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5 Easy Steps to Successful Marketing for your Tourism Business


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With a focus on rural and community tourism in Ireland, but easy, practical steps that are applicable at any level in any business.

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5 Easy Steps to Successful Marketing for your Tourism Business

  1. 1. 5 Easy Steps to Successful Marketing for Your Tourism Business
  2. 2. By Lora O’Brien Lead Copywriter at Write Ireland
  3. 3. “ ” The tourism and hospitality sector continues to be a major source of employment in Ireland. The employment provided by the accommodation and food service sector is greater than the number of jobs provided in construction, financial services, or agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors. Employment in the accommodation and food service industry accounts for 6.5% of employment in the country. Source: Tourism Opportunity - Driving Economic Renewal, ITIC 2011 Let’s lay it out straight here… Rural Ireland is a key component of the visitor appeal and experience.
  4. 4. Valuable Tourism Resources • Local landowners, community groups, parishes, organisations and individuals who are interested in heritage own very valuable parts of the tourism infrastructure. • Includes access to mountains, natural and historic sites, walks and trails, interpretative and community centres • Most of the tourism infrastructure in Ireland, at local level, is currently under-utilised, and lacking support.
  5. 5. Rural Tourism • Visitors to Ireland want to find you. • Smaller, authentic Irish events, attractions and experiences are exactly what the lucrative domestic and foreign market are looking for. • Culture and heritage consistently ranks as the top reason for people to visit Ireland. • That’s where Ireland’s rural and community tourism providers come in.
  6. 6. Rural Tourism Challenges • Limited marketing budget. • Double (or triple!) jobbing for management/owners and staff • Never enough support, or hours in the day to get it all done. • Lack of clarity or consistency on marketing or business plan. • Marketing budget often gets blown in the first few outings on local newspaper and radio ads, or whatever special offers the guy on the end of the phone assures you will reach so many thousands of exactly your target audience.
  7. 7. Rural Tourism Benefits • Unbridled enthusiasm and passion for the project, and the area we are focusing on, is the main upside. • The people involved are there because they believe that the end result will make their community a better place, and they want to tell the world about what they have to offer. • Absolute expertise on the locality, and the events, customs or traditions.
  8. 8. But, business is business. At the end of the day, you need to: • Increase your Profitability • Heighten your Competitive Advantage • Enhance your Industry Reputation.
  9. 9. “ ” The key challenge facing Irish tourism is communicating the right messages in the most effective way to those markets most receptive to the offer of a holiday in Ireland. Source: Tourism Opportunity - Driving Economic Renewal, ITIC 2011
  10. 10. Tourism Marketing • Communicating our tourism message in the right way to the right people – that’s marketing. • It’s a thing that many small tourism business owners and managers mean to get round to, but never quite sort out or get a proper handle on. • It’s a large field, full of big players, and it’s often difficult for the little guy to know for sure where to start, or to see results when they do start in some way.
  11. 11. A simple plan is what’s needed, and there are 5 easy steps that will put you on the right path today…
  12. 12. Step 1 Objectives and Goals
  13. 13. What Do You Want To Achieve? • Objectives are your lofty ideas, your fancy notions of what the business could possibly become. Think big, and have something great to aim for. Write them down! • Goals are the smaller chunks of your dream; the actionable, achievable items on the agenda. With deadlines. • Remember, make your goals specific and measurable, figure out in numbers and percentages and clear solid terms what you want to achieve, and write those down too.
  14. 14. Step 2 Resources
  15. 15. What Have You Got To Work With? • While it’s great to dream and plan for the improvements, upgrades and infrastructure you’d love to lay claim to, have a good honest look at what you’ve got right now. • And not just the physical and materials – are there untapped skills or knowledge in your area? What are the benefits of visiting your area? • Most importantly – what is your USP, your Unique Selling Point/s? What makes your business, your community, your area, different from all the rest? Figure that out, the thing that is truly your own, and your focus will sharpen, your message clarify, and your marketing improve exponentially.
  16. 16. Step 3 Target Market
  17. 17. Who Will Want To Visit? • ‘Everyone’ isn’t an appropriate answer. And, bleak as it can sometimes feel, a desperate cry of ‘Anyone, please visit!’ isn’t a good marketing strategy either. • Looking at your available resources, what type of person or group will that appeal to as it stands? You can always develop the family market or the silver surfers at a later stage, but get your baseline right first. • Who has been visiting the most already, and what does that type of person want or need that you can give them – the benefits you can offer to this market will be a central focus in all your marketing materials. Again, be specific. “Fishermen, over 55, who also like to eat great quality local food” is going to give you more to work with than “Old Men”. If you don’t already know, talk to other business’ in the locality - accommodation providers, publicans, visitor attractions, food service facilities. Find out.
  18. 18. Step 4 Marketing Strategy
  19. 19. What’s Your Plan? • What month is it now? Where in the primary tourist season are we right now? How long before people arrive on site do they think about and book their holidays? You need to go back further than that. • It’s never a bad time to start marketing, but know that most tourism marketing being done this year is with a view to the following year, at least. If you want your beds booked or your attraction thronged at a particular time – when do you have to start planning for that? You should start now, but keep your focus clearly on the future.
  20. 20. How to Market? • Once you get your timing sorted, the big question of HOW to market comes into play. For small budgets, the absolute best value for money is in content marketing – everything from the words on your website, to regular newsletters and blog posts, to active social media. • Building a solid client mailing list is the most important thing you can do for your business – it’s much easier to market to people who are already your customers than it is to try and catch the attention of people who don’t know you exist! • A regular newsletter - that is of value and interest to your visitors, not just aimed at selling them things - is the bedrock of your new marketing plan. If you don’t have much money, you will have to go digital. If you do have a budget, you can afford a printed version in the post, but you’ll still be going digital; AND you can pay people to do it all for you.
  21. 21. Your Marketing Plan • Most importantly, make a monthly plan. Literally, write it out month by month – start with marking in any upcoming events you organise or can work around. • Then figure out what you can afford (in time and money) to commit per month to marketing. How best can that be spent? How can the effectiveness of each thing you spend time or money on be measured, and recorded? Remember, in today’s media saturated world, your potential customers will most often need to see your message 8 or even 9 times, and in different formats, before they will take action. • A regular, month by month plan will deliver your message to your target audience time after time, and each time with a specific ‘call to action’ prompting them to, well, to take action in the form of a visit to your area, and more money in your pocket.
  22. 22. You Might Like… Free Marketing Support • CLICK HERE to join our Mailing List for your FREE: • Getting Started Guide to Business Marketing Strategy (PDF or PP) • Accompanying Worksheet • Content Planning Template - Excel Workbook to Download
  23. 23. Step 5 Evaluation
  24. 24. What Worked, and What Didn’t? • As you go through your month by month plan, it is vital you keep records of your customers, where they came from and how they found out about you. • The first year, you’ll be shooting in the dark for the most part. But once you’re through, you will be able to look and see what has worked, what hasn’t, and how you can build on that. • Every year, you increase your ROI – Return On Investment for your tourism marketing plan. Every year, you learn a little more about your visitors, what they need, and what they want. Make this knowledge one of your primary goals, and it will stand to you.
  25. 25. Start Today! • You can start to follow these steps today; just sketch them out roughly to begin with, and work on them in more detail as you go along. • There’s plenty of time for finesse later. Make your monthly marketing plan, establish your baseline, and start to grow your tourism business from here!
  26. 26. Anything We Can Help You With? Email us on: