This week, we witnessed the historic moment of Virgin Atlantic landing at the Argyle International Airport for the very first time! Undoubtedly, these direct flights present major opportunities to the destination as a whole and by extension, hotels, tour operators and taxi drivers, among others. However, did UK residents wake up to online messaging that would inspire them to travel to SVG considering this new development? If someone in the UK or Europe visited your website or social media platform now, would they see any mention of Virgin Atlantic and what that means for them as a visitor? Is your tour business encouraging the Brits to visit whilst showcasing the many activities in which they can engage whilst visiting? OR are you solely depending on the return of cruises? To be effective in tourism marketing and public relations, it’s critical to understand the process a potential visitor goes through before booking a trip. Here is how you can apply a Google developed framework for ICT based tourism Marketing.
1. Phase 1 – Dreaming – A potential traveller doesn’t just decide to book a flight to a destination. They ‘dream’ and as such, respond most to inspiration. What does that mean for your tourism brand? Personalization of your marketing messaging through customized websites as well as targeted social media advertising. Tourism is a highly visual industry, hence the need for innovation in the online space in this phase. Why? Because travellers tend to do more extensive research online about the destination, inclusive of accommodation and activities after viewing an online video- they watch travel related videos and many of them watching these videos are thinking about a trip.
2. Phase 2 – Planning – If you are planning on taking a vacation, what actions do you take? Travellers are very reliant on online sources when making their decisions. According to Google, 74% of leisure travellers consider the internet their main source of travel information. Are they seeing your message? The average visitor visits multiple websites before deciding. Are people seeing content that will build interest? You should aim to capture interest with the experience and not just price- experience based marketing is a must for any tourism and hospitality brand. According to Skift, more than 50% of travellers do not have a set destination in mind when planning a trip. They’re browsing, price shopping; waiting for the right deal or right location to jump out at them.
3. Phase 3- Booking – How do you convert a potential visitor into a future arrival? In this digital era, the internet and word of mouth are key influencers in the booking process. You should be keeping track of abandoned bookings; just as you visit a website, search and start adding items to your cart and then sometimes when you are almost at the end or you are about to pay, you decide not to proceed, potential visitors do the same thing! But do you know why? According to a SalesCycle survey, 81% of travellers abandon bookings online and of these, 39% are just looking/want to do more research, 37% abandon the booking because they want to better compare prices, and 13% abandon the booking because the checkout process is too complicated. What’s the solution? last-minute reminders and inspirational content that motivate potential visitors to finalize a booking. The security and ease of this process matters because it sets the tone for the travel experience
Candice Sealey is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Ignite! a Full-service Marketing & PR Consultancy that helps businesses/brands to stand out and communicate the right message to the right people through Strategy, Marketing, Media services and Design solutions. She is also a freelance content writer, advertising copywriter, voiceover talent, media. Follow us on FB & IG 784-432-2223 Email: igniteresults