This week I was lucky enough to attend an excellent workshop given by Visit England about the state of inbound tourism to England and what small and medium businesses can do to market to international travellers.
It was a jam-packed session with far too much information to cram into one blog, but here are a few key takeaways.
Target your audience
You’ve probably heard it before and you’ll certainly hear it again: targeting the right travellers is vital at all times, but perhaps more so when marketing to inbound tourists. There are a huge array of needs dependent on factors such as where tourists are coming from, how long their stay is, what their interests are, their age, and their culture.
You need to be able to identify who you’re approaching and what they’re looking for. Are they the right audience for your tourism and travel business, or do you need to rethink?
As a small or medium business, you won’t have the budget to execute an effective international marketing plan, even if you really drill down to your precise target market. Look at paying a commission to agents and aggregators, who will have a bigger reach than you. But make sure you do your research and work with someone who is suitable for your requirements and goals.
Create experience packages
A certain type of international tourist (again, it depends on your niche) wants everything bundled up and nicely packaged so they can book their trip at once and have someone else do the leg work. Consider linking up with other companies: holiday accommodation, experience providers, and so on, to create package deals for visitors. Again, make sure it’s relevant and be sure to check out any legal requirements.
Major targets for the English inbound tourism markets include the USA, Germany and France, who each spend, as individual countries, over £2.1billion per year on travel to England! Smaller, but not insignificant, spenders include Spain, Australia, China and India.
Again, this comes down to knowing your target audience. Tourists from different countries tend to travel at different times of the year and plan at varying stages before their visit. Their planning can range from 6 months before they travel to a last-minute booking less than a month before. You need to make sure you’re in a position to be found when they’re looking for your service!
Pricing can be a tricky one – marketing to international travellers will generally cost you more, so do you increase your prices for international travellers and keep them the same for domestic tourists? Visit England recommends not and suggests you create your prices based on a number of factors including competitors’ pricing, cost of distribution, seasonality, profit margin and sustainability. Basically, create your prices based on similar factors as you would for domestic tourists. You just may have to consider different expenses when including international tourists.
I hope this brief blog gives you some ideas for marketing to international visitors. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the above or if you’d be interested in finding out more about how my virtual assistant services can help with the marketing and admin of your tourism business.
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