IT’S time for destination marketing to go local and mobile. There’s no need to go and create new tourism products or services, trails or campaigns. Why? Because the most popular tourism activities remain eating, drinking, shopping and sightseeing.
“This is where the profits and growth opportunities to the visitor economy are,” says Bronwyn White, travel industry futurist and co-founder of MyTravelResearch.com. “So work with what you’ve got.”
“Whether it’s sale or promotion time, or finding out what’s on the menu at nearby restaurants, consumers and travellers naturally want to know what’s going on around them,” she says.
White’s argument is based on research that shows that90% of travellers say they use their mobile phones when on holiday. Over a third of tourists use their mobile devicemore while travelling.
Businesses need to be found via clear local and community marketing accessible to smartphones. “It’s the role of local government and chambers of commerce to help local commerce and tourism industry understand the importance of working together to form a strong visitor economy and compelling proposition,” she says.
White cited a Bright Local study that found 61% of people were more likely to contact a local business with a mobile site – a website that works well on hand held devices.
“Tourists are looking for information, reviews, maps and physical addresses. As obvious as it seems, businesses do not always have these things,” she admonishes.
White’s argument is that whether or not they are food or shopping related, it is imperative to ensure that local businesses are optimized for mobile, because tourists (and residents) are nowadays “always” looking and searching on their mobile devices.
White says there are five things that local food, drink, shopping, entertainment and retail businesses must do:
1. Make sure their business is listed on Google My Business.
2. Populate the Google My Business listing with great content, including photos, videos, and sample menus and products.
3. Encourage reviews on Google My Business. (You need at least five reviews before stars are visible. Stars matter, as do reviews.)
4. Encourage reviews everywhere – Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp.
5. Make sure their business is mobile friendly – if their business is not mobile friendly, tourists will find one that is.
White describes the increasing demand for ‘local’ as part of a “tourism industry revolution that’s here to stay”.
MyTravelResearch.com has released a ‘done-for-you’ tourism marketing plan for businesses of all sizes that want their share of local tourism dollars.