According to a recent study by Travelodge, 7 out of 10 Brits plan on holidaying at home this summer, compared with fewer than 3 in 5 in 2018. This year alone, it’s thought these ‘staycationers’ will boost the UK economy by £40 billion. So, if you’re a local business, how do you get in on the action?
The small business experts at Opus Energy share their tips on how to market your business to British holiday makers.
Gone are the days where people sit with a travel agent to choose their holiday. These days, most people do their research about a place online. Therefore, it’s important your website looks the part. Make sure it’s easy to use, includes up to date information and good quality images and videos to show your business off. Make sure you put yourself in your customer’s shoes, what would you want to know before purchasing, booking or visiting you? Try to answer these questions on your website.
As a website acts as a shop window for many businesses, it’s also important it can be found by potential customers while they’re searching online. That’s where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes in. SEO is the process of increasing the quantity of visits to your website by increasing its visibility to users in the search engine.
It can be hard to know where to start, so check out this article for some more hints and tips.
2. Social media
Social media is a very cost-effective and targeted way of engaging with potential customers. Before you sign up to every platform though, think about where your audience might be; you might not necessarily need a presence on all platforms. However, according to Facebook, 68% of millennials came across ideas for a trip away on Facebook, so it’s worth investigating which platform is best for you.
Make sure you’re posting interesting, creative and visually appealing content that your audience will want to engage with. Tailor this content for each platform you’re posting on, as you can’t expect the same post to work across all channels. Monitor how many people are interacting with your posts too, and if something has worked particularly well, do it again.
Remember, social media is best used as a two-way form of communication, so try to encourage your customers to share their experience on social too. For example, if you own a holiday cottage with stunning views, then encourage holiday makers to share their Instagram-worthy snaps, tagging you in the process. Perhaps you could turn this into a competition?
Finally, think about setting a bit of budget aside for boosting your social posts and for social advertising. Consider the location of your potential audience and plan your boosting around that. I.e. if you’re aiming at staycationers, then cast your net further afield and don’t target those living close by.
Consider extending your reach by partnering with sites such as Groupon or Vouchercloud. Using sites like these could expose your business to more ready-to-buy customers with many on the hunt for local discounts ahead of their holiday. These sites are a great way of appealing to those holiday makers, just make sure you set appropriate limits on the number of vouchers sold, including restrictions to control how people can use their deals; this is especially important for small businesses. Make sure you’re signed up to sites such as Booking.com and Last Minute.com too.
You could also look to partner with other local businesses to promote restaurants or activities within your local area. This is a great way to promote not just your business, but it also helps to generate interest in the community as a whole, giving travellers even more reason to come and visit you.
Customer reviews have become the modern-day word of mouth, and recommendations are an important factor when considering who to book with. It’s therefore imperative that you include recent customer reviews on your website and encourage visitors to share their experience on sites such as Trip Advisor. You can encourage this by simply asking. Why not drop your recent customers an email telling them how much you value their feedback and ask them to review your business? Additionally, make sure you give them a reason to leave a glowing review. Customers want to feel valued, so think about any little touches you can add to their experience that will make their visit even better. The smallest of treats can make the biggest difference.
Whilst you’re bound to receive some negative reviews (even if you’ve done everything to mitigate this), it’s important to handle these appropriately. For example, by apologising and offering to take the conversation offline, you can try to defuse the situation and show other holiday makers that you take these reviews seriously.
5. The basics
Don’t forget the basics; traditional marketing remains important too and local businesses should ensure they have flyers at local tourism offices, are listed in directories, and have up to date information on Google.
You could also consider running competitions to engage with your audience in a fun way. These can be promoted on your social channels, website or by partnering with a travel blogger for example.
Whether it’s day trippers, weekend sight seers or week-long holiday makers, the opportunity is huge, and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. So, make sure you’re making the most of this summer’s holiday makers by getting your business in front of the right people.