Imagine if you had all the travel prospects and sales you needed, sold out seasons, increased arrivals, and you did little or no advertising … This is reality for wise tourism professionals using the Internet and technology marketing tools below. With over 80% of all travel research done and over 50% booked online, if you are to succeed in the travel industry, you must be using multiple tools with the Internet. As you learn to use the Internet skillfully, it will be one of your most profitable marketing strategies ever! Do you have to be a tech wizard to do these? Absolutely not. But it is important you understand what these technologies do to recognize how to apply them. This is a quick non-tech overview of the six easiest technologies that will save you time, maximize exposure, increase sales conversions and lower your marketing costs. This is an introductory article that will be followed by a 6-part series on Internet Tourism Marketing with much more how-to details on each item below and recommended resources that current and future travel & hospitality professionals can use.
# 1: Travel Websites That Sell
A good travel website informs and compels prospects and moves them to choose your destination or services. Online this happens one person at a time with purchasing decisions happening in seconds. Although most web masters are technically adept, they are not marketing and sales-oriented copywriters. Website traffic without increased prospect inquiries and sales is a waste of your time and money.
# 2: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Earning and Keeping Top Ranking SEO is the active process of enhancing your website relevance so you are on the first couple pages for your top key words. 95% of all Internet search traffic comes from Google, Yahoo and MSN. SEO is a long-term project that usually requires specialized help because the Internet is more competitive and constantly changing. Before you spend money with an SEO specialist, make them prove top ranking in Google for competitive phrases. But done right, SEO will yield huge returns on your investment. Someone has to be on page # 1, why not you?
# 3: Pay Per Click (PPC)
Advertising PPC advertising is the "sponsored links or sites" on the right hand side of a Google, Yahoo or MSN search. Your small text ads are displayed that match a key word search and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Placing PPC ads is fast, easy, targeted and can be very cost effective. Your cost per click (CPC) depends on the competitiveness of the key word phrases you want your ads to show up in. A word of warning. You can spend a lot of money fast with little results if you do not do PPC right. On my website is a free Google AdWords course that will earn you higher ranking and more web traffic for a lower CPC.
# 4: Online Audio / Video & Podcasts Sells Travel Online
Audio and video on your website and through out the world with podcasts supercharges your marketing results. A podcast is a multimedia file distributed for free over the Internet for playback on mobile devices and computers. Podcast will give you a themed radio station distributed globally with a rapidly growing listener base for free. Best uses of audio, video & podcasts include: client testimonials, informational and promotional destination pieces, answer to questions and building relationships online.
# 5: E-mail Marketing
Most people who first come to your website are not ready to give you money today. When you ask a prospect to subscribe to your E-mail newsletter (called opt-in), you can develop a relationship over time via new trips, specials and last minute deals. This helps convert strangers into friends, and friends into customers when they are ready to travel. There are many E-mail marketing services that have E-newsletter templates, that will broadcast your e-mail newsletter, manage your database, track open rate and even cull out unsubscribe or bounced e-mail for you.
# 6: Online Reservation & Distribution Systems
These systems will increase your sales and save you time because prospects can see inventory, make real-time reservations and payments. Your inventory is adjusted instantly so all vendors and suppliers know exactly what can be sold at all times. Destination marketing organizations and tour operators can sell more because they can showcase all regional tours, lodging and attractions all from one place in what is called a "portal". This helps visitors, which leads to longer stays and higher expenditures for all size groups. Do not be discouraged; you can learn how to do this. There's lots of training and tech help available. Start now and you'll prosper too. The online training show Travel Business Success Radio is full of audio coaching and training with an emphasis on travel and hospitality internet marketing.