Things are going well for businesses in the tourism industry. Businesses are reporting record revenue numbers as people are traveling more. Why? One big reason is due to many of the travel sites, such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Expedia, are making it easy for people to find and book what they want. You can find a place to stay or various activities and tours in the destination you are traveling to. On one hand, these sites are beneficial for both the customer and the business to ‘find’ each other, but on the other hand, it doesn’t come cheap to the business as it has to pay commission to these big travel sites for any bookings received through their portal. This is why, smart businesses in the lodging or tour industry will always be looking for way to get more traffic and bookings on their own through their website.
It is not an easy thing to compete with those billion dollars companies, and ignoring them may not be the best strategy either. These travel sites can certainly help your sales, but it is also essential for your businesses to maintain a certain independence in order to reduce risks, be in control, and make more money with each reservation. You may have a very professional website, but if it is lying dormant out there on the web you will not make it on your own. Spread your voice, reach out to the world, and take back control with the following tips.
1. Create a stunning blog
As said earlier, your business must reach out to the world if you want to attract new customers. A great way to achieve this is to have an informative and creative blog that will deliver amazing content to travelers and potential customers. Ask yourself the question, “As a traveler, what kind of information do I want to know about travelling in general and more specifically about the area that I am visiting?” It can be details about attractions or events close to your business, unique items or foods specific to your area, historical facts about your region, or any other tidbits that will peak the curiosity of travelers. Create original content and be generous with the information you give. If you do it well you may become THE tourism expert in your area, and have thousands of people following your blog.
For more information about how to get more traffic on your blog we recommend this wonderful article of the Moz Blog.
2. Be active on Forums
The Internet is THE place for information and communication. If a traveler wants know about a place, he can easily find many online forums with details about that location as well as receive advice from other travelers. Be active on those forums, answer traveler’s questions, and share your expertise. If people know that you live in the area they want to visit, then they will trust that your comments and suggestions are credible. Being present on these forums and establishing your trustworthiness will open it up for you to promote your business. Do this by adding helpful comments with, at the end, a link to your website. Perhaps you say, “By the way, if you are looking for a place to stay / a city tour to see the sights, we will be glad to help you. Visit our webpage to learn more.” If you’re lucky, this post on the forum may reach hundreds of people. Remember, the key to the success of your comment is how great is the information you provide it MUST be helpful and unique. If not, people will just consider it as a SPAM.
In order to carry out this forum strategy it is vital to be informed when someone is looking for a specific keyword. Use Google Alerts to be know what is happening on the web. For example, if you have a Bed & Breakfast near Windsor Castle set an alert on “Windsor Castle”, and Google will let you know every time someone talks about it on the web.
3. Connect with key players in your industry
It is a great idea to develop partnerships with related businesses or attractions in your area. Forming these types of relationships will get the right people talking about you and your business. When another credible source in your niche publishes something about you, it will definitely attract people to your website. Also, writing guest posts for well-known blogs in the industry will allow you to reach a completely new audience, and to get others to refer to your webpage. This is quite possibly one of the most effective, and at the same time least utilized strategy. If you want to know more about guest blogging, see this guide.
4. Use Social Media to get your content in moving
Most people check Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ at least once per day. This is why social media is the best way to put your content in front of potential customers. Also, social media is the place to share, comment and interact. If your content is good enough, people will share it, and your business may reach thousands of people in a short amount of time.
You should also use social media to share other people’s information. Let them know you’re sharing their content, they will appreciate that, and likely return the favor.
5. Offer a website that can do it all
Once you get people to your website, make sure they will stay. This means that you design a webpage that is easy to navigate, can be accessed from any device, and allows your customers to book online. For more information about how to make a killer webpage, check this article by WebReserv.
6. Always give the best service
Yes, it sounds a bit cliché, but this is essential. Delivering an amazing service or having an excellent product will always produce good results. It is the key to a successful business and does wonders for a word-of-mouth marketing strategy. People will seek you out knowing that others have had such a great experience with your business.
7. Ask your customers to talk about you
This is a simple thing to do, but often goes undone. Satisfied customers are willing to help you, but you need to ask. Ask them to ‘like’ your business Facebook page, write a comment on your blog, write a review on your site, or simply ask them to tell their friends and family about their experience. Be sure that they know your website address, so they can share that as well.
8. Never surrender
Establishing an online presence will not happen overnight. Be patient, persistent, and don’t give up! Prepare yourself to put in a lot of time and effort. Understand that it can take months, and possibly hundreds of posts before you begin to see results. Focus on your goals – more business, more revenue. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and soon your business will become a trustworthy reference that provides an excellent service to travelers. In time, your success will also become an inspiration for other businesses. A positive effect all around.