but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place.
Here, we will share some of the effective tourism marketing strategies for 2021 and beyond and how they can help your tourism business.
Without further ado, let us begin.
1. Narrow down your focus and identify your target customers
The first, and arguably the most important thing you need to do is to identify and understand your ideal customers.
While it might be tempting to target as many people as possible, it’s best to remember that we can’t please everyone, and it’s typically better to narrow down our focus to target a selective target audience.
Why? Different demographics travel differently. Single millennials might have different travel destinations and travel habits compared to those who travel with their families. So, by narrowing down our focus, we can plan more personalized and targeted marketing campaigns to maximize conversions.
So, decide on a target audience, and try to know as much detail as you can about your ideal customers: what motivates them to travel? Where typically do they find information about their destination? How do they prefer to book their trips? What are their typical obstacles? And more.
2. Have a professional-looking website
It’s very important for a travel and tourism business to have a professional-looking website as a foundation of all your digital marketing efforts.
Also, even if you already have significant followers on social media networks, your social media profiles are not sufficient replacements for a website. Your customers will visit your website to check whether you are a credible business, so it’s very important to optimize it frequently.
Make sure your site loads fast and is mobile-responsive. Make sure it’s frequently updated (both in terms of your content and design/function).
Also, make sure to integrate a functional online booking system (more on this later).
3. Leverage your social media marketing
In this social media age, it’s definitely obvious to market your business on social media where your target audience is.
However, everybody else also markets their business on social media, and if you are not doing something different, you won’t be able to gain your audience’s attention amidst all the noises.
So, how should you do your social media marketing?
Instagram is definitely an obvious choice, being a visual platform ideal to showcase travel destinations. 75% of Instagram users will take action after interacting with a post from a business. So, be active and post your content regularly at the right time.
Consider investing in paid advertising, not only on Instagram but also on other social media platforms where your target audience is.
4. Smart email marketing
Contrary to popular beliefs, email marketing remains very effective as a marketing channel even amidst all the newer technologies and marketing channels.
Your email database is going to be the most valuable digital asset of your travel business. If you don’t have an email database yet, it’s time to start building one. The most effective way is to level up your content marketing game and offer a gated content for free on your website, in exchange for their email address.
Use email marketing to promote new trips to existing customers, as well as to nurture new prospects until they are ready to book their trips.
5. Optimize online booking experience
As you can see, it’s already difficult and challenging to attract more potential travelers to your website and social media. The last thing you’d want is for them to bounce from your website just because they can’t easily book their trips.
You should integrate a reliable and functional booking system into your website, and you should choose a tour booking software that is specifically designed for travel and tourism businesses to ensure a seamless booking process and positive user experience.
Your booking solutions should offer:
- Reliable online payment processing with good payment options (mainly credit card, PayPal, and debit/cash)
- Inventory database
- Real-time, seamless booking process 24/7
- No extra and hidden fees
- Tracking and booking management to eliminate no shows, double bookings, and other issues
6. Pay attention to health and safety information
In this post-pandemic situation, potential travelers will be more concerned about the health and safety information of their destinations.
Make sure information about health and safety is readily available when promoting any trips, like local measures against COVID-19 in the destination country. Be wary about the potentially wide variations of health and safety regulations and healthcare privacy laws in different countries.
So, you should also stay up-to-date with the health and safety-related information from your government, governments in destination countries, and other relevant parties.
7. Local SEO
As a tourism business mainly targeting local customers, you should also optimize your ranking on Google Maps. You should perform Google Maps SEO for queries like “travel agents near me” or “tour agents near me”, and you can do it by following these four steps.
- Claim and verify your Google My Business listing
- Optimize your listing. Focus on providing accurate and complete information for potential travelers
- Built local citations by listing your business in relevant directories for your city and in the travel industry
- Get more (positive) reviews from existing customers, on Google Maps and other relevant review sites.