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Coronavirus and the tourism industry: Marketing tips to support your business

By March 19, 2020 Stories
Media Mortar | 5 marketing activities you can put in place to support your tourism business

We’ve been asked a lot this week about our top marketing tips during this time of crisis.

There’s no doubt about it, the corona crisis is unprecedented.

For tourism operators across the world, it’s devastating.

For tourism operators in Australia, excruciating.

And for our Queensland clients who’ve come off the back of seven years of drought, only to be hit with bushfires and floods back to back, it’s crippling.

But in the darkest tourism times, there is hope. Where there are challenges, there are opportunities.

And we believe for tourism operators in Queensland, the opportunities lay in content marketing.

Here’s our marketing tips for why:

Time is your new best friend

Media Mortar | Time is your new best friend

⁠What we know about tourism businesses now is that they are slow (understatement of 2020, or what?). What we know about content marketing, is it’s time-consuming.

You now have the opportunity to use this perfect storm to your advantage and knuckle down to write that marketing strategy (here’s a DIY one we prepared earlier) you’ve never had time to do before.

Your new marketing KPI is awareness (be real, you’re not converting anyone in self-isolation), which in content marketing terms, has a lot to do with showing up consistently.

We always say good content marketing is 99% momentum, and you finally have time to build yours.

Like anything with momentum, the first step is always the hardest. Here are our top five marketing tips to get started:

1. Think big, strategise and pivot

Media Mortar - Think big and strategiseWe get it – it’s easy to run gym classes online, package up food into take away containers and host webinars instead of conferences. But how the hell do you pack up an accommodation business with bricks and mortar in a time of crisis? Truth is, you can’t.

But what you can do is re-think how your customer experience looks. Consider how your customers book and if you can frontload booking deposits to ensure if this happens again, you have more money in the bank.

You might want to consider instead of the usual “pay two, stay three” style deals, are there offers you can put to market like “book and pay now, stay later” to bring cash back into the bank?

Can you offer accommodation to high-risk people who live-in high-risk areas, to wade out the corona-storm with you at a low-cost tariff? Therein pivoting your business into long-stay accommodation for now.

You can also look at your revenue streams – what we know is our tourism clients with a foot in the business market were the last to feel corona’s impact, while the leisure market was first hit.

Audit your business and ask is there another way you could bring in revenue to your business?

2. Schedule like you’re going to be inundated for the rest of the year, because truth is, you probably will be

Media Mortar - Social media schedulingSocial media is one of the biggest time-drains on your day-to-day operations (spoken like true social media managers), so use your self-isolation time to get organised with future-content.

Map out your content using a social media scheduling tool so that when things pick up (which all tourism experts say it will and in a big way), you’ll be ready and waiting with Instagram and Facebook posts to serve your digital customers, while you’re busy serving IRL ones. ⁠

If you’re unsure what scheduling looks like, we have a manual planner available for download, but we personally schedule all of our Media Mortar and client content digitally via a platform called Later. We believe is the best scheduler in market, and you can trust us, we’ve tried THEM ALL.

Don’t let your scheduling timing put you off – you can always shuffle your posts around if things change. Scheduling isn’t set in cement.

3. Write those blog posts

Media Mortar - Marketing tips - Write those blog postsYou know those long-form stories that your SEO specialist is always talking about, but you never have time to complete? Self-isolation is just how every freelance writer actually works – now’s your time to give it a go.

If you’re wondering what to write about – start by collating a list of your frequently asked questions in your tourism business. Find out what people are worried about and package them into a blog post.

Your customer is the best focus group you’ll ever have. As an example, the question we’ve been getting throughout COVID-19 is ‘what should I be doing’ – and this post was born out of that.

Batch content over this period to distribute over the year. If you’re in need of some thought-starters, finish these sentences:

  • X things you never knew about Y
  • X best things to do in Y
  • 48 hours in X- X reasons to visit in summer, autumn, winter, spring

4. ⁠Write that website re-development brief for later

Media Mortar - Marketing tips - Write that website briefWe understand that contracting a web-developer to re-design your whole site is outside booouuuu-getttt (read in a French accent), but writing a brief and getting really clear on how you’d like it to look like won’t cost you a cent.

Spend your time trawling your site and determining what works, what doesn’t and what you’d like to change.

Research your competitors, play on their websites, take screen grabs of what you like about them and then build yourself a website brief.

When cashflow is back to normal levels or the government drops a round of digital grants to corona-affected tourism businesses, you’ll be all “here’s one I prepared earlier.”

Whether you decide to completely overhaul the website or just tweak little tiny bits, well, that’s up to you.

5. Tidy your email contact lists

Media Mortar - Tidy your email contact lists Cleaning your database is about as fun as washing your car but it’s SO important for making sure your message is delivered into the right hands.

Use your newfound time to tidy yours up, divide it into groups (segments) so you can send more targeted newsletters moving forward.

Won’t your audience be caught by surprise when your next email opens with “Hi Hannah” rather than “Hi” with your new personalisation under way.

Jaws will hit the floor when their normal booking triggers an automated sales funnel, which sends an automatic confirmation, and then a week out of travel information about the destination, restaurants to book and things to see and do before they arrive.

We know times are tough, but time is your greatest gift now. How you choose to use it, is up to you.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’re happy to help whoever is in need of marketing tips – reach out to us hello@mediamortar.com.au

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.