The good thing about marketing mistakes is that you can learn from them.
The even better thing about mistakes, is they don’t even have to be your own to be a learning opportunity.
That’s why we’re lifting the lid on the biggest tourism marketing mistakes we encounter, on repeat.
Before you start executing your tourism marketing plans, make sure you’re not falling into one of these common pitfalls.
1. Just a reminder, TVCs were designed for the TV. Keep them there
Don’t get us wrong, we’re all about content efficiencies, but sharing content that’s not fit for channel isn’t just poor marketing practice, it’s a disaster.
And marketers should know better when the clue is in the name. TVC stands for Television Commercial, which is indeed where they should be distributed.
Rather than produce one style of video to rule them all, a better approach is to seek advice from your production agency on how to create multiple cuts so you have a different version for social – something purpose-built for the small screen.
Since each channel has very different audiences (and audience behaviour), you’ll find you get much more out of your video if you make it fit for purpose, rather than channel agnostic.
2. Exclusively using elderly models in your photos because you want to target the grey nomad market
You know who likes looking in the mirror? Very few people.
Just because your visitors are senior citizens, doesn’t mean they want to identify as seniors and have their age marketed back at them.
To use an entirely white-haired cast to promote your new tour is quite frankly ageist and offensive, and flies in the face of what you were really trying to do; create diversity in your ads.
While we’re not advocating 20-year-old coat hangers in your ads, just remember that diversity is only achieved by being truly diverse.
Instead of going for one couple with white hair, opt for a range of ages and ethnicities next time you’re planning a shoot.
3. Not sending emails because you don’t personally read the eNewsletters you subscribe to
I’m going to let you in on a secret – I don’t like bananas. But just because I don’t like bananas doesn’t mean they aren’t a $1.3billion industry to Australia.
And the same goes for eNewsletters.
To say they don’t work just because you don’t read them is completely unscientific and based on a market research study of one person – you.
It’s well-recorded email marketing returns on average $44 for every $1 spent on it, suggesting email marketing still wears the content marketing crown.
Sure, if you’ve experimented and learnt that email marketing is not for you, that’s one thing. But to base your entire marketing strategy on your own taste, is not only not strategic, but a sure-fire way for your marketing efforts to stagnate and stay the same.
4. A website that looks like it was built on dial up
You know what the world is full of? Terrible websites and unfortunately, some of the worst offenders come from the accommodation industry.
Remember, everything communicates, but none more so than your communications tools.
Have you ever wondered what customers think when they land on an outdated website?
For me, I think if you don’t renovate your website, which is arguably a cheap cost of doing business, I can’t imagine what your rooms are like (the cost of which to renovate is substantially more).
No matter what industry you work in, website updates are just like lodging your tax return – they are just a cost of doing business.
5. Not having online booking or integrated availability calendars
I can’t tell you how many tourism websites I look at who still don’t have online booking, or some sort of real-time availability on their website.
We all know customers are time poor and want their answers straight away. Not having instantaneous booking isn’t your way of teaching them to be patient, it’s your way of giving your competitors a free swing at your revenue.
If customers can’t determine if you have availability, they’ll bounce to the next business who can tell them.
Competitor = 1. You = 0.
Price and complex technology used to be a barrier to entry, but not anymore.
Now everyone down to your local hairdresser and café, has some sort of calendar integration these days and there are low-cost third-party apps that plug into just about every CMS.
6. Moving to tactics with no strategy in place
The most powerful question anyone can ever ask around a marketing strategy table is, “why”?
It’s such a simple question and yet so seldom asked – and would have saved so many terrible campaigns from being released into the wild.
If you don’t know why you’re doing your marketing activity, it’s probably a good idea to put your ‘big idea’ on the shelf until you do.
Product (whether that’s social media, a new website, TVC or influencer campaign) with no purpose is not strategic marketing.
It’s just noise and there’s plenty of other things that make noise that cost a lot less … like whistles.
To get you started, here’s our DIY strategy builder.
7. These six words ‘we’ve always done it that way’
I’ve seen plenty of ways to kill a good idea, but none are more effective as these six fatal words: ‘we’ve always done it that way’.
We all know nothing changes if nothing changes, so don’t go expecting new results from the same outputs.
Before going down the creative road, ask yourself if you’re willing to change what you’re doing.
If not, probably best not to engage outside ideas or an agency to save yourself those six words and all of their time.
8. Overcooking (or undercooking) your social media photos
Without sounding like Goldilocks, there’s an art to getting your social media photos just right. They don’t need too much production value, but not too little either.
Before booking the stylist, make sure you consider the purpose of your shoot and put that front and centre.
We’ve seen plenty of shoots go completely belly up, when the subject of the photograph became a secondary objective in the creative throes of making content magic.
A tight brief is a good brief, which is why we’ve designed you this brief template which is adaptable to any contractor you’re working with.
No matter what activity you’re about to kick off, remember, making mistakes is totally fine. Just so long as you learn from them.
For more common pitfalls and how to avoid them, you might like to read:
By Hannah Statham
Hannah Statham is The Boss at Media Mortar. She’s a heavy weight wordsmith, punching with puns, analogies and metaphors that leave readers wanting more. When she’s not refreshing her Instagram feed, you’ll find Hannah walking her rescue greyhound Olivia.