Are you finding that as travel ramps up, your time is quickly devoured by itinerary planning, tour execution, and re-hiring staff?
Where does that leave your marketing efforts? If they’re firmly planted on the back burner, here are some time-saving tips to get them back onto the front burner so that your sales funnel continues to be topped off with new prospects.
Consistency & cohesion
Sitting at the computer stressing about upcoming newsletter content, blog topics, and social marketing themes is a total time-waster. What if there was a way to clinch a consistent message across all marketing channels?
There is. Savvy tourism marketers use a marketing editorial calendar that provides direction. The starting point is a weekly theme along with a clear number of pieces of content to create for each channel.
Let’s dig into the idea of a weekly theme, as it’s one of the best tactics I ever adopted for my own posts as well as those for clients. Consider creating weekly themes that showcase:
- Destinations you’ll be visiting in upcoming tours
- Styles of travel—cruising, coach, rail, etc.
- Experiences available—culinary, outdoor, learning, immersion, etc.
The key to a successful marketing editorial calendar is to build out each weekly theme with related link posts, graphics, and video. Some marketers build their calendar four to six weeks out, others with a shorter lead time. Personally, my team and I build themes six to 12 weeks in advance and then fill in the posts and create graphics three or four weeks in advance.
Circling back to the calendar, it can be a simple Excel spreadsheet or a more complex workflow system. (Some examples of workflow systems include Asana, Project Manager, Work Zone, and Base Camp.) Here’s a very simple version that you’re free to use and customize for your own business. No matter what system you use, it’s important to start with clear goals, tone, and style for each marketing channel.
The bottom line is that your clients will see consistency on whichever channel they connect with you. Ensure you have a complete editorial calendar that includes columns for all your social and traditional channels, such as:
- Social posts
- Web banner
- Email signature
- Office window décor
- Voicemail messaging
- Bot messaging
The value of this level of consistency is that while you spend some time creating a plan for up to 12 months in advance, the execution is simply to fill in the blanks with relevant content. You’ll save time by not staring at that blank screen!
Recycle! Upcycle! Refresh! Whatever you want to call it, you’ll save time!
Extend the shelf life of videos, blogs, and social content—easily. Here’s how savvy travel pros are saving time and creating more content than ever imaginable. Tune in for three real-life examples:
While none of us can imagine hand-writing airline tickets anymore, there are so many other marketing tasks that can also be better handled by technology.
For example, how many times have you used a live chat feature this week? The other day I was trying to figure out a new video tool and tapped into the power of a live chat to answer my questions. Why not create one for your website and social sites? Think of the time it will save.
Even if you simply want to be able to direct your web visitors to the right section of your website, an automated chat bot can free up the time a staff person may have spent on that task. In addition to your website, chat bots can also be incorporated into your Facebook business page.
And to really geek out, you can automate an email sequence so that you stay top of mind with your clients and prospects. For example, perhaps you have a lead magnet in place to add prospects into your email list. How many follow-up letters have you created? Are they linked to actions that readers have taken in previous follow-ups? Technology makes this super easy. Here are some tools to consider: Convert Kit, Mailer Lite, Active Campaign, Constant Contact, and Mail Chimp.
Over the years, Facebook has provided marketers and advertisers with the tools to reach back out to active, engaged fans. Stay top of mind with your clients by making full use of the Facebook pixel. Optimize your ad reach by targeting people who have interacted in some way with your business pages on both Facebook and Instagram. For example, if your weekly theme is a destination, create an audience of people who have watched videos of this destination while on your page. This is key to re-engaging people (automatically) who have already expressed an interest.
The bottom line is that travel is a highly personalized, relationship-based industry. We want to be able to use technology to save time on routine tasks so that we can devote more time to getting to know our clients and finding unique ways to serve them. This is the beauty of automation and technology! It saves time and gives us the freedom to devote ourselves to building our business through stronger relationships.
Catherine Heeg, president of NTA associate member Customized Management Solutions, focuses on social media marketing strategies for the tourism and hospitality industry. Connect with her at www.cmsspeaking.com and socially.
Top photo ©Visual Generation/Adobe Stock