Marketing Fundamentals

6 Tips for Tourism Industry New Media Marketing

By Christine Dubyts, Dubyts Communications

Did you know that over 2/3 of travelers use the web exclusively to plan their travel? Yup, it's huge. So it wasn't surprising to me that the biggest question on the minds of a group of folks from the tourism industry asked me how they could use new and social media tactics in their business.

Not surprisingly they all had websites and had all heard of Facebook, Linked in and You Tube, I mean, unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you're aware. But what they wanted to know how to turn this social phenomenon into a cash flow phenomenon for their operations.

Well, the good news is that although it's in the technology realm, you don't have to be a techie to make it work for you. Here are a six tips for Tourism Industry new media marketing:

1. Consider your website as the epicenter of all your marketing

This is the place where everything should come together. Whether it's print, electronic, outdoor or social; text, photos, video or audio; email, Facebook, Linked in. But beware it doesn't turn into a dumping ground. It should be professional and intuitive, and visitors have to be able to figure out, "What's in it for them," in 20 seconds or less.

2. Facebook is adding half a million new users every day. I'll bet at least some of those are your ideal customers. Yes?

Setting up a Facebook fan page is fast, easy and can be used to show and tell every single day. Get feedback and insight on service, events and menu items; promote events; share news; encourage trial by offering specials and discounts; have direct dialogue with your customers; promote contests and giveaways; find employees; monitor your reputation and provide complaint resolutions. The opportunities to use this free communications channel are endless.

3. Youtube is getting over 1 billion views per day (Oct 9/09) - video is extremely effective in communicating and creating a lasting brand impression.

Once again, it's free to set up your Youtube account and easy to upload your video. Catch your guests with their "big catch," go into the kitchen and get the chef creating one of his masterpieces, special events, Sunday brunch. Get your video camera out and start using it to create a video library that you can then link back to from your website. Are you starting to see how this can work?

4. Twitter anyone? There are over 60 million users and 19% check their status daily

Using Twitter is easy if you're already using other forms of social media all you have to do is connect them together so every time you make a Facebook or Linked in update it sends out a tweet. BONUS... tweets are also now featured in search engine results for Bing and Google.

5. Over 90% of cell phone users have their phones with the 24/7 - hmmmm

It's like your conscience only with cool ringtones. Text messaging, cell phone aps, .mobi websites. They're all starting to take shape here in North America. In Europe they've had cell phone channels for years! Keep your eye on this one.

6. But beware! It's not all fun and games in the new media arena.

You can't control social media. It's in the hands of the consumer so go in with eyes wide open and be prepared for negatives. You also have to consider how much time you want to spend here. Give it the appropriate amount of resources, considering all the other marketing you're undertaking.

New and social media tactics can offer huge benefits to the tourism industry where, and I'll state it again, over 2/3 of travelers use the web to plan their travel. Don't overlook this huge opportunity but be sure to monitor your time investment against the expected and actual return.