The act of planning and marketing an event in a town, region, or nation with the intention of luring domestic and/or foreign tourists is known as events tourism. An event can be anything from a music festival to a sporting event to a religious occasion (like the Holi festival in India, also known as the “Festival of Colour”), as well as from the arts to charitable causes to food and drink. In addition to being a significant contribution to the world economy, event tourism also falls under the tourism category and is a subject of study related to events management.
Events can help prompt domestic growth. A successful event can help boost the area via media exposure and, in turn, attract future visitors, provide local jobs, and help make a case for local infrastructure improvements. The benefits that events bring to a country’s economy are why many tourism boards have taken it upon themselves to help promote them.
As a tour operator, having events in your area can prove highly beneficial to you and your business. Take advantage of this extra surplus of possible customers and consider marketing your tours and activities toward those attending the event. If you don’t match the specific event hosted, creating special tours to capture that audience could work too. Take into account how long people will be staying in your area, what time of year will it be, what they’re there for, and what you envision they’d like to see.
The four primary categories of events include niche events, athletic events with spectator participation, cultural events, and significant international sporting events. Sporting events were the most popular events in the UK in 2019, according to Statista(opens in a new tab), with approximately 69 million people watching a live football game. Another live athletic event (other than football) drew 45 million spectators, a live music performance/event drew 42 million, and an alternative arts/cultural event drew 32 million.
Niche events can include elements associated with a country, region, or culture. Anything art, food, drink, business, sport, etc related. Pop-up events like local farmers markets, an international expo/conference, a salsa class, and group yoga sessions in the park are some examples.
Participatory sporting events are another draw to many places around the world. Marathons, the UK’s Tough Mudder obstacle and mud run course, or Western Australia’s Ironman race are prime examples of these.
Signature cultural events are fun as there are so many examples to pick from. These must-see events draw people from all over the world and some stand-out events include Oktoberfest in Munich, Japan’s sakura (cherry blossom) season, Edinburgh’s world-famous Fringe Festival, the beautiful Loy Krathong festival (Thai lantern festival), or La Tomatina (Spain’s celebrated tomato throwing festival).
And last but not least, international sporting events. These are the events that are broadcast across the world on TV and social media and make huge sums of money for their respective hosts and draw millions of viewers across the globe. Examples include the Olympics, the Champions League, Wimbledon, the Superbowl, the Masters, the Rugby World Cup, and so much more.
There are a few broad rules you can follow if you’re planning to hold a modest regional event. It’s time to market your funding when you’ve obtained it. Depending on the type of event, the marketing plan will vary, but to get you started, consider these basic suggestions:
1. Make your event look inviting. Whether you’re promoting your event via social media, your website, in a shop window, or on online boards, you want to sell your event with a creative, enticing description. This description could be the deciding factor between someone going to your event or walking away from it.
- The description should be clear, imagine you’ve never heard of your event before, then describe it as concisely as you can.
- Break up the text, no one likes chunky paragraphs, especially when reading online.
Add an FAQ section, and make sure you cover all the questions you feel any possible
- attendee would have to dispel any doubts and encourage a smooth booking process.
2. Ensure your posts are SEO-friendly. Having the correct headlines in place, meta titles/data, permalinks, and strategically placed keywords throughout your descriptions is imperative to help drive organic traffic to your website. There is endless material online to help get the basics down.
3. Expand your horizons and look to post/promote your event on influencer’s pages. Influencers these days have extensive reach and if you find someone suitable that will promote to your audience, it will only do you good. Another option is Facebook groups. Nowadays, there’s a Facebook group for everything and if you find one that fits into your niche event, get posting! If your event celebrates the country’s culture, consider searching for foreigners living in that country. It’s a great opportunity to market to a precise target audience.
Events play an important role in tourism for many reasons but aside from the financial aspect, events bring people together in celebration of culture, sport, music, food and drink, and more.
How do You Market a Tourist Attraction?
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), travel and tourism grew by 3.9 percent in 2018; generated $8.8 trillion in revenue; and created 319 million jobs. Those are some pretty big stats.
In order to compete in such a growing and lucrative industry, you need a rockstar marketing strategy. A strategy to get more eyes on your brand, and consequently, more customers.
A marketing strategy is essentially an overarching plan to achieve one’s marketing goals and objectives. In plain terms, it is a plan that guarantees that your marketing tactics are constantly contributing to your business goals.
Read Also: Effective International Tourism Management
Tactics, on the other hand, consist of highly practical marketing activities that you do every day. For example, posting to social media, writing blog posts, sending emails, etc.
1. Understand Your Customers
The first thing you need to do is to understand your ideal customers.
You need to know their demographic information; as well as what drives them to book and how they prefer to book. Questions to ask yourself during this brainstorming session are: What motivates them [your ideal customer] to travel? Where do they find information about their destination? How do they prefer to book? What annoys them about the research and booking process?
You can build at least 3 customer personas from your answers to those questions. You can then develop your branding, website and marketing strategy around the personas. Keep your unique selling point and what drives you as a business in mind. You’ll need to convey that in an appealing way to reach your customers on a more personal level.
2. Optimize Your Website
Your website is the foundation for all your internet marketing efforts. As such, you should optimize it frequently to improve user experience and boost your conversion rates. If your site performs poorly on mobile, is cluttered, too slow, or just too old, you definitely need to optimize it. You can test your site performance and speed with the SEO Grader tool.
Perhaps you already do all that and your site is well-designed and well-functioning. But is it optimized for clicks and conversions? In that case, it may be a good idea to call in an expert (with industry knowledge) to help you make the right optimizations.
3. Focus on Mobile
According to Think with Google, 48 percent of US smartphone users are comfortable researching, planning and booking their entire trip on their mobile devices. The stats are similar in Europe: 45 percent of UK travelers and 44 percent of French travelers are comfortable planning and booking their entire trip on their mobile devices.
What does this tell us?
That the mobile experience should be as good as the website experience, if not better. Users need to be able to perform the same tasks, as comfortably, on their mobile devices as they can on the desktop version of your website.
To highlight the importance of the mobile experience, the same Think with Google study found that 33 percent of mobile users have a negative perception of a brand if their mobile experience is slow.
That says a lot.
4. Be Social
Social media is one of the most effective marketing channels for the tourism industry. That’s if you choose the right platform (where your customers are) and set up a strategy for each platform.
Facebook is perhaps the best social media platform for tour and activity providers, in terms of driving traffic to a website. It’s a crowded social network but you can find your tribe by using specific targeting and advertising.
Instagram has one billion monthly active users. That’s a lot of people to get your brand in front of. Additionally, Instagram is a purely visual platform which makes it the perfect medium to market a destination.
Instagram launched IGTV in 2018 to host vertical long-term video content on mobile devices. The platform has experienced tremendous growth since its launch, as marketers and brands have become increasingly reliant on mobile video content to boost engagement metrics and conversion rates.
5. Live Video Marketing
Video marketing is king right now, especially for brands in the tourism sector. Travelers are frequently searching for videos of destinations they want to travel to. The problem is that they no longer want just pre-recorded videos.
Live streaming videos are getting more and more popular. Your potential customers probably love watching them (research shows that 82 percent of people prefer to watch live videos over social media posts); while you get to lower your video production costs and show your authenticity as a brand.
Let’s take a look at a brand that gets live video streaming right: Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. They have a 24/7 live beachcam to show customers the beach fun they’re missing out on. They simply set up a camera and put on a live feed.
6. Send Those Emails
Your email list is the only (and most valuable) marketing asset you own. It is more powerful than other marketing strategies: It converts better than both social and search.
So if you don’t have an active email list, you need to start building one. You should ideally have a subscription form on your website to invite website visitors into your inner online community. From there, you can connect with them again and convert them into paying customers.
Here are the ins and outs of email marketing for tour and activity providers.
7. Accept Online Bookings
According to Zion Market Research, the online travel booking market was worth 765 billion USD in 2017 and is expected to generate 1,955 billion USD by 2026. In addition to that, over 57 percent of all travel reservations (including accommodation, tours and activities, flights, etc.) are made online.
Travelers have a lot of online resources and tools at hand to research, review deals, and choose the best travel deals for them. If you want yours to be one of the travel deals they book, you need to meet them where they are: they’re booking travel deals online so you need to facilitate online bookings on your website.
To start getting bookings online, you’ll need a booking system embedded to your website. Try Regiondo – it’s the most popular booking system in Europe that lets you grow your revenue and automate everyday reservation tasks. Book a demo and our experts will guide you through the platform and answer all your questions.
8. Tap into The Power of Reviews
Review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Local are perfect for building up an online presence and reputation. Consider getting on one, or a couple of notable ones. Make sure to respond to all reviews – both negative and positive – to acknowledge that you’re listening and hearing every single feedback.
Reviews not only increase consumer confidence in your brand and products, but user-generated content, in general, can help boost your website ranking and conversion rates.
9. Blog, Consistently
Your customers want to hear from you. They want knowledge and insights from you, i.e. a blog. Blogging is a good way to tell stories, share unique insights about the destination, share travel tips, etc. It’s also a good way to reel in your audience and advertise your expertise in the field. If you do not currently have a blog, create one and blog on a consistent schedule.
10. Get SEO Right
SEO is more important today for tour and activity providers than ever before. A typical traveler’s journey today starts with Google. Tourists use search engines to research destinations, accommodation, transport, activities and tours, etc. If your offerings are not on the first page of search results, you don’t exist to a potential customer.
In fact, people joke that the best place to hide corpses is on the second page of Google search results because no one ever goes there. So it’s important to show up in the top search results pertaining to your brand and offerings.
However, competition is high.
It’s not easy to rank on the first page of search engine results for many popular travel keywords. However, the effort is worth it because ranking high in Google search results for a specific keyword is better than running a Facebook ad or a TV commercial.
That is because people don’t use Facebook to buy products or services. However, when they search for specific products and services on Google, they often have an intent to purchase that product or service.
So, if they search for tours and activities in a destination you’re in, they are highly likely to book from you if you show up in the top results. You can check your SEO performance and the keywords you are ranking for with our free SEO grader tool.
Cosmos, a tour operation company in Italy does SEO really well. They even show up in the top search results for the “tours in Italy” keyword on Google.