According to an international survey conducted by Destination Analysts, people find inspiration for choosing a destination from the opinions of their friends and relatives first, followed closely by travel content found online.
So, how can you successfully market your business online to stay relevant and in the running? These 8 rules will help you to take your destination marketing to the next level.
Rule #1 - Destination marketing has changed
It’s become personal and based on real life storytelling, this is why it’s very important to include social media influencers in your travel marketing strategy.
- Influencers create highly engaging social media photography
- They have a huge yet devoted social audience
- Their travel logs are personal and useful
- They set the trend for what’s cool and juicy
- They add a new twist to your brand or destination.
Rule #2 - Embrace your brand's story
Focusing on the angle of your brand’s “personality” will allow you to create a visual story that will attract new tourists and customers. One example is St. Petersburg-Clearwater, a beach destination in Florida. On their website they don’s simply list all the beaches in the surroundings: they curate the best traveller photos and introduce them as experiences and stories, in such a variety and volume of images that you want to be a part of it too. This is what needs to be done for all the destinations you cover.
Rule #3 - Connect passions, spark exploration
Create and share interesting content that drives back to your website (curated content). If you have a visitor’s guide on your website or interesting blog posts, share them on your social media. The occasional social contest that requires people to go to your website can also give a needed boost of traffic around key times of the year. Don’t underestimate the value of being the authority on your destination by being the best source of both content and visuals on the things visitors are browsing social media for.
Rule #4 - Make an amazing first impression
Make sure all your landing pages, from the homepage to the blog posts “wow” your visitors with stunning visuals. Some DMO websites are sitting on the cutting-edge by embedding auto-playing videos onto their homepages, to captivate visitors from the get-go. With video, you can tell a high-level story of your destination within 5 seconds – which is enough to inspire attention.
Rule #5 - Take advantage of personal interests
Give people a reason to use your website by creating pages and blog posts around niche travel interests, using influencers with particular specialties to do guest posts. Invite local influencers with particular specialties (like cocktails, artisan burgers, music, etc.) to do guest posts. Offer neighbourhood guides and give a more “insider’s” take on showing the lesser-known spots!
Rule #6 - The human centric marketing
Deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. When you have the ability to understand how the visitors interacted with your brand, where they are on their buying journeys, and what they’re experiencing from your digital channels in the moment, you can offer useful, relevant, personal experiences at exactly the right times, regardless of where your customers may be located.
Rule #7 - Listen (and repeat)
Technology should be used to listen to travellers' needs and give them quick and smart answers to their question. You can learn interests and use this information to provide them the right offers in the right context. The content you deliver today can only be relevant if it takes into account the context of how your customers interacted with your brand last week, yesterday, or right now on any channel.
Rule #8 - Follow the 5 pillars
- Video: increase your inspirational video content
- Discovery: engage the 5 senses in your content conversations
- Social Conversations: engage audiences, get them participate in your content, recognize & reward this.
- Travel Blog: create blogs on an independent web page, run in a professional manner and with contents deployed on social media
- Influencers: make use of high impact posts created by travellers to promote the brand destination.