While working with some travel professionals on the topic of “Expanding Your Digital Footprint” my research revealed a rather surprising weak spot. Most of the travel professionals were eager to know the best practices in social media, search engines, websites, newsletters and blogging. But many also quickly confessed to a deficiency of fundamental knowledge on how to get started.
Most often, it is the technology we find daunting. It is not hard to understand why many travel professionals have problems with digital marketing. Our passions run to the travel experience, not technology and marketing. To become really proficient in any branch of digital marketing takes precious time and resources. Yet, beyond the technologies, the fundamental skill sets are largely the same whether networking in your local community or digitally.
While it is typically the technology forming the greatest barrier to entry, I often see critical mistakes made in execution and practice. Marketing is not a one-way stream of information, but a careful and deliberate conversation with clients. Many travel professionals confuse marketing and advertising, so their efforts at marketing look more like newspaper advertising than conversations with clients.
I am convinced travel consultants have in the past few years become much more adept and sophisticated in their approaches to conventional marketing. However, the technology required by many digital formats in combination with the novelty of the media has set the industry back a bit. If we know how to network at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, we should know how to network on Facebook. If you know how to tell a good story at a social gathering, writing your next blog entry and responding to comments should come naturally. The veneer of technology sometimes masks the similarities and the need for the fundamentals you already know.
Our Travel Research Online (TRO) site has many articles on digital marketing. Each article will talk about how to get started, considerations geared to travel professionals and best practices. It is important to begin with the most basic of steps, literally how to open your account, and then progress on to how to effectively utilize the digital tool as a marketing resource.
Over the next couple of weeks, our blog on our Voyager Websites site will have the planned schedule of topics:
- Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram
- Email Marketing
One word of warning: there is the temptation to float between each of these digital marketing venues, jumping first to one then another never mastering any. My recommendation would be to adopt those venues where you feel most comfortable, where you can commit the necessary time and effort.
I am a strong believer in the potential of digital media as a vehicle for your marketing. Work with me over the next two weeks to begin building a great platform for your 2017 business plan.