This year, Americans will for the first time spend more than $1 trillion on direct travel expenses, and about two-thirds of that jaw-dropping sum will be spent on leisure travel. Since this week is National Travel Week, and as we are nearing the peak of leisure travel in the U.S. in the form of the summer vacation, we’re turning our attention to summer travelers. Today we’ll be taking you through some best practices for attracting summer travelers to your business via digital media.
With so much at stake, competition for those travel dollars can be fierce, and it’s easy for the game to be won or lost before you realize it’s begun. Getting it right means understanding how travelers make decisions both before and during their trip, and the majority of those decisions are informed by online research and interaction. As you prepare to draw in the summer traffic, here are a few tips to help you keep your digital ducks in a row.
Stay Up to Date
Whether weeks before the trip or from the backseat of an Uber outside the hotel, travelers will be looking for restaurants and attractions on mobile devices. For this reason, it’s absolutely vital to keep your digital real estate ready for an open house. If your website, social media or TripAdvisor listing is way out of date, chances are you’re losing business without ever realizing it. For the vast majority of potential customers out there, including roughly 100% of Millennials, your digital presence is your storefront, and if it looks old, they’re moving on to the next one before you can say “Like us on Facebook.”
What Did You Learn?
As important as it is to gather tons of data through all of your digital platforms and real-life experiences, the effort is only worthwhile if you put that data to work. Chances are that next year’s customers will have a lot in common with last year’s customers. On digital platforms, applying the data is much less anecdotal with solid digital advertising and the ability to create lookalike audiences whose online activity and demographic characteristics closely resemble the customers you’ve already had.
Make a Schedule
Improvising your social media on a day-to-day basis works fine for your personal account, but for businesses, this approach is inconsistent and likely to lead to last-minute, mediocre content. The best way to create quality digital content is far in advance and with careful attention to what you are trying to accomplish. A solid message strategy for all your social platforms, as well as good, quality content to support that strategy, is the best way to stay ahead of the competition. With a little help, you can create and schedule all that content a month or more in advance.
This Time, It’s Personal
Online audiences are skeptical, especially when it comes to advertising. What they would allow even a few years ago would never fly today. The only way to connect with your audience is through authentic, personal content. Keep the sales pitch in your pocket and create something people want to see. A good rule of thumb is to limit your logo or marketing call-to-action to a maximum of 20% of your content. If your video is 30 seconds long, spend no more than about 6 seconds on brand promotion. There are always exceptions if you’re willing to get clever with it.
Find a Designated Driver
Even with good ideas and the best intentions, establishing a coherent and consistent digital presence takes work. Trying to divide this work among your entire staff by encouraging everyone to post and help keep it up may seem like a good idea. It’s not. Find someone who both understands what you’re trying to accomplish and is willing to take ownership. It also helps if they have a very good understanding of the platforms you’re using.
Easy-Mode Digital Marketing
As with most things, if you don’t have the time or experience to manage your company’s digital media, you can always hire someone else to do it. By a striking coincidence, that’s exactly what we do here at CJRW! Basically, we convert your goals into a social strategy and produce all the content – from messages to photos to 360 videos – needed to support that strategy. We package this content in monthly blocks and present it for your approval. Then we post it, monitor it, respond to customers, place ads, gather data and send you a nice report detailing the results at the end of every month. Also, tourism is kind of our thing. Ask around.