Marketing for Tourism: The Biggest Mistakes

3 January 2024

By: Sagittarius

Category: Blogs

The tourism sector is soaring. More and more people are looking for their escape from reality heading into the new year, with a spokesperson for Allianz Travel reporting they “expect that 2024 will set a new record.” But despite the customers being out there hungry for adventure, some tourism brands are still failing to use effective marketing strategies to engage these travellers, making common mistakes that could cost them enormously. We spoke to our Experience experts about some of the key reasons marketing for tourism fails and some of their ideas to help overcome these.

Neglecting Digital Presence

Even some of the most popular tourism websites are still failing some basic best practice tests, with poor website design, ineffective multi-channel marketing and inadequate SEO strategy, all essential in marketing for tourism. 

With 67% of consumers expected to book online in 2024, travel brands need to ensure their digital experiences are up to standard and making the most of every impression, click and sale. A well-crafted website, engaging social media profiles, and strategic use of online advertising are essential components of a successful digital strategy.

Marketing for Tourism

Ignoring Mobile Optimisation

As travellers increasingly rely on mobile devices, failing to optimise marketing efforts for mobile platforms is a significant oversight. With total online sales peaking at 62.5% on desktop and 37.5% on mobile, (end 2022) we can see that whilst desktop remains the preferred device, mobile has increased since 2021. 

Websites, emails, and advertisements that are not mobile-friendly can lead to a frustrating user experience, ultimately driving potential customers away. You can also lose ranking in search engines as they continue to give preference to sites which are mobile-friendly. Embracing a mobile-first approach ensures that your marketing for tourism content is accessible and appealing to users on various devices.

Overlooking Target Audience Research

One-size-fits-all marketing rarely works in any industry and is especially useless in the tourism industry. Customer’s wants and preferences

 change rapidly, with trending destinations altering from one year to the next, and external factors like finance, global issues and trends influencing decisions. 

Neglecting regular thorough research into your audience demographics, and behaviours can result in campaigns that miss the mark. 

Fortunately, most tourism brands are sitting on a goldmine of data and insights just by looking at the activity on their website. Consider looking at the onsite search history of your customers, what products or experiences people are bundling together, and popular customer journeys. Setting up data dashboards like the one below for one of our clients can help you understand what is working and what is now. 

If you need help analysing your data and truly understanding how to make the most out of your websites, speak with our Experience consultants. 

Lack of Storytelling

Tourism is not just about destinations; it’s about experiences. Storytelling continues to rise across all forms of digital marketing and is consistently the most engaged form of content marketing for tourism. Failing to incorporate storytelling into marketing efforts robs a brand of its ability to connect emotionally with potential travellers. 

Fortunately for tourism brands, travel content is some of the most viewed on the internet, and with so many beautiful destinations, experiences and hospitality establishments right within your grasp, brands can create content that inspires customers to head somewhere new.  

Compelling narratives, user testimonials, and immersive content that paints a vivid picture of the travel experience can set a brand apart. Take a look at how we helped SkiWeekends improve their site engagement through storytelling.

Disregarding Social Proof

Word of mouth remains a potent force in the tourism industry. Ignoring the power of user-generated content, reviews, and testimonials is a missed opportunity. A staggering eighty-six percent of people (and 92 percent of Gen Z) said they’ve become interested in a specific location after seeing user-generated content. 

Integrating social proof into marketing strategies builds trust and credibility, influencing potential travellers’ decisions and fostering a positive brand image. Focus on collecting reviews from satisfied customers who are more likely to influence other travellers than your word alone.

Marketing for Tourism

Inadequate Monitoring and Adaptation

As with all sectors, marketing strategies change rapidly and often without warning, so brands must evolve accordingly. Failing to monitor campaign performance, gather feedback, and adapt to emerging trends can lead to stagnation. We often hear brands claim they monitor their data, but find that the information they’re working on is only the tip of the iceberg. Additionally, testing your marketing for tourism strategies is critical. As small as tweaking the colour of a hero image on your website to a full messaging change, testing is the pinnacle of a good marketing campaign and tourism brands cannot hope to keep up without this. 

Regular analysis and a willingness to pivot strategies based on insights are critical for staying competitive in the dynamic tourism market. You can also find an enormous amount of additional insight about your customers from this data, which is particularly important with the death of third-party cookies in the new year.

Conclusion

Avoiding these common mistakes is crucial for those businesses marketing for tourism and seeking sustained success. By prioritising a robust digital presence, embracing mobile optimisation, conducting thorough audience research, incorporating storytelling, leveraging social proof, and staying adaptable, tourism marketers can navigate the challenges and create campaigns that resonate with their audience. In the ever-evolving world of travel, strategic marketing is the compass that guides businesses toward new horizons.

 

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