By Simon Van Wyk, Head of Agency, Tourism Solved
First a disclaimer! This article is not a recipe for surviving Coronavirus because we’ve seen a lot of those. The only thing I’m going to say about Covid-19 is what stimulated me to write this article.
We have a neighborhood coffee shop. It’s like Cheers (The Old TV series – where everyone knows your name) and there is a regular gathering of regulars. It’s very popular and quite busy. We are all in lockdown and hospitality has been particularly hard hit. There was not much these guys could do but they did everything possible. They created a simple take away menu that could be ordered online, then introduced a range of basics that they sold online.
None of this is going to replace the lost revenue but habits are hard to form and easy to break so maintaining engagement with regular and loyal customers is critical. So the owner comes up with a daily recipe to feed the family and he videos himself doing the preparation. All of this gives people an opportunity to stay engaged.
The only reason they are able to do this is they were already doing a lot of this. They have done the exercises and are digital fit. That means they have been able to rethink their strategy and just roll out a strategy better suited for the current environment. That’s actually the point of digital fitness – once you are in this position you can move quickly and pivot to suit the market.
I’ve been doing audits of tour and attraction websites and digital strategies for the past weeks. I’ve also tried to get a new search and social campaign up and running and eventually had to employ a specialist resource to remove a data hack from the site. Google would not start this campaign until it was fixed. Imagine the cost of this if we were past the current issues and people were booking again. It would be really expensive.
So what can you do right now? Here is a simple recipe:
1. Fix Google My Business. This is the easiest, cheapest (free) way to ensure your business is more visible in organic search, in local search, and on the maps. It’s a no brainer way to get more traffic to your website. Remember people have dreams when they have time and you want to be part of the dreams.
2. Tidy up your site for mobile. Google provides a simple way to make sure your site is ready for the mobile customer. It’s the medium most people will use to find your site so get ready now.
3. Fix your site tags. This is an easy job but when I did my audits more than 75% of the sites did not have both Google tags and the Facebook Pixel. Why would you bother? Facebook and Google provide the perfect combination of tools to find and communicate with prospects. You need to use both. It’s a quick and easy fix.
4. Add email subscriptions to your website. You’ll find you need to give something of value to get an email address. This is called a Lead Magnet. It’s easy for the travel industry. Imagine you run a bike hire business in New York. Create a PDF of the “Perfect Romantic Day in New York” Write the content, make it into a PDF and let people download it in exchange for their email. If you have an email list already ask them for a review and get fresh reviews on your Google My Business listing.
5. Start publishing content to Facebook and boost this content. It’s a quick and easy way to better understand the problems and processes. Use your mobile for video. You probably have the time and you are lucky you have interesting products. Write about the history of your business, write all the questions people ask and answer them. Post this online.
6. Start some low-level campaigns on Facebook and Google. You might think it’s a waste of money but it’s wont’ be. It’ll give you the time to actually understand whether you have any problems and issues and you’ll get to resolve them.
These things are simple and can be done quickly. They will help get your business ready for when this passes and people are traveling again. It’s Digital Fitness and it’s worth the trouble.