After the pandemic derailed many travel plans, a lot of people are planning to resume their trips for tourists in the new normal. In the United States alone, 37% of adult respondents have said they’re planning to take domestic and international trips in 2022. According to research, many of these plans are being booked online. In fact, online travel bookings for products and services are expected to grow by 6.2% in 2023.
With that in mind, having an online presence is now non-negotiable for any business hoping to profit from tourism’s resurgence. However, building an online presence that attracts and converts isn’t the same as it was pre-pandemic. To effectively draw in today’s tourists, here are some considerations to make:
Underscore your local authenticity
According to research, what makes a destination competitive is its niche position in the global market. When looking for a new place to visit, tourists look for unique culture, architecture, gastronomy, landscape, and shopping among others. The more distinctly a location can set itself apart in these areas, the likelier they are to attract tourists. As such, your online presence should similarly highlight the same one-of-a-kind regional qualities. The more authentically local your branding is, the more it will be deemed valuable and worth trying among discerning tourists. Even if the services you offer aren’t distinctly localized, finding a way to represent your heritage in your branding will make you more memorable in an online search.
Prioritize being helpful to visitors
Most tourists are not going to be familiar with the nuances and subtleties that may be common knowledge in your region. Thus, it’s important to be helpful and welcoming to visitors from all walks of life. For instance, when selling to tourists, try to explain the history, instructions, maintenance, and special delivery options that accompany each product. This way, there are fewer chances of any important and value-adding information getting lost in translation. Plus, the more complete your online information is, the less cause there is for tourists to take their business elsewhere. If you offer chat options online, make sure to be just as efficient when answering queries. Provide concise yet complete answers, offer solutions to any pain points, and be especially warm. When your online persona is credible, helpful, and friendly, people are more likely to trust you and be loyal to you.
Educate yourself on communication trends
Due to ever-changing factors like the social climate, technological advancements, and pop culture, the ways that communications are best shared and consumed online are always shifting. Keeping updated with these communication trends ensures that your approach to content is always timely and appropriate. Thankfully, there are several ways that a business can effectively follow such trends and rapid changes. One way is by subscribing to online trendsetters from a similar field. Following these brands may give insight into the newest trends that you can quickly adopt yourself. Another more in-depth way is to undergo communications training. A quick option is via short courses on online content creation. These non-degree classes can teach skills like copywriting or social media marketing.
For those who want a more in-depth upskilling, higher education is providing training for tourism leaders in the post-pandemic world. Colleges and universities around the world are redesigning their curriculum to get managers up-to-speed for operational success in the revitalized tourism industry. Part of this new curriculum is upskilling managers to be socially and emotionally savvy to “enable employees to create and grow client/guest relationships”. One way this is being done is through online programs in communication, which train students in the latest trends related to content creation, market research, and digital marketing. Tourism leaders can use these skills to keep their online presence agile, interesting, and scalable. Being able to keep on top of the current communications trends implies that you’re a fresh and relevant business worth transacting with.
Enhance your cybersecurity measures
The tourism and travel industry ranks third among sectors with the highest cybercrime incidents. Common attacks—which include phishing, malware, and ransomware—can cripple you and your customers. To prevent these incidents, it’s better to have a proactive cybersecurity plan in place. Aside from your usual anti-virus and cybersecurity provider, this includes tailored cybersecurity training for your team.
Even if you’re working with just a handful of people, it’s crucial that everyone is well-versed in cybersecurity practices. On top of this, do share your cybersecurity efforts with visitors. Data breaches are among the most common worries of travellers. Especially as more important documents and financial information are sent digitally to tourist destinations. From banking to transportation and lodging, most travellers rely on digital transactions during their trips. This makes many extra wary of online sites and entities. By assuring them that they won’t be compromised on your site, you’re immediately increasing your transparency and reliability.
With a well-rounded and mindful online presence, you can be a prime standout among tourists as domestic and international tourism gets reinvigorated.