Author: Nkanyiso Khumalo
There are two things that will always be true about tourists: they want unforgettable experiences and their currency is stronger than ours, which means that they have money to spend. This makes tourism lucrative for businesses, especially here where it is a billion-rand industry that accounts for 4.5% of the employed population. But, as with all businesses, success in the tourism trade is not guaranteed; you have to make sure that your customers can find you and choose you over your competition.
If you’re looking for business growth from foreigners, you should consider these marketing basics.
The search engine is the Yellow Pages of the internet age. And the same question that was asked about businesses that weren’t listed in the Yellow Pages 25 years ago can be asked about businesses with no online presence today: how do your customers find you? A website is non-negotiable and SEO (search engine optimisation) is highly recommended, because even the best-looking site is useless if your customers can’t find you with a quick Google search.
You should also consider PPC (pay-per-click) marketing as a good way to target potential customers. Facebook and Google both have easy-to-use PPC to effectively concentrate ad campaigns that can be targeted according to age, gender, interests, geographic location, job description and associated brands.
The most important part of attracting tourists to your business online is making it as easy as possible for them to pay for their bookings. With a solution like NightsBridge, you will be connected to several booking services, which will give you visibility on platforms like Booking.com and Expedia. NightsBridge also helps turn your business’ website into a 24-hour booking portal and payment management system, making it a valuable asset for a business like yours.
Ask your customers what they think
Websites like TripAdvisor are considered the only source of reliable information – all based on user reviews. Their ratings have a significant influence on how people choose where to stay when they travel. But if you’re clever about how you use such sites, you can turn them in to marketing tools for your business.
It’s important to ask your customers to review your business. The more reviews you get (among other factors), the higher your ranking in Google Places. Don’t worry if some of the reviews are not all positive. Every negative review gives you an opportunity to engage with a customer, hopefully prevent them from turning away from your business, and perhaps even win over a few new ones.
Offline, getting yourself rated by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa also helps to establish your credibility among customers (and also provides valuable tax benefits).
Use the power of email marketing
The 2017 Email Marketing Industry Census by Adestra and eConsultancy, that surveyed 1 200 marketers worldwide, reveals that email marketing produces the highest ROI of all marketing channels – this is now a three-year trend. While there is no formula to creating high-impact email campaigns, there are some success stories you can learn from. OneDayOnly, for instance, use cheesy (but still funny) subject lines and themed promotions to get people to open their daily newsletter – an impressive feat. YuppieChef marketing emails show that they have a clear content plan and their emails are as visually appealing as their deals are irresistible.
Delight your customers
In a crowded market place, it’s important to stand out from your competitors and the only way to do that is to offer something that no one else can. By doing so, you’re more likely to be able to win over a customer and keep them. So, what can you offer that no one else can? Perhaps it’s free WiFi, an award-winning kitchen, or rare art collection. Whatever it is, make that your unique selling point. And if you don’t have one, find one. For example, if your customers complain about local transport being too expensive, partner with a cab service and offer them discounted rides to all the local attractions. And of course, you must be able to take payment in whatever form your customer wants to pay.
Paycorp’s point-of-sale terminals allow you to take both debit and credit card payments. With their range of desktop and portable devices as well as a mobile POS solution, ZipZap you’ll be able to offer your customers a convenient and safe way to pay for your much-needed and loved service.