Thursday, June 25, 2009
"Make your blog/website your home base and Twitter your outpost"
That strikes me as great advice for those wondering if they should twitter or not. Twitter for kids is all about the status updates, but Twitter for business is about something else... It's about engaging customers with your product, and driving traffic to your website or to your physical store.
Your website is your archive. Twitter feeds are not archived. Facebook events are archived but in a hidden sort of fashion. So if you Tweet that your tourism operation is now serving lobster chowder, if you do not also include that on your website, only the few fellow Tweeters who read that initial Tweet will know about your new product offering.
For tourism operations, archives or history of success is important. It relates stability to new buyers. People do have (rational) fears of airlines going under, hotels closing, and travel agents closing. You must show that you are going to be operating the whole season and they will not be losing their deposit.
Websites and blogs are showcases of true passion and commitment to your operation. If there is one thing I know about tourism operators is that they are passionate. You need to express that to all who visit your site. And if your passion is waning, find someone who's passion is exploding to write the blog for you. A summer student, another employee...
I know you're busy, I know you're stretched thin, and I know you think it's going to take a lot of time. Frankly sometimes it does. Sometimes I sit for a while before I know what to blog. Sometimes it comes quite easily.
If your website and blog are functioning properly then that should lead to less repetitive emails and phone calls that require your time and energy. If your website and blog are functioning properly then your increased sales will justify hiring another part time worker and again leave you with more time and energy to put forth. It's a cycle. You just need to get started.
Twitter is like social sticky notes (another great quote that I can't take credit for). It's snack size content, a nibble to wet your appetite. Your website is the full meal deal. And it should satisfy their hunger.
So first build a great website (actually first take the Tourism Technology website mentoring session to learn how to build a great website)
Then start to Twitter
And know when to draw the Twitter line
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Especially for Tourism Operators.
A successful tourism website has the information that the visitor is looking for... and how are you going to know what information they are interested in unless you ask them ?
Why does a Tourist visit a website?
- to confirm that they want to visit there
- confirm hours and costs
- confirm directions
- to see other people enjoying the property or attraction (validate)
- to find out what unique things they can do while visiting
- perhaps to find rules or regulations
Are you providing that kind of information?
View your website through the eyes of your target market? Is everything there that I would need to know if I was coming to the area, plus some exciting pictures and tidbits that reassure me that your destination is the best choice.
The summer is the perfect time to research your clients. Are they mainly elderly? Are they families? Ask them if they looked at your website? Ask them what they thought of it?
Then take all that information and compile it over the fall and find a developer over the holidays and have your new site launched for the new year, when visitors are just starting to scope out where they are going to spend their summer.
- If you don't tell your developer what you need, you'll have a nice new site but it won't fulfill the needs of your customers and you'll have wasted your money
- If you don't get a nice new fulfilling site for next season, you've missed the boat.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monthly Commitmentby Stephanie Lummis
You may have noticed this monthly eNewsletter has not always lived up to its billing. Mea culpa. In site is a year old and ISL is not practicing what it preaches.
It was a big step to start this eNewsletter. We planned and talked for months. We knew we were capable but realized the commitment it would take. It was this very threat that held us back. I could claim it’s a case of the shoemaker’s children - we are busy with client projects and there isn’t enough time or resources to devote to our own Internet marketing efforts.
And it is, but it’s more than that. After all we are also encouraging and advising our clients: non-profits, CPG companies and government alike, to do more of this kind of Internet marketing. The fact is it’s harder to give priority to an email newsletter – or any non-direct-revenue generating activity, such as a blog, Twitter feed or corporate Facebook page.
These activities can be at odds with sales and business development resources as they are direct revenue generators. How do you convince your organization of its value? How do you justify the investment of time and effort?
The True Value is Intrinsic Relationships – People don’t like to be "sold", preferring to come to informed decisions on their own. They are more apt to engage in advice or conversation instead of a sales pitch. It establishes a level of trust and comfort that they will have the ear of those they buy from.
Reach – These types of marketing efforts create long tentacles and expand your circle of influence. These peripheral connections are more apt to produce a customer. They have more to learn and their investment will be greater.
Goodwill – For people who know you already - clients or partners - an eNewsletter can serve as a reaffirmation of your commitment to your company and the industry as a whole.
Measured Success - This eNewsletter has been a tremendous tool for ISL. Subscribers look forward to seeing it in their inbox each month (sorry we’ve kept you waiting), and some print it off to share with their bosses and colleagues. A few articles have even been reprinted in other eNewsletters for tourism and manufacturing industries.
So while you may not be able to tie these Internet marketing efforts directly to sales, you can gauge their influence in many areas: list growth, forwards, referrals, reprints, comments, and time on site. These are all valuable measurements of success that justify the investment.
It has been one year and we’ve published 10 issues. Not how we planned it, but we remain committed and thank you for reading each month. Writing this article was just the pep talk I needed.