Digital marketing in tourism: a primer

Digital marketing in tourism: a primer

Tourism is one of the highest online search categories and it is estimated that nearly 70% of holidaying decisions now involve the internet at some stage in the process.

Internet use in tourism was previously mainly confined to pre-departure research. These days we have seen a soaring use of the internet for the whole decision-making process, right through to online booking.

Many people reading this article will already have a website for their product and may participate in some form of digital marketing.

Search Engine Optimization

Having a website without having it Search Engine Optimized (SEO) has been likened to printing a box of brochures for your product and leaving them undistributed in the back room. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of influencing search engines in order to improve rankings and to secure top positions for keywords. When performed effectively, SEO can improve website rankings, boost brand awareness, increase and drive high quality website traffic and increase conversions. The global search market generates over 100 billion searches per month, so you can see why you need to maintain profile when marketing online. Within time, the web crawlers will find your site and rank it, but it will be a slow process and the key words and description they attach to it may not really reflect what the product is all about.

Using links

Search engines also analyze a website’s links when assessing its relevance. Link building drives website credibility in search engines, accounting for about 80% of ranking criteria.

Internal links

If you have links on your website, search engines look for the:

  • quantity of links
  • quality of links
  • link text or anchor text

The stronger the association between the link text and the content on the link, the higher the link is rated.

Measuring the results of being online

A business website should be viewed as a marketing tool and, like any marketing tool, you need to measure its success and your return-on-investment. It is done automatically once you have installed an analytics program.

Website analytics tools measure the:

  • growth in the number of prospects – that is the number of unique visits to your website as well as people visiting your site multiple times,
  • growth in the number of click-throughs, showing what words or terms were used to find your site in a search engine, or whether people reached there from another site,
  • level of prospect engagement, that is the time spent on the website, on particular pages, how people navigated around your site and how long they stayed on each page
  • the success of particular links,
  • the success of your SEO or keyword strategy.

Take note of:

  • Words used to find your website. Do these words match the words you’ve used in your other marketing activities?
  • The growth in activity and timing of this growth. For example, whether the growth was the same day, next day, or two days later than your other activities.

This information will give you an indication of how successful your other activities have been.

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