Hospitality Marketing


It’s been a difficult time for the tourism industry, but hope is on the horizon. Indications across the travel industry are that things are trending up, and the searches starting to dominate social media are about destinations, re-opening, and exciting opportunities, not how to reclaim deposits for lost journeys. The key question is, are YOU ready for the change? Today Zebra 360 Digital Marketing takes a deep dive into business recovery for the tourism industry, and how you can get ahead of your competition

It starts with social media

If you’re a hospitality owner right now, you’re probably wondering where even to start. You took a big hit in 2020, and you need to balance reduced income and resources with attracting the business you need to recover. Here’s the do’s (and some don’ts) of relaunching yourself into the opportunities of 2021.

1)   To survive, you should sell

This one’s obvious, but it’s worth repeating. If you’re not out there to find, people will not come to you- and that spells doom for your business. It’s easy to be sucked into a doom and gloom cycle with the added difficulties we have faced, but, instead, work to stabilise your brand and then reinforce that stability. Staying strong in adversity will help you rebuild.

It’s tempting to look at your marketing budget as an optional extra, but businesses that stop advertising die. There’s no way to sugar coat that, especially in the era of short attention spans and the latest, greatest thing changing daily. Marketing will get the lifeblood of your business flowing again, so even if you have to tighten up your belt a bit, try to advertise smartly with analytics and targeting, and make your bucks go further.

2)   Don’t be tone-deaf

That doesn’t mean you should go back to marketing completely as normal, however. This is still a difficult time, and there’s a lot of recovery still to go. Many people have been hard hit, whether it’s the loss of loved ones, or simply economically. If your social posts come over as tone-deaf, you’re likely to alienate as many people as you attract. Don’t target ads to people who are suffering and upset. And above all, avoid ‘topical’ jokes. There’s almost no scope to get this right, and it will hurt you. On the other hand, using a tone that still builds your brand, but has empathy with the pain others are enduring, positions you as an empathetic and reliable business with a difference- one people want to do business with.

If you pre-queue posts (which you should as part of your larger content plan) be sure to regularly check in on that queue. You’re making sure something that reads poorly in light of new developments hasn’t snuck in- before it goes live! Things inevitably change, and it will likely be pretty fast changes this year. Learn to adapt to the new face of things if you’re going to keep up. And don’t be afraid to check in on what the opposition is doing- if it’s working, leverage a similar strategy for yourself.

3)   Maximise social platforms

In fact, look at content as something that should serve and help your customers, not just get them to buy. Responsible tourism is attractive at the best of times, and should be a key focus of your image right now. Video has been a lifesaver in the turbulent past year, and it’s been an essential part of keeping us social humans connected when face-to-face was out of the question. Leverage that special spot video has come to occupy with smart personal statements that reach out to your customer base. Facebook offers a great platform for live video you can explore.

Social media in general should be the kingpin of any tourism business recovery plan. If the budget is tight, hone in here for spending. It’s a great way to humanise your brand, and that’s something you shouldn’t be afraid of right now. Put a face to the brand, and let your customer base see that you’re real people just like them. Of course, your brand essence should always be considered, but being true to who you are has a lot of power.

4)   Engage

It’s time to communicate with your clients more than ever before. Ask how you can help, and listen to that feedback. Engage with notifications, enquiries and questions. Keep posts rolling up. Be careful how off-track you venture, though. While it’s a tempting time to share news- or even tips- about the general state of the world, what you state on your brand page carries authority (and could create liability). If you’re not genuinely an expert on the issue, rather leave it alone. You can, of course, present to customers safety measures and protocols you’re using to keep them safe, but avoid getting caught in a no-win debate about wider policies or other matters.

Above all, keep communicating

Communication has always been a cornerstone of the human experience, and without it none of us will flourish. Social media has played a huge role in helping people stay connected and weathering the storm. While focuses and strategies in the post-2020 tourism industry will shift, the pivotal role social media marketing will play in your plans should not. Focus on building customer trust with accurate and timely information about what you do and how you’re doing it, as well as how you’re keeping them safe. Build your interactions, and respond sincerely and genuinely each time. Personalisation  will be a key part of making this manageable.

In short, now is the time to market yourself- but in a way that’s both empathetic and responsible. Don’t put profit before people, even though it’s important. Your marketing shouldn’t just be selling right now, but it should be building trust and relationships that will not only yield results now but keep building them for decades to come.

Not sure how to even start? Zebra 360 Digital Marketing Agency are your local experts in social media marketing, with a special focus on the tourism industry. Why not let us help you make the most of 2021’s potential today?

Maybe link to a blog on this from the past?