Tourism Marketing Tips for Maximum Leads, Sales and Profits in 2014 – Part II

 

Tony the tour operator came so close to his tourism business dream turning into a nightmare…

tourism marketing tips for tour operatorsAlthough online inquiries and sales used to be good, things dropped off… Tony was struggling and was not sure what to do. 

But using the first three tourism marketing tips in my last Travel Business Success blog post and the three travel business and marketing tips below, his travel business dreams were much more fun.

Now he knows where to focus his time and money to generate quality leads and profitable sales both on and off line.

If you are a independent tour operator, lodge, resort, travel agent, small cruise ship or destinations and you are not getting enough leads and sales from your travel marketing, you need these 6 critical tourism marketing tips to survive and thrive in 2014.

 Here’s a quick summary of the first 3 tourism marketing tip areas guaranteed to increase your sales. Access part #1 here.

 

1:   Marketing & Lead Generation

 

2:   Sales Conversion: How to Sell & Book More Trips, Rooms or Arrivals

 

3:   Social Media and Community Building

 

4:   Customer Service is Tourism

tourism marketing tips for hospitality and adventure travel business

 Having been in the adventure travel & ecotourism business industry for over 20 years, I’ve been blessed to work with some really cool trips and amazing operators and destinations. Mountain biking in Mongolia, sea kayaking on Lake Titicaca Bolivia, hanging out with Richard Branson on his private island in the Caribbean, dog sledding on ancient Eskimo trails for over 100 miles, petting a 40 ton friendly Baja whale, cage diving with Great White sharks and countless other incredible global experiences.

 

What do these all have in common? Customer service.

I’ve got a client who has the most amazing eco-adventure Lodge. Way off the grid, loaded with wildlife, incredible abundant oceans, great amenities and some of the best stargazing you will ever see.

The problem is that his staff is not that committed to quality customer service…

His tripadvisor reviews are often missing the mark because of fair to poor service or poor communication, not the amazing natural environment which guests love.

Granted he’s got great facilities, the food is good and there is a bunch of outdoor equipment for guests to enjoy. The problem is his staff is not trained well to teach people how to use the equipment and nobody’s willing to take a leadership role. When something is broken, nobody’s willing to step up to fix it…

This is a big challenge since the owner lives 400 miles away and seldom gets down to the eco-Lodge…

Can you relate or have you seen this in your travel businesses?

After digging into these operational and customer service gaps with me, he admits he has not done a good job at specifying in the writing the duties of each staff member. He now also recognizes that he has not actively communicated on a regular basis with his key staff.

If you don’t know how your staff is representing you and your business, you have a problem…

Great hospitality & customer service requires active leadership.

So this client has started an operational checklist for key staff positions and daily short satellite phone check-in calls with his lead guides.  Not only are things operating better, customers and staff are happier, and most importantly, so is he. Plus his tripadvisor reviews are more numerous and better!

We are in the life enhancing business. We are selling the invisible.

Constantly invest in you and your staff’s management, communication and leadership skills. I guarantee your customer service will improve, and so will your referrals, repeat business and profits.

 

5:  Tourism Marketing Tips for Technology 

There are three things you can count on in life; death, taxes, and change. And with technology that has never been truer.Tourism Marketing tips for Google

Technology and travel marketing go hand-in-hand. You can’t know everything about technology and the Internet.  So focus on things that will give you quality website traffic, build your social media community and keep you in touch with prospects and alumni.

Website traffic is a blessing and a challenge for all travel marketers. You’re going to get online traffic organically through your search engine ranking and many other online channels (see below), or through online advertising like Google ad words. I think a blend of both is wise, if you do it right.

The more sources of traffic that you have coming to your website, the more you are diversified and not relying just on search engines.

Did Google’s panda, Penguin, or Hummingbird updates impact your travel website?

I was and so were many others like you.  Work on developing traffic and technology in the areas below and you will have more traffic, leads and sales guaranteed.

The best sources of organic website traffic I like is a blend from:

  • Search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo
  • Social media: Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+
  • Email: opt in list that you communicate with 1 to 2 times a month
  • Travel review sites: Tripadvisor, FlipKey (Lodging) and others
  • Publicity: Almost any online and off line articles with links to your site
  • Mobile: You have to add a mobile option to your travel website for sure or you will lose out on over 50% of traffic

 The best sources of paid advertising online traffic I like is a blend from:Facebook tourism Marketing tips

  • Google Adword: Pay per click advertising
  • Facebook: “ Native ads” which are “Promoted Posts”

There are many other paid channels of online travel advertising, but I recommend you focus on just a couple and learn how to do them right. The problem is most people do not do the paid advertising correctly and waste a lot of money and time.

For Google adwords advertising help I recommend Perry Marshall’s Definitive Guide to Adwords Advertising. If you are doing any paid advertising in Google or other pay per click channels, you need to get his guide. It will save you tons of money and time, and more importantly, provide you qualified leads that you can profitably convert into sales.

Have you noticed that Facebook is reducing how many people you reach or see your updates?  It is probably a move by them to generate more advertising revenue. Stay tuned for updates and recommendations on Facebook travel advertising.

Internet travel marketing and technology is an area I will constantly address, bring in more experts and make recommendations to advance your online travel marketing.

Because the Internet is evolving so fast, if you don’t keep up with it at some level, or have someone on your team who does, you will lose ground and go backwards….

 

6:   Travel Marketing and Business Education

tourism marketing tips and helpI know all these tourism marketing tips can be a little overwhelming…

Good news. You don’t have to know it all.

I recommend you look at the five tourism marketing and operation areas in this two-part article and ask yourself:

  1. What’s working?
  2. What’s not working?
  3. What is one thing you need to learn more about now?

Instead of trying to fix it all, just pick one or two areas from your list of what’s not working or what you need to learn more about, and focus on that.

If you’re not sure on how to solve something or where to find the answer, you can start here in my Travel Business Success blog by searching for a specific topic, or use the category list on the right-hand side.

There are over 150 articles, videos, case studies, podcasts and infographics on my travel, tourism and hospitality business centered website. Plus I will be adding more all the time, and responding to your questions, comments and requests.

 There’s an old saying that says; “you can’t improve what you can’t measure” which is very true.

 So as you review what’s working and what’s not, make sure you start documenting where you are now and progress over time as you apply these proven tactics.  Then you will know which areas to improve to get the biggest bang for the buck!  This is especially true with all online travel marketing.

Stay tuned for the next Tourism Marketing TV episode:

7 Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for Profitable Online Tourism Marketing

Thanks for your Facebook sharing, Liking, Adding me to your Google+ circles, “+1ing”, tweeting & Pinning on Pinterest, Comments & Questions always welcome.

 

6 Top Travel Marketing Tips to Increase Sales and Profits – Part I

 

Here Are Six Top Travel Marketing Tips to Increase Your Sales, Profits and Lower  Marketing Costs in 2014

Tony, an Asian adventure tour operator, e-mailed me and shared a big challenge he was having in his 20 year old travel business.  Leads and sales were we way down.  He wanted a proposal from me to improve his website, search engine optimization and needed help with Internet marketing, or so he thought…

Tony said, “I used to have higher ranking in the search engines and tripadvisor. But in the last year my traffic and leads have really fallen off. I’m operating at about 20% capacity and barely making any money”

Here’s the problem he doesn’t really understand, and you may not either…

Tony thinks if he just got a new website and more traffic, his business would automatically have more sales. It is only partially correct. Here’s why.

Why a New Travel Website or Online Traffic Can be a Waste of Money

  1. A new website design and sales copy, that does not integrate proven “travel shopper psychology”, that helps converts shoppers into buyers, will not generate a lot of new leads and sales.
  2. Radically increasing traffic through organic or paid advertising efforts to your website, without creating a “travel website that sells” (generates lots of qualified leads and ultimately sales) is a total waste of your money and time.

Lead generation without prospect acquisition and sales conversion over time, is a total waste of your time and money!

Yes there are many things that influence travel shoppers to choose your company or your Lodge over the Travel marketing tips  sales funnel for Tourism marketingcompetitors. Not only online, but off-line as well. This process is called your “sales funnel”.

So it is really important to focus on your lead generation and sales conversion together to maximize your investment of time and money.  Here are six key travel business areas that you should give the majority of your efforts to in 2014.  There are more details and help on these important tips that I will share as links below.

When you focus on improvements in these six areas (presented in two parts), you will actually lower your marketing costs and time, while increasing sales and profits guaranteed.

1:      Marketing & Lead Generation for Travel Marketing:

Many travel professionals confuse the difference between marketing and sales and how one supports the other.

  • Marketing is generating qualified leads that you can develop into relationships and customers overtime.
    • This could be getting visitors to your website, generating e-mail leads, phone inquiries, social media engagement, getting happy clients to refer to you, more visitors at your tradeshow stand and more.
    • Sales is getting people to give you money.

So if the majority of your tourism marketing efforts is just generating a lot of activity, but not getting contact information to develop relationships, you are wasting your time and money.

For marketing to provide you a return on investment, you must capture e-mails, phone numbers and prospect names so that you can turn “strangers into friends, and friends into customers over time”. This is the process of effective travel marketing.

2:     Sales Conversion: How to Sell & Book More Travel

So imagine you are generating lots of traffic your website, e-mail inquiries or phone calls, what percentage of those are you converting to bookings? How long does it usually take from lead generation to sales conversion? How much money did you spend to acquire that lead?

These are all critical questions about your sales funnel conversion process. If you are getting a lot of leads but only a small percentage is actually booking, where is your “opportunity gap”? Meaning what part of your sales process is blocking sales conversions?

Some of the sales-restricting gaps I’ve seen include:

  • Slow response time to e-mail inquiry
  • Nobody around to answer a phone inquiry
  • Poor foreign language skills of front line sales staff
  • Unprofessional or in accurate collateral material (brochures, e-mails, etc.)
  • Not getting back to prospects after you have communicated once
  • No references, no endorsements, no testimonials
  • Bad reviews in tripadvisor or social media
  • Little or no follow up or communication over time
  • What is blocking your sales conversions? (post your answer below)

Answer these questions above and address your “Opportunity gaps” and you will be a long way towards a profitable return on your marketing and sales investments.

Here Are More Travel Marketing Tips to Increase Your Sales

Travel marketing tips from Tourism Tim WarrenI know from my over 20 year as a travel business and marketing consultant that these first two tips, especially on your website, may be one of your biggest challenges and opportunities for growth. Many people hire me to create a new website for them, or as a coach to improve these areas over time. I have helped 100’s have great results, but I know many of you can’t afford this now or want more of a “do it yourself ” option. That’s why I created my online program Tourism Marketing Success.

It is one the best resources that will help you learn how to radically improve marketing and sales conversion, especially for your website and online marketing. Take a few minutes and check this out, especially the comments from fellow tourism peers about how this program has helped them improve their bottom line.

Remember, “Lead generation without prospect creation and sales conversion over time, is a total waste of time and money!

3:      Best Tourism Marketing: Social media and Community Building

One of the biggest gaps that so many have, maybe even you, is putting all your effort into acquiring a new customer. But after the trip or visit, you have poor follow-up and continued connection with your former customers. This is a huge loss to you and potential positive reviews, referrals, and repeat business.

Travel businesses that invest in strong customer relationships, long after the trip or visit, can generate 50% or more of their total business from referral & repeat business

What has made social media the game changing giants they are for travel marketers? It is the “social” side of the equation. It’s all about community building and connection. After your client’s tour, staying at your lodge or using your travel consulting services, one of the first things they do, is share with their friends and family about their experience.

What are they saying about their experience with you? You need to know.

Let’s assume you’re doing an awesome job on your customer service and operations during the trip or stay. When they get back we want them to share with as many people as possible, the positive aspects of their experience with you. Right? This is where community building and social media come in.

“Never in the history of tourism marketing, has there been a better vehicle to expand on what has always been the best form of travel marketing and advertising, word of Mouth.

So my recommendation is, build your customer community on and off-line before, during and long after our guest’s trip. You will get more referrals, you will get more repeat business and lower your marketing costs because you will have your happy clients selling for you.

What Happened to Tony’s Adventure Travel Business Marketing Problems?

Talking with Tony about his online marketing, I realized quickly that he needed much more than a ‘ Travel Website That Sells”.  He lacked a marketing and sales systems and had wasted an enormous amount of time and money trying to “re-invent the wheel” without a proven road map.

So besides helping him create a new website using my proven “travel shopper psychology buying triggers” from my Tourism Marketing Success course, I consulted him over several months and we made improvement in all three areas above (plus three more key travel marketing areas I share in part II).

Tony’s leads and sales went way up, referrals increase and his marketing costs and time went down. Most importantly Tony is enjoying his tour business and profits a lot more!

Here are more tips to grow your travel or tourism business dream.

Six Areas to Focus Your Tourism Marketing for Maximum Sales and Profits, and to Lower Marketing Costs in 2014 – part II

 This includes Customer service, Technology for Travel Marketing and #6, one of the most important areas for your travel business success… Can you guess what it is?

Thanks for your Facebook sharing, Liking, Adding me to your Google+ circles, “+1ing”, tweeting & Pinning on Pinterest, Comments & Questions