Thoughts for tourism businesses

3 06 2008

I won’t pretend to be an expert in tourism marketing, but at the same time and considering the drop in visitor numbers to Wales and the current Credit Crunch, I’ve given some thought as to how businesses in this sector can start to take practical actions to counter the current economic situation.

Having spoken with many people who run their own businesses I am aware that investing in marketing can often be seen as an expensive luxury and often the results can be disappointing. So for this feature I will outline things that tourism businesses can consider doing to help improve their marketing without having to spend any money.

So here are my FREE marketing thoughts for tourism businesses:

  • How many times do you let the phone ring before you answer it? This is important because the customer at the other end of the line is WAITING for you. Try and set a standard in your business to have the phone answered professionally within 2 rings every time. Immediately your caller will get a good first impression of your business and you will already be winning their confidence and hopefully their booking.
  • Old fashioned but true, remember to smile when you are talking on the phone. You will sound more pleasant, which again your caller will find welcoming and will give another good first impression of your business.
  • Don’t let eMails go un-answered. I’ve been waiting 2 days for a reply to an eMail I sent to a business I was prepared to spend money with. When they do reply it’s highly unlikely I will place an order with them. Please do not let this happen to you, ensure all eMail enquiries are answered as soon as possible and wherever possible within the same working day. Again this will make your business appear well organised and efficient, which will give your potential customers confidence to place a booking with you.
  • Review your Web site and ask others  to review it as well. Importantly check to see if you are presenting all the relevant information you need to. For example, if you will accept pets, do you say so? If you offer vegetarian menu options again ensure this is featured on your Web site. But providing extra, pertinent information you will be adding selling points to your Web site that could well be enough to gain the booking.
  • Add local information to your Web site. This will help to give visitors more reasons to book to stay with you as they will be able to see what they can do in the local area during their visit.
  • Talk to local attractions, they may well be in need of extra visitors and could be happy to run a promotion so that your guests can be offered a discount. You can promote this on your site, it makes your accommodation look to be better value and gives visitors to your site an extra reason to book with you.
  • Enhance your service. Be proactive and enquire when guests are likely to arrive, if its late you could consider offering to have a tray of sandwiches for them. Ensure they are great sandwiches as this will be an opportunity to impress and generate some extra income. Your guests will greatly appreciate your effort and their stay will have been enhanced.
  • Do you offer packed lunches? With many properties in rural locations, you no doubt have guests who will be spending the day in the outdoors often far from shops, cafes and pubs. In this instance your guests could well appreciate being able to preorder a packed lunch from you. Again, a great opportunity to generate more income and impress your visitors by preparing a good quality packed lunch.

These are just a few small steps that can add polish to the halo of your business. But they will be noticed and felt by your visitors. This should help you to win bookings and also ensure that guests will have their stay with you enhanced. This in-turn can help you to gain extra word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat bookings.

I’m sure any seasoned professionals running their own tourism businesses will be able to think of lots of other ways they can enhance their product without getting the cheque book out and I would welcome any comments and will gladly publish them to help Welsh tourism businesses during the current economic downturn.

 

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