Rather than making predictions for 2013, when we look at tourism public relations at the Tartan Group, we decided to do some research into what marketers wanted to do in 2012. Frommer's and Tnooz's "2011 Digital Marketing and Content Survey", reveals how tourism marketers planned to spend their digital marketing budgets in 2012. This is a great basis for understanding what will happen in 2013.
The big number is that 78% of travel professionals worldwide intend to increase their digital marketing budget. This has huge implications: digital marketing for travel is now a known entity and must have in the marketing mix.
What tactics will tourism marketers use? Her is an infographic for you to share at will.
Not surprisingly, while 65% intended to increase their budgets with social media marketing, 55% intend on also increasing budgets in content creation. These statistics resonate with us as smart marketing and will likely translate into continued spending on social media in 2013.
As a company that focuses on tourism PR, we tell know that successfully building a tourism brand and presence whether on line or in traditional media resides in clarifying your story, your key messages and what makes your tourism offering different. Then you tell the story across multiple channels whether it is to a journalist, via a rich media release or on your Pinterest or Facebook page. Integrated marketing communications really matters in tourism because your people are in different places on the web. You need to let them find your authentic story. We would put the trend to video in this content creation bucket. The need with tourism is to create videos that are short. While we know you want to focus on selling, more videos that are shorter will give you more content to socialize.
We absolutely agree that tourism marketing needs to increase budgets on organic search. We want our clients to be SEO savvy. Even if you end up hiring an SEO specialist, every tourism marketer needs to know the basics and which keywords are best for their product offering. We often work with client web masters to make sure our language and messages flow with their efforts to be seen by the search engines. It makes sense that meta search engines rate lower that organic search; meta search are sites that crawl the search engine databases and present the information found there (like Dogpile). We find it curious though why tourism marketers haven’t indicated a need to list on third party review and guidebook sites, the authority sites that help other find you but also provide quality backlinks. This category may be captured under social media marketing or organic search.
The mobile apps development could use a bit of granularity. We absolutely believe having an optimized mobile site for those promoting tourism products is a positive move though whether or not you need your own app is up for discussion. There are a lot of apps out there already and multiple paths to either use software as a service mobile apps or be listed on existing mobile travel review and information sharing sites. Most of our clients are smaller brands so investing in a mobile site and optimizing for mobile is within reach though developing their own app may not provide the return on investment that leveraging existing offerings would.
Paid search, paid ads and email marketing still remain strong in the marketing mix. New software and tools mean that these marketing tools are more accessible to tourism brands of all sizes rather than just the big brands.
We believe the tourism communications is about integration of print, on line story telling bolstered with advertising and SEO. The lines between PR, marketing and advertising are blurry.
Where are you going to invest your marketing dollars in 2013?
And please, feel free to share our infographic with your tourism marketing team. Get the conversation started!
Click here for infographic on Tourism PR and Marketing: on line search statistics
Terry Rachwalski is a Certified Management Consultant in Victoria BC providing tourism digital marketing services to Tartan Group clients. The Tartan Group is top tourism communications and marketing firm working with eco and sustainable tourism clients worldwide.