Why persona marketing is the key for your tourist destination

Whether guests visit your destination to stay in rustic, canvas yurts under the stars, or pay premium prices to be wined and dined by celebrity chefs and sommeliers — everyone is looking for something that fits their tastes, needs, and lifestyle. Persona marketing helps tourism and hospitality brands define their target audiences and set themselves apart from the competition by honing in on who really wants to visit their destinations. You don’t need to please everyone … you just have to please a select few.

Persona marketing unlocks destination discovery: 

There isn’t a “one size fits all” vacation model. There isn’t even an average standard for what vacations should look like. According to TripBarometer, only 34% of travelers in the United States fall into what is commonly defined as a “traditional,” or mainstream, travel category. The remaining 66% lean toward specialized travel subsets such as adventure or experiential travelers, solo, luxury, or service-oriented vacationers. As a marketer, you simply can’t make broad assumptions about who your target audience may be. You need to get narrow on who is most likely to visit your tourist destination, how they prefer to plan vacations, who they travel with, how they spend, when they go, and what they like. Personas are a great, actionable way to achieve this.

Persona marketing helps brands break away from dangerous generalizations and gain clarity about the demographics of the people most likely to visit their destination. The first thing people often decide when booking a vacation experience is where they want to travel. For this reason, persona marketing can be an especially effective means to promote your destination during this discovery period. For example, Costa Rica has become famous as a prime spot for eco-travelers and nature enthusiasts thanks to the country’s many treehouse resorts, surfing lodges, yoga retreats, zip-line courses, and sustainable tourism efforts. Tourist destinations in Costa Rica can leverage their position within this ecosystem by appealing to the specific personas who find these elements attractive. Knowing – and speaking directly to – the marketing persona that fits this profile allows brands to tailor their efforts to websites, journals, and blogs where viable prospects are already enjoying content. This reduces friction in the discovery process and reduces the amount of effort and time needed to secure a sale.

Tailored merchandising maximizes vacations and revenue:

Once you’ve attracted the attention of a potential persona and have a steady stream of visitors heading to your tourist destination, you can still use persona marketing to tailor the vacation experience on a deeper level. Consider a cruise ship. Cruisers are, in and of themselves, a certain type of travel persona: often, families with disposable annual income of $150K or more who are educated and want to see the world, but don’t want the hassle of planning the nuances of the trip themselves. Yet, within this persona, there are travelers who will naturally fall into a variety of sub-types: those who want to spend every day at the spa, those who want a steady-stream of kid-friendly activities, romantic couples, adventure seekers, water lovers, foodies, and bar flies. Knowing the personas that are attracted to your tourist destination and the nuances of the sub-types within those personas allows you to tailor your merchandising efforts for effectively so you can send spa discounts, dining recommendations, entertainment promotions, and event reminders to the right people at the right times.

Using persona marketing helps you make everyone’s vacation experience feel highly specialized and personal, which augments the tourist experience … and, of course, increases the chances that guests will spend (more) money at your site. In the United States, the majority of travelers cite “treating themselves” as a top priority when traveling, according to the Trekksoft travel blog. They look to sightseeing (53%), special dining (41%), accommodation (41%), activities (35%), and shopping (24%) respectively as the top areas to splurge. Knowing which of these items your guests are most interested in allows you to meet their needs and your bottom line.

Whether you already have a persona marketing strategy, or still need to define who your ideal target audience is, we are here to help. Contact us to learn more about the types of personas that fit your tourist destination. We can work with you to define the market and customer segmentation research needed to build and understand your personas, create a custom marketing plan around their needs, and track the results of how persona marketing can transform your tourist destination.

How video links can transport your tourism marketing to the future

Did you know that 66% of U.S. Consumers watch travel videos when thinking about or planning at trip to inform their purchasing decisions, according to Tubular Insights? And did you know that by 2019, Cisco predicts that over 90% of the internet bandwidth will be used by video media? We’re sensing a trend here. Video links don’t need to be a standalone marketing asset showcasing your property, product, or tourism services: they can be a gateway to your future marketing strategy.

Getting the right content in front of the right people:

Most marketers agree that video content is an emotionally compelling, highly engaging way to reach their target audience. The key to successfully using video links as part of your marketing strategy is getting the right content in front of the right people. A great example of a brand that has done this successfully is Turkish Airlines. Although they only have a few thousand YouTube followers, their videos get an average of 1.9 million views per video (compared to Delta’s average of approximately 94,000 views per video). These statistics didn’t happen by accident. In addition to crafting highly shareable, entertaining (yet educational) content, Turkish Airlines has used paid video to push its content in front of qualified audiences that then began sharing their content and taking it viral. In this instance, Turkish Airlines balanced content, organic exposure, and paid advertising to create the perfect digital mix. By using new data modeling techniques, such as attribution marketing, you can predict the right balance for your brand to drive similar success.

Video links round out your multi-channel marketing strategy:

Video links complement almost every marketing channel and can be used alongside traditional media such as television and radio, and new media such as social media and PPC campaigns. By using A/B testing to understand what content appeals to your audience, you can create videos that delight and inspire action. Then, simply plug and play that content into your spend based on your channel performance findings using attribution forecasting. Sounds simple, right? It is. If you are new to attribution modeling, click here to learn more about what this new tool is and how it can benefit your business. Well placed video links are especially valuable for tourism marketing because they capture the essence of your property or brand in a way that still photos (that have a reputation for being stagnant at worst and photoshopped at best) and copy (that tells rather than shows) cannot.

BIGEYE can help you understand which videos work best and where to place them to maximize exposure across all your marketing touch points. Click here to learn more about our creative and attribution services and start preparing for 2019’s video trends today … because who doesn’t want to be two years ahead of their competition?

How your tourism brand can benefit from the $70B VR industry

A little over a year ago when the Oculus Rift, the first mainstream virtual reality machine, was released to the public, some tourism marketing brands feared the technology could make travel obsolete. As this technology continues to improve, we beg to differ. By 2020, Tnooz projects that virtual reality will be a $20 billion business primed for the hospitality and tourism industry. The reality – virtual or not – is that machines can’t fully replace the experience of travel (yet) … but they can augment it. As digital marketers, we need to harness this incredible potential to capture travelers’ imaginations and send them to places … both figuratively and literally … that they have only dreamed about.
Use virtual reality to promote a destination or experience:

One of the most obvious ways to use virtual reality to support tourism marketing is at the top of the marketing funnel. In other words, your brand can use virtual reality the same way the film industry uses previews to entice and attract potential movie-goers. Instead of a replacement, consider virtual reality a “teaser” or “trailer” for your property or destination. And if photos and videos are the most engaging content digital marketers have available, then live-action, 3D, interactive experience is probably one level up. More than 75% of Facebook content is image-based; and videos garner triple-digit click ratios compared to text and copy-based emails. This is especially true for the tourism and hospitality industry because you’re selling an experience, rather than an object.

Many brands are already creating virtual reality-friendly YouTube videos and blogs where people who have a virtual machine can simply press play, plug in their phone, and experience another dimension. Virtual lovers can swim with sharks, explore haunted houses, and take in the sights and sounds of world-class kitchens. Each virtual video projects the viewer into their desired atmosphere, creating a truly sensory experience that decidedly leaves them wanting more. The 360-degree visual stimulation makes the viewer feel like they are so close to the action … yet they can’t truly interact with, touch, smell, or feel the environment. Talk about one effective preview.

Use virtual reality to…augment reality:

The precursor and complement to virtual reality is augmented reality. Augmented reality apps allow a user to overlay maps, interest points, photos, trivia, or social opportunities on top of the world around them. When combined with a virtual reality experience, the results transform museum exhibits into interactive experiences, make tourist destinations that are off limits due to dangerous conditions or construction accessible, or allow the average visitor to experience something they couldn’t normally. Think: feeding pandas in a zoo, participating in a rocket launch at a science museum, or climbing ancient, crumbling ruins in the tropics.

In this way, virtual reality can become an add-on marketing opportunity to enrich the vacation experience and create a deeper emotional bond for your visitors. Virtual reality can’t replace the feeling of a massage, or the taste of a Michelin star restaurant; but it can work alongside those experiences to either purposefully contrast them or add extra value to those experiences themselves.

Virtual reality also unlocks non-traditional tourism options:

Perhaps less obviously, virtual reality also allows individuals who otherwise could not travel for physical, mental, or even monetary reasons, to experience something incredible. While an able-bodied athlete might not choose a virtual reality experience over hitting the slopes, someone suffering from an injury or disability may be energized and invigorated by this singular opportunity. Virtual reality gives tourism and travel companies the chance to infuse inclusivity and sensitivity into their brand voice — which is something that provides a benefit to our shared communities and appeals strongly to the millennial purchaser.

For ideas about how your brand could use virtual reality to extend your travel experience, reach out to our creative team today. Together, you can be on the cutting edge of this emerging trend and lead the change in this exciting industry.

The only four things you need to know about tourism analytics

Tourism analytics are a real asset for tourism-based businesses. Data can help you understand seasonal trends, know what your competition is doing, and support your customers’ purchase and planning process. Everyone has suggestions on what to track, what tools are best, and how to link it to your business insights.
The good news is, there isn’t a one size fits all recipe. There is so much data that you can track almost anything today. We want to share the only four things you need to know when building an analytics program for tourism marketing rather than getting caught up in the tools and processes.

Figure out what you’re trying to understand:

First and foremost, decide what you want to learn. Depending on your business model, you might not need to collect every piece of data about your customers. For example, the Ritz Carlton is known for impeccable service, personalized experiences, and white-glove attentiveness. They decided to harness data to their customer management system to track trends in food and beverage, tastes and preferences, and expectations. They use this data to personalize the service delivery experience when guests are on site. You might decide you’d like to understand how your customers navigate between mobile and desktop sites, how long the sales cycle lasts and what assets they need during that time, or how to price competitively in your market. Knowing what metrics are most important will work best for you starts with defining the problem you hope to solve. Start there, and the rest of your data strategy will develop more naturally.

Realize that you can’t do it all:

Focus on the big swings. This is especially important if you are just building your data program. With so much insight available, it’s easy to try to do too many things at once. Work with your data team or a trusted marketing agency like ours to prioritize your data needs based on level of effort and impact. A good rule of thumb is to start with low hanging fruit (this might include things such as site heuristics, quick UX and content updates online, or mobile integrations).

This gives you time to formulate a problem and hopefully find its answer based in data. When choosing what metrics to track, always double check that that KPI relates back to a question you have about your business or client base. And don’t forget to pare down your strategy. To start, choose one to three things to track and work on each quarter. If you find this is easy, ramp it up; but start small to ensure you get results from your investment.

Learn and act fast:

Many digital marketers joke that ROI is out — and speed to market is in. While we still think ROI is an important metric to keep an eye on, we agree that action is key. Tourism and hospitality are ever changing industries where customers tastes shift as new trends emerge and new technology changes how we travel and interact with the world. Don’t collect data for the sake of collecting data and know what you want to do with it. Before tracking any given metric, create a hypothesis of what you think might be happening and how you would address it if data proves you right. That last part is critical. If you don’t have a plan for how you want to use this information, you’re simply collecting observations rather than insights; And that won’t help your business.

Invest in the future:

Because you might not be able to do everything at once, it’s important to prioritize your data collection and your data tools. Look ahead to consider the systems you will need in a year, or five years. Even if you opt out of these tools now, it’s important to keep them in mind so you don’t suddenly find yourself behind your competition. Partnering with a data-based agency like BIGEYE is a great way to help prioritize your data investments, tools, and collection roadmap so you are using the data you have and planning for the future effectively (and affordably).

 

No matter what stage you’re at in your data strategy, we’re here to help. Click here to learn more about the types of services we offer – from data mining and trend forecasting, to online testing and retargeting.

Why you need to include video marketing in your tourism outreach

We’ve shared our views on why video marketing and production matters more than ever before and how tourism marketing can benefit from video in the past. And, for our advanced readers who are already on the trend, we want to take things one step farther.

Videos link channels across tourism marketing outreach

When customers receive an email with an embedded video link, they are 200% more likely to click the links. Go ahead, reread that: 200% more likely to click your email. Video is such an engaging medium that it has the power to link multiple marketing channels together and bridge the gap between email, social, paid, search, television, and even print ads. You’ll find your customers seamlessly migrating between your Facebook campaigns and your YouTube channel. They’ll happily log online to see the next installment of a television commercial with a great narrative. A teasing hashtag is enough to make them close their magazine and log onto Instagram. And then they’ll share it all. The reason video is so effective in this way is because it allows marketers to tell a story with their brand and communicate their value proposition through words and images. Video is easy for consumers to digest and also easy for marketers to implement across a wide variety of channels. This winning combo allows you to leverage some great b-roll footage across your diverse marketing efforts to create a true end-to-end marketing experience that customers love.

Video marketing lets you be everywhere customers need you to be

Today’s consumer often starts their purchase journey on one device and ends (or purchases) somewhere else. This is especially true in tourism marketing. Device agnostic marketing techniques are becoming more and more important as customers use their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and televisions to solve everyday problems all at the same time. That’s four screens competing for your customers’ attention at any given moment. To ensure success, you need to be on all four screens. And before you protest and say that this would be too expensive, consider the power of video marketing. Aside from being a top-notch visceral cue for tourism marketing customers, video translates easily across screens and mediums, allowing you to be everywhere at once … Without the hefty price tag to go along with it. Good video production allows you to be everywhere your customers expect you to be regardless of where they are at in your purchase journey.

Tourism marketing is a visual industry at its core

We would be remiss not to remind you that video marketing is one of the most engaging mediums available to the tourism industry. Nothing affirms a customer’s choice in your destination or hotel like seeing your views, exploring your guest rooms, or taking in the sights and sounds of your kitchens from the comfort of their own home. Video helps build engagement and excitement, while leveraging the fundamental emotions necessary to inspire an elective purchase such as a vacation or tourism visit. Video marketing is, without a doubt, the most powerful way to capture your prospective audience’s imagination and entice them to learn more about your brand and commit to their next trip.

Video is a critical investment for tourism marketing

At the end of the day, video is also just a good investment. When you do it right, one long video can be spliced into multiple short spots and teasers, you can pull still images from high quality footage, and edit your roll a hundred different ways to support a variety of campaigns, messaging points, website needs, and sales tools. Old video can often be combined with new footage as elements of your destination evolve, so this initial investment can last for years to come (unlike photos that tend to wear out their welcome in one to two years). Let our creative team of video production efforts help you build a shot list, story board, and video narrative that will adapt to your changing needs across a wide range of channels. Together, we’ll set a budget and production schedule that delights and inspires. 

Check out some of the amazing videos we’ve created for our other clients here and then let’s get started. As we near the end of the year, there’s no better time to introduce a video campaign to inspire sales moving toward 2017.

Augmented reality check: How AR will change the tourism industry

We can appreciate that some tourism marketers are hesitant to fully embrace augmented reality. It has the power to change the industry as we know it. And while we don’t buy into the most seemingly farfetched fears that we might end up in a Matrix-like world in which humans experience their world from behind a computer screen, we understand the sentiment. Instead of resisting this change, we recommend embracing it. Like the advent of robotic service providers that can bring towels, store luggage, or prepare meals for guests (thus eliminating the need for some hospitality roles) – the future is unavoidable. Instead of fearing these changes and risking the obsolescence of your tourism destination, find ways to integrate these new technologies with your existing service model.

Augmented reality can complement not replace tourism marketing:

There are unlimited ways that augmented reality could enhance your guests’ tourism experience. AR can help new travelers decide what type of trip is best for them (Is flying really that terrifying? Is cruising for me? Will I prefer a safari or a ski trip?). It can help them vet destinations and hotel or restaurant choices. And it can tease entertainment options that might seem like a splurge (until you experience them that is). Notice, it’s called augmented reality not alternative reality. We’re pretty sure a cross-continental flight that provides an oh-so-convenience excuse not to check work emails is enough to draw tourists from even the most farflung reaches of the globe. And in a world that is increasingly “on,” experiences are a valuable currency that lets us unplug, recharge, and connect with the world around us. Augmented reality can simply help make the preparation around these experiences more convenience.

Similarly, augmented reality could help alleviate logistic difficulties certain tourism destinations face. Whether your target audience has a language barrier, navigation challenges, or spotty internet and cell service, augmented reality can help prepare tourists for their trip and give them tools to navigate or seek assistance while on the go. This might be especially valuable for the business traveler who doesn’t quite know how to spend her freetime or who is unsure how to get to her next on-site meeting.

Augmented reality is the next best thing to tourism marketing:

That said, for those individuals who simply can’t afford to travel or take a two week vacation, augmented reality can provide a unique paid outlet for tourism destinations to monetize virtual trips to their location. We know, that doesn’t sound all that glamorous; but it is a win-win situation for those individuals who could now take park in experiences that were previously out of reach and for industry providers who will benefit from this trend. In the same way that television hasn’t replaced books or radio, we believe that augmented reality does not need to replace tourism, but can become an extension or alternative. To extend this metaphors one step farther farther: even if we’ve read the book, sometimes the movie is just as enjoyable. A trip using AR doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a physical trip, but it could if you jus tweed the Cliff’s Notes version in a pinch.

Augmented reality can preserve and promote tourism marketing:

If you’ve ever visited South East Asia and climbed through the ancient ruins of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, you might have wondered how long the tourism destination will continue to allow visitors access to nearly all parts of these incredible temples. Augmented reality gives us the tools to preserve historic landmarks that should be off limits to protect their beauty for generations to come. In the most fragile sections of the temple, tourism officials could offer an augmented reality exhibit of the relief sculptures rather than full tourist access. Paintings that are light or temperature sensitive could not be seen, dangerous caves could now be accessible, and so forth. The same is also true in war torn countries where tourism has become less popular due to local unrest. Countries such as Egypt, Turkey and even Israel could continue to promote and share their unique experiences in times when some travelers may be hesitant to visit. And we’d like to think that’s one small step closer to repairing our global community.

Reenergize local attractions with augmented reality:

Even if you aren’t an exotic tourism destination, experimenting with augmented reality sets your brand apart and will allow you to adapt to changes as they occur, while promoting local exploration and discovery. Encourage your regional community to learn about their homes in new and unique ways be drawing them through a historic neighborhood with augmented reality attractions. Make local educational sites more interesting, and promote local businesses by harnessing AR’s navigational tools. At even the smallest levels, AR apps and smartphone pairings can provide new business marketing tools to expose local gems that make your community unique.

We realize that some of these attractions aren’t quite here yet, but they are coming. Prepare now by priming your current multi-channel marketing strategy for the next phase of digital marketing and beyond. Contact us, we are here to help with any questions you may have about this so called, “augmented reality.”

Multi-channel marketing meets tourism & hospitality

The need for strategic, multi-channel marketing has never been more apparent than in the tourism and hospitality industries. Consider these two facts:

  • Two-thirds of both offline and online purchases begin on a mobile device. That is to say that the initial research or product discovery occurs on consumers’ smartphones or tablets.
  • 61% of purchases that start on a mobile device are completed on a different digital device such as a laptop.

When you also consider that the average vacation purchase cycle takes 30-days or more (usually overseen by the female head of household even if she isn’t the primary provider), that leaves a lot of room for your would-be customers to slip in and out of the purchase journey. Don’t let your customers’ natural switch between devices while conducting research, comparing options, and weighing the value of this large-scale purchase, all the while marching through this long-tail sales experience be a recipe for missed opportunities.

Leverage multi-channel marketing in the tourism industry:

Instead, use this reality as an opportunity to create a tailored, multi-channel marketing strategy that blurs lines between devices to enhance – rather than fracture – the shopping experience. According to Forbes, “the vast majority of media interactions are screen-based and so marketing strategies should no longer be viewed as ‘digital’ or ‘traditional’”. And we couldn’t agree more. People are constantly consuming media from their smartphones, computers, email inboxes, televisions, and radios. Trying to keep them separate or hoping to shepherd customers through one, sole channel is simply not realistic.

Tourism marketing hinges on our ability to translate the perceived value of a wholly emotional purchase, which is why it is especially important to reach your customers at exactly the right moments. Retargeting, campaigns that encourage device switching (such as a contest that draws customers from a television spot to your Facebook page), or carefully placed emails and banners can all make this task easier.

Invest smarter, not harder in tourism marketing:

Creating a strategy that touches the most likely places your customers will be starts with data. Most marketers can’t be everywhere at once, so it’s important to invest in the right channels at the right times so your messaging reaffirms your brand values and the unique experience your destination affords. Your local Orlando marketing agency can help with that. There’s no need to reinvent (or reinvest in) the wheel when agency partners like us have access to a wealth of market and behavioral research that can guide and direct these types of decisions.

Make decisions that maximize your reach without maxing out your marketing budget by observing your customers and competitors. Social media, in particular, is a great way to glean information about what your customers are interested in if you need quick insights. Also consider what your competitors are doing. If you want to take them on head-to-head, plan your budget accordingly. If not, think about where these same customers are congregating that they aren’t.

Multi-channel marketing allows you to succeed in a hyper-competitive world with blurred digital lines and fierce pricing strategy. And it’s much easier than you think. Click here to learn more about the types of creative services we offer and how we have helped our clients bridge their media needs with ease.

4 marketing secrets to increase customer engagement in hospitality

Having an amazing destination or an amazing hotel isn’t enough to keep today’s jet set consumers coming back to your property for their annual vacation anymore. There are simply too many other enticing options vying for their attention and disposable income. But as US unemployment rates drop to the lowest they’ve been in close to eight years and the average wages skip past historic highs, there will be more revenue to go around for everyone. The rise of picture-based social media such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have made it easier than ever for travelers to virtually explore new destinations, plan trips that fit their budget, and delve into new tourism options. As a result, the tourism and hospitality market is expanding – which is good news for you. To remain competitive, you simply need to remain relevant. Hospitality Marketing and engaging with new and existing customers online is an incredible way to pique their interest in your destination and help increase your reach to new audiences. The trick is: how?

Constantly seek new audiences to invigorate your hospitality marketing: 

Use social media to engage new audiences (not just those users who are already interested in your brand) and create a bridge between your tried-and-tested marketing campaigns with your point-of-sale experience. Blog posts, customer references, social listening, contests, and social influencers are all lynch pins when increasing your reach to new audiences. It’s especially important that all your channels complement each other so that no matter how new prospective customers discover your brand, they are receiving a seamless, on-point experience.

Measure everything:

Measure everything. We simply can’t say it enough. Before you generate or release any creative content, consider your goals and what you want success to look like. This will help you craft the appropriate call to action for each activity. With a bevy of data tools to choose from – from Twitter, Google and Facebook analytics, Klout, and HootSuite, to more robust platforms such as Adobe Analytics and Campaign Manager – you can track almost any output in the digital world. As certain channels and entry points prove valuable, you can begin investing more in those areas. This systematic measuring allows you to make decisions in a world where your customers expect you to be everywhere they are … even if you haven’t met them yet.

Intelligently invest in your hospitality marketing:

While returning guests are the bread and butter of any business, they should be part of your maintenance strategy – not necessarily your growth strategy. Methodically invest in high-impact marketing tools by testing new channels and entry points in a way that won’t expose your business to too much risk. For ideas on how to test new ideas that will break through the clutter and keep your marketing materials fresh and engaging without overexposing yourself, partner closely with a creative, multi-platform agency like our team of Orlando marketing experts. Click here to see how we have helped customers like you add new to their foundational marketing plans.  

Pay attention to new hospitality marketing trends:

In that vein, don’t be afraid to try new things. The hospitality industry is constantly changing, and your marketing techniques should reflect those changes. Social media is often a “safe space” to introduce new ideas, survey your audience regarding potential product or service enhancements, and gain customer insights about experimental ideas. The tourism industry, perhaps more so than any other, is constantly changing as new ideas and trends enter the market, so keep up.

Embracing new audiences, setting goals, investing in new techniques, and staying on top of emerging trends are all ways to keep your customer base engaged with your brand and eager to visit you again and again. Our team is here to help create a comprehensive marketing plan that allows you to do all of these things with ease. Give us a call today to find out how. 

5 reasons why Twitter is NOT obsolete for tourism marketing

Despite finding it’s way into the presidential debate, onto national news, investigative reporting, and into our workplaces (come on, when’s the last time you went to a marketing conference without a Twitter hashtag?), Twitter sometimes gets a bad wrap. Twitter may not be the most lucrative social media platform in terms of the company’s own raw revenue, but it does have a unique, indelible place in our social media ecosystem. And this is especially true for tourism marketing experts. Here’s why.

Reason 1.  Twitter attracts tourism marketing experts:

Twitter often attracts specialists due to the conversational nature of the platform. Likeminded individuals and experts can easily find each other using a simple hashtag or searching by specific jargon. Unlike other social media platforms that require you to link accounts with someone before you can interact with them, Twitter encourages open connection and discussion. Top tastemakers and reviewers suddenly have real, human access to the most coveted chefs, destination authorities, and tourism officials. And potential travelers have a front row seat to the conversation (and can even get in on the action). If you are hoping to truly connect with influencers, Twitter is a great place to catch their attention by reaching out directly and engaging with them in conversations where they are already participating. This is especially valuable for new destinations and growing brands because, according to Social Media Today, customers are more than 44% more likely to discover a new tourism destination on Twitter than any other social media platform. It’s where you go if you want insider, in-the-know information.

Reason 2. Twitter aggregates many geo-location platforms:

Because Twitter links to almost every geo-based social media platform (think: FourSquare, Instagram, Facebook, Vine and more), it has become the great aggregator of location-centric marketing. It’s no surprise that tourism destinations such as Greece and Iceland are rising to the top of every trendy travel channel when Twitter is literally inundated with check-ins, geo-tagged photos, and live tweets from these destinations. You simply can’t ignore the slow influx of a certain trend when you see it all in one place. And the more your destination is seen, the more it will be top of mind when your customers are ready to book their next trip. But you don’t need to passively wait for your destination to become popular. Search for trends near your region or in your niche market that might help you differentiate your brand from the competition and run with it. A few years ago, for example, molecular gastronomy took the Riviera Maya by storm. Emerging hotel chains, such as Karisma Hotel’s Azul and El Dorado Resorts, jumped on the trend and began tweeting about their offerings to the excitement of many foodies and tourism experts. Today, they are known as the #gourmetinclusive all-inclusive alternative focusing on good food and inclusive service. What will your next hashtag be?

Reason 3. Communication is the king of tourism marketing:

At its heart, tourism marketing is a service industry. That means that providing good customer service when your destination is at its best – and worst – can literally make or break your brand image. Unlike email (with routine 12-24 hour wait times) and customer service hotlines (that always seem to be experiencing “unusually high call volumes”), Twitter presents an opportunity for near instantaneous communication and gratification. When a flight is delayed or your bags are lost and no one at the service desk seems to be able to help, Twitter becomes an outlet to vent frustrations. When you receive the best massage of your life and simply need to share a humble brag, Twitter becomes the perfect platform to let your follows know sp-ahhh time was awesome. Over 70% of customers who cite tweeting (both good and bad) say they felt better afterward. We believe this is because many companies monitor their Twitter accounts and are in practice of responding to customers. It’s a great service tool for one of the most critical service industries and should never be overlooked when building your customer outreach strategy.

Reason 4. You can let the tools do the work for you:

Some marketers are under the impression that Twitter requires a substantial amount of work because the livestream conversation never stops. This, however, could not be farther from the truth. Twitter is one of the easiest platforms to use when mining customer insights or scheduling content. There are countless social listening tools that tap directly into your Twitter feed, numerous analytics and reach measurement tools tracking your Tweet exposure, and even more scheduling and retweeting tools that allow you to wrap up your content in one neat package and have it sent into the internet at your allocated time. You can even retweet other peoples’ content if you don’t have time to generate your own. Twitter is an open source of information about your customers, your competitors, and your industry – and it’s often free to collect this information. The simple fact is that Twitter makes it easy for you to use and mine insights from the platform, so it would be silly not to take advantage of the opportunity.

Reason 5. Because your competitors have it:

Chances are, your competitors have Twitter accounts. And if they don’t, they should. There is no reason not to have a Twitter presence and most businesses understand that even if they don’t invest fervently in the platform. Thus, if you aren’t keeping pace with your competition, this is a missed opportunity. Naturally, if you are ahead of the curve and your competition hasn’t caught on yet, this is good news for you too. Twitter may not be your primary marketing focus, but posting and retweeting between 3-6 tweets a day (something that could take an hour or two of scheduling for the whole month if you know the types of content you want to expose), can have a real and meaningful impact.

No matter what your reasons are, we can’t think of many reasons why Twitter isn’t valuable for hospitality and tourism professionals. Tourism marketing has a unique opportunity to benefit from Twitter’s influential sphere and to keep your brand top of mind for potential customers. … And as we mentioned in our previous blog post about how to engage customers in new and meaningful ways , this is the key to success.  

Retargeting (or remarketing) is creepy, but it sure works

Retargeting has been described as “turning window shoppers into buyers,” something that every business craves.
But this actually isn’t the best analogy – perhaps more of an overeager sales clerk who helps you in the store, then accompanies you to several other stores, all the while telling you what you’re missing out on.

You may call it a little creepy. The sales associate may call it being pleasantly persistent. Digital marketing experts call it a smart, effective method to encourage customers to learn about a product or business, and then be reminded about it later, and once again for good measure.

For those aren’t entirely sure what retargeting is, the short version is that it’s the ability for an advertiser to “follow” you when you visit their site, and have their ads appear on other pages you visit after you’ve departed. The frequency varies, but it explains why ads reappear for places you just visited on the Web or social media, even though the site you’re currently connected to may not have anything to do with that particular topic.

Far more than mere coincidence, (or in case you might have envisioned an advertiser with an unlimited budget who is keenly aware of the sites you visit), retargeting is a way to constantly remind customers about a particular business.

It also works: according to CMO, Adobe’s marketing blog, businesses typically see a 2 percent rate of people visiting and buying. But when retargeting is in place, all sorts of good things can happen, including a 400 percent increase in ad response, and 3 out of 5 buyers saying they notice ads on other sites. Those are impressive results.

Retargeting also isn’t terribly annoying – 25 percent of people surveyed had a positive or very positive reaction to seeing extra ads, compared to 19 percent who dislike them, and 57 percent who are neutral on the notion of retargeting.

For marketers considering adding the practice to your greater digital strategy, here’s what you should know:

 

How retargeting works

The mechanics of retargeting ads are pretty simple. On your home page or any inside page, you include a bit of invisible Javascript code at the footer. When visitors arrive at your site, your script will send a browser cookie to their phones or desktops. When they visit other pages in the future, the cookie will instruct the page to call and display your ad in one of the page’s available ad slots.

Retargeting requires working with a remarketing company, which usually is a member of common digital ad exchanges, and can help you craft your message. Social media channels like Facebook have their own process for targeting or retargeting, which can include ads on the right –hand column, or in your news feed.

When you establish your retargeting campaign, you’re able to configure how often your ad is displayed, be it every time visitors go to another page; or possibly, every fifth site they visit; when a certain keyword shows up (such as shoes). This also begs the question, “Does that style of ads end if the customer goes back to your site and buys something, or does it expire after a week or longer?”

AdRoll, a popular online provider, has confirmed that different subjects can require different timing when setting-up your unique campaigns. It recommends that people seeking travel info should be retargeted immediately, while those who are more interested in specific retail goods may not need to see these ads as frequently.

Some retargeting services allow you to get even more hands-on in your ad. ReTargeter, another option, said some people prefer self-serve campaigns, where they design all the aspects of their program, from the sizes of ads to where they appear. This may be better for your budget, however it may elicit more of a technical challenge than seeking a full-serve provider. The following include different types of retargeting, with varying strategies for various industries:

Health Care Retargeting

Pew Research study stated that 72 percent of Internet users tried to find health info during the past year. To counter the sometimes “iffy” results on various sites, there are also a variety of useful resources that have a stake in providing searchers with adequate details, including community health providers, along with plenty of pharmaceutical companies who don’t want anyone to forget their product.

According to HealthCareCommunication, retargeting allows health info seekers to do their homework, while returning slightly more educated about a specific topic. For instance, an individual may visit a site for their local doctor or hospital to learn about a particular procedure, and then, in turn, visit other sites to explore the topic further. Following all of this research, seekers will be prepared to be return to their initial site, hopefully with more knowledge.

Providers are advised to include a call to action – ask people to do something – and not have a retargeting campaign last longer than 30 days.

Hospitality/Tourism Retargeting

We’re all familiar with the frugal traveler who goes out of his/her way to spend as little as possible when on the road. On the other hand, there are those who stimulate the local economy with plenty of purchases of food and lodging, car rentals, souvenirs, and other expenditures. Either way, much of a traveler’s research is performed online, especially when comparing prices and making reservations.

If you’re a travel business, Trooz, a travel marketing site, suggests that a retargeting service can help you partner with other related businesses, especially of the higher-priced variety. That way, if you represent an inexpensive B&B, you may still target customers who visit airfare or local travel sites. In addition, you might also consider a service that includes international visitors.

Restaurants, another part of the industry, also have the potential to reap benefits. Restaurantnews.com confirms that those who click on your ads will already be familiar with you and what you offer, resulting in a stronger lead, rather simply than trying to tell the world that your brand exists. Throw in a coupons or a deal, and position your company in an even more exciting manner to fellow restaurant fans.

Retail Retargeting

Here’s where retargeting/remarketing really is a winner. If an item catches a shoppper’s eye, but he/she say “better not,” retargeting gives brands a second, third, and even fourth chance to talk the potential buyer into their purchase. Since so much of shopping can be deemed an impulse buy, a merchant can retarget shoppers by frequency alone, with phrases such as, “Are you sure?”, or, “Are you still thinking about these snazzy boots?” In addition, retargeting can be used to highlight items in an online shopping cart that that a prospective purchaser may have abandoned. With a reminder that the items are still waiting to be purchased, it’s not as difficult to successfully complete the transaction.

Based on the popularity of retargeting, there’s plenty of potential to include it as component of your marketing plan. Some experts warn not to rely too much on this singular service at the expense of other marketing options, but it has the potential to help extend your reach and politely nudge your audience in a desired direction.

Still have questions about retargeting, and considering a potential partner to lend industry expertise to your campaign? Contact our team of digital marketing experts to help close more sales – and drive-up revenue – for your brand.

To check out more of our media planning strategies, visit our Media services page.