If Kevin Costner built his “Field of Dreams” in 2015 – not 1989 – he would need more than just the “if you build it, they will come” mantra. Alone, that mystic baseball diamond in Iowa would draw low attendance and risk closure. At the very least, Foster’s Ray Kinsella character would be obligated to spur a social media and viral marketing strategy. Enter: YouTube, YELP, Facebook, Search, Instagram and Twitter – you know the drill by now.
It’s surprising how many new business ventures still use the failed “if you build it, they will come” logic when it comes to their web and brick-and-mortar presences. This is no more vital than in tourism marketing. The industry has advantages over many traditional sectors: Going on vacation is fun, and is highly shareable with friends and family.
We already know that the majority of travelers book their own arrangements through the web. However, you may not know these highlights that show important trends to consider in your marketing plan.
- 23% of all travel dollars are booked via a mobile or tablet device. In 2016, it will be 26% (eMarketer) and won’t slow down – ever.
- 40% of all activity and tour bookings are made online (Rezdy).
- 77% usually or always reference reviews before choosing a hotel, and 44% before choosing an attraction (TripAdvisor). If you cut corners in guest treatment, the world will know.
- More than any other sector, Travel leads Facebook ad click-thru rates at 2.63% (Kinetic Social).
- China is the world’s second-largest market for digital travel sales behind the United States, and could be the largest by 2030. (eMarketer)
- 70% post photos and updates on social media while on vacation (World Travel Market).
- YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. Unique, quality video is a must for your business, and is 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results than text.
- 92% of consumers trust friend and family recommendations above all forms of advertising. Most of this engagement comes via social posts (World Travel Market).
So you’re probably getting the picture. In the travel sector, your social and digital reputation and will make or break your business.
At 321, our digital marketing plans go beyond elaborate ad campaigns. Engaging the public through reader-driven content, contests, and giveaways is an inexpensive approach to virtually share your vacation property.
Here’s a roundup of notable digital strategy examples that might inspire your next social or viral effort.
The Never Ending Story by Visit Orlando: To reinforce the thousands of vacation dreams that come true in Orlando, this 2015 campaign encourages visitors to share their favorite memories in real time via the #MyOrlandoStory hashtag or OrlandoStory.com. Participants are entered into a 4-night vacation sweepstakes, with a winner announced every month through December 2015.
The Points Guy Weekly Giveaway: Brian Kelly, a.k.a. The Points Guy, is a leader in the industry of points, miles, and travel. Donate a super-sized giveaway such as a vacation or $500 gift card, and he may promote your business to his 519,000+ followers of travel addicts.
Inspiring Thailand Photo Contest by the Thailand Convention Exhibition Bureau: Research told the TCEB that a previous visitor to Thailand was three times more likely to revisit over a first-time visitor. This Fall 2013 contest encouraged these visitors to submit their favorite vacation photo. Over 800 photos were submitted with the top three winning $500 and resort vouchers.
We’ll give you a moment to keep daydreaming about your next travel adventure; we love vacation too. But if you need assistance with your marketing plan or want to schedule a brainstorm session, reach us using the contact form below.
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