Millions of travelers across the globe, from all walks of life, and a plethora of marketing channels, both online and off, have given tourism marketers countless ways to promote brands. With the number of choices available, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and invest money in the wrong avenues, to gain exposure for your country, travel company or hotel.
However, designing a winning marketing strategy that will boost conversions doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it requires you to take a step back from the clutter and start afresh.
Before you design and implement marketing strategies, you must know who your target audience is.
If you’re thinking you can market to anyone and wait for the right customers to trickle through, you’re in for a shock. Customers have changed, and have too much information (and options) at their disposal for you to take a shotgun approach. Besides, the market is way too big and diverse to use a blanket marketing strategy. Zeroing on your target audience using a sniper-like approach works. Before you get into content and advertising, understand
Why knowing your audience is so important in the travel industry
To understand specific needs and wants
As we mentioned earlier, the travel space is too vast and diverse for one travel brand to cater to every requirement of travelers. Knowing your audience will help you understand what it is they look for in a travel experience. E.g. Are they looking for a relaxing family vacation? A month-long trek in South America? Or an island-hopping experience in Indonesia? Each traveler’s needs are different. Understanding this is key to being able to design your product offering to cater to these needs, thus selling your product effectively.
To develop the right product offering
The moment you try to be everything for everyone, you’ve lost the game. You must carefully choose your target audience, understand what they want, and build your travel package accordingly. Unless you know your audience accurately, you might end up creating the best luxury travel package and market it to a college-going audience who are looking for backpacking experiences. The result – no conversion because there is no audience-product match. If you are marketing a country as a part of your travel package, knowing who your customer is and what they want will help you identify which elements of the country you need to emphasize on. With a clear knowledge of your customer, you won’t end up advertising a jungle trek to travelers who are looking for a beach holiday.
In short, knowing your customers helps increase conversions because you will match each of your products to the right customer.
To tailor your marketing communications
Your audience is spread over many countries and represent an array of cultures, preferences and languages. Targeting all of them with one ad campaign in one language is just a waste of your money. Knowing your customers will help you define your message clearly and promote the product in a manner that suits them. This knowledge will also help you ‘speak their language’ literally and figuratively, allowing them to understand you in return, thus increase the likelihood of them doing business with you.
To get proper ‘bang for your buck’
When your advertising is not targeted, you end up spending valuable dollars placing your messages all over the place. A complete understanding of your customers will tell you which channels they are present on, what blogs they read, what are their income levels, what travel experience are they most interested in and so much more. Armed with this knowledge you can nitpick suitable channels to reach them, thus using your advertising budgets effectively. E.g. if your target audience consist of out-of-school backpackers, your ad money is best reaching them via social media channels than placing expensive ads in specialist magazines. Knowing where to place your message is an integral part of your conversion strategy, and knowing your customer is at the root of it.
For any business, leave alone the travel sector, marketing is essential as well as expensive. With the advent of digital media channels and customers having short attention spans, developing awesome content is crucial. It also requires a lot of resources, a good digital marketing strategy, and it is up you to ensure that these resources are not wasted barking up the wrong tree. When you know whom you are marketing to, your message will be aligned accordingly and the right channels used. The result – clear-cut communications to the right audience, and increased conversions. Remember it is cheaper and better to reach 100 people and have 5 of them become customers than reach 1,000,000 and convert 10!
Toby is a professional digital marketing expert and the godfather of digital marketing for gambling. He works at digitalfuel.marketing, he strives to help his clients succeed. He used to work for coral, Ladbrokes & Mansion.