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The Secret Sauce of Visitor Attraction Marketing

shutterstock_370534421-compressorWe’ll just come right out and say it: Data (we’ll admit it, with us, it’s always data). With over half of all cell phones in the world expected to be smartphones by next year (and that will be about 2 billion people), that means that –at minimum- every other person that walks through an attraction’s turnstile is a highly-targeted prospect for a return visit or referral for a new guest.

But collecting customer data is one thing; putting it to use in effective marketing is another. Here are the emerging industry tactics.

First and foremost, before you do anything, engage. Understanding who your customers are is essential to developing a targeted and effective marketing strategy. Your front of house staff can ask visitors to your museum or visitor attraction to complete a short questionnaire and setting up a survey on Survey Monkey can help to engage with your visitors online and people who may not have visited you yet.

This leads to Relationship Marketing, which builds stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement, versus short term acquisition and individual sales. Relationship marketing in the travel and tourism industry helps build long trusting relationships with customers that will drive word-of-mouth promotions long after a tour or stay and on-going lead generation.

As marketers are now spending up to 50% of their time on content, more and more travel and tourism companies are looking to Automation in their marketing efforts. Using a marketing automation platform makes it easier to schedule consistent emails, segment contacts, automate social media posts, manage batches of content, and track the entire lifecycle of customers.

Attractions with in-house marketing may not have to post on social media every day, or write your own content constantly. Sites such as Hootsuite, Buffer and Edgar allow you to schedule social media posts and applicable content days and weeks out. You can then plan and write out blog articles ahead of time, researching keywords and then scheduling their post dates.

With Location-Based Technology, attractions can create an unforgettable interactive experience for their prospects by targeting them at the initial point of engagement. Location-based technology such as the iBeacon helps make this possible. iBeacons are small inexpensive transmitters that use Bluetooth technology to detect nearby devices that can be housed in retail storefronts/offices, point-of-sale displays, and merchandising areas. Hospitality will likely place them at check-in counters, and those with options in airports and Tourist Information kiosk will have even more advantage to reach users. Tour operators will be getting creative with ways to use iBeacon to reach these potential customers’ devices.

This technology can also be beneficial for tourism and travel event attendees. iBeacons can help with conference sign ups, and engagement in talks, presentations and live event sessions. LinkedIn integration offers the opportunity to connect with users by sending messages through push notifications about the latest news, marketing promotions, announcements, updates, special offers, etc.

It gets even more exciting (or disturbing, depending on your age and/or personality type). Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a small electronic device that contains a chip and antenna, providing a unique identifier tag. RFID enabled wristbands, cards, and apps can enable attendees to interact in new and engaging ways. Event organizers can let visitors easily share their travel experiences with their friends online. Brands can increase social media shares and likes with a single photo tap of the wristband. Travel and tourism companies can offer these to their clients and encourage them to take and share photos, possibly offering a discount or prize to those who share. The accessibility of these social proof generating wristbands will make it easier and more enjoyable for your customers to engage online while enjoying adventures around the world.

Seems like just yesterday we were clipping coupons, doesn’t it? That said, don’t forget couponing. Only these days, it’s called Short Term Marketing. Apps like Snapchat and Instagram aren’t just a tool for fun, once-or-twice marketing experiments anymore; they are real-time social media platforms with a deep engagement and a lot of sales and lead generating potential.

Visitor attractions are using them to deliver integrated destination campaigns that makes users feel connected and enticed to keep coming back for more by offering exclusive irresistible content that expires.

And don’t forget your E-Ticket.

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