Heads up to the Tourism Industry – your window of opportunity to get digitally fit is short.
There is a lot of information floating around and much of it is confusing and based on opinion rather than analysis. Today I received this Boston Consulting Group analysis of the situation. Let’s focus on the good news. China is proof you can beat this virus and there is life at the other end of the tunnel. It’s almost guaranteed that overseas travel is going to be restricted for a little longer to avoid this getting out of hand again, but the lockdowns will pass, and people will be looking to get out and about again. It’s going to mainly be domestic tourism but that’s a good thing with local people looking for new and interesting experiences.
We also know these travelers who have been at home becoming extremely adept at using digital channels. Retired couples have been using Zoom to engage with their grandchildren. Amazon and other online eCommerce businesses have boomed. One of my local merchants sold out of an Easter crumpet and jam online promotional idea in a few short hours.
In short, your customers have high expectations and we know that when these expectations are met you can do much better. Bain and Google completed a study of the travel industry and they found a positive experience leads to a 25 % increase in bookings.
So, what does a 90-day digital fitness plan look like?
First 30 Days – deal with the basics
This means starting with what we call digital hygiene. Here is the plan:
• Is your website ready? More than half of your visitors will come from people on their mobile phones. I’ve seen a lot of sites not yet ready for this. Google has some simple tools so start with that and fix what needs to be fixed.
• Get you site tagging sorted. At the most basic level, that means Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel and if you sell to a corporate market the LinkedIn Tags.
• Make sure your Google My Business is complete and up to date. It’s the start of the relationship with Google and sorting this out means you will be correctly represented in the local pack and the maps.
• Resolve a technology solution to take direct bookings. You need control of your own channel and there are dozens of really brilliant resources.
30 – 60 days
You are not going to sell anything right now, so your key goal is to build a list of subscribers. You want email subscribers because when it’s time to take bookings you will have a list of people interested in your products. Here is the plan:
• Connect an email tool to your website. Most of them are cheap some are free. If you already have an email and collection of past customers, send a friendly email asking for a review on your new Google My Business page.
• You’ll need some sort of value exchange here. That means you have to offer something in exchange for an email. This business is blessed with plenty of valuable content. Say you offer a wildlife tour of penguin colonies. Create a 4-6 page brochure or video about penguins and make this available of your website to people that give you an email address.
• Build campaigns and rhythm using Google to drive search traffic and Facebook to remarket and build interest.
• Use the content you have created in a series of weekly emails.
• Remember your KPI is to build an audience and you’ll count this with the number of email subscribers, Facebook followers and the size of the customer audience on Facebook.
60 – 90 days
At this time, we’re probably looking at an opportunity to start prospecting (fingers crossed). People at this stage will have had a lot of social isolating and will be ready to consider traveling. It’s most likely to be local travelers because overseas bans are likely for a while. Think about your market. What products can you create that appeal to the local traveler? Can you also think of a product that removes some of the risk for the buyer – like “buy now use anytime”? Here is the plan:
• Create some campaigns using Google search, the Google Content Network, and Facebook to build interest in your product. Drive all this interest to your website and make sure your site actually answers all of the questions someone buying online needs to know.
• Look at your progress every week. What did we do, what did we get, can we do better? This is the ideal time to work out exactly what gets you traction. It also gets you into a new way of working and analyzing the results. That’s actually the hard part and it takes a while to get this embedded into your business.
Just like an exercise program, this is going to test you a little. It’s probably a new discipline and we all know how hard it is to actually change our behavior. In order to help you out, we are going to kick off a series of free digital fitness webinars. If you are interested just go to www.tourismsolved.com and ask Bruce for assistance – he’s our helpful pop up on the home page.