When it comes to tourism marketing there’s no doubt about it: the vast majority of travelers head online when they want to discover tourism businesses and destinations. But despite the fact that most tourism businesses know they need to show up in Google, have a strong social media presence, and boast a user-friendly website, most business owners struggle to measure if their online tourism marketing tactics are actually yielding tangible results.
So why is it so difficult to measure online marketing success?
The answer is simple: a lack of clear goals. Or, should we say, a lack of SMART goals.
If there is one mistake that small business owners make when trying to market their company online, it’s having zero measurable and attainable goals. It might seem basic, but taking just a few extra moments to go through this step and set the right kind of goals can make a massive difference in your business and revenue. After all, what you can’t measure, you can’t manage—and you can’t improve upon.
**Be sure to read to the end of the post for a FREE download that will help your business create the right goals for lasting success**
Why Your Tourism Marketing Strategy Needs SMART Goals
Running a business is hard work. Chances are, you didn’t start your travel or tourism business to spend all day staring at a computer trying to navigate the realm of marketing. So what we find inevitably happens is that tourism businesses throw up a photo on Facebook here or send out an email there, with no real strategy and no idea of what success from these efforts looks like.
Luckily, there is an easy way to avoid wasting time online or wondering if your tourism marketing tactics are worth the efforts. We call it Your Outcome Expressway.
The Outcome Expressway
The Outcome Expressway is simple:
1. Set a few crystal-clear overarching goals for your business.
When creating your tourism marketing strategy, once you clearly know where you want to go, you can eliminate distractions and ensure that all of your actions are laser-focused on achieving that goal. Before you write down your strategy, decide what success looks like to you.
Do you want more consistent, year-round revenue so you can spend more time with your family? Do you want financial security so you can take your own adventures around the world? Dial in on what success looks like both for your business and your personal life.
2. Set A Few Mid-Range Goals
After you’ve sat down and envisioned the overall goals for the business and lifestyle you desire, create smaller goals that align accordingly and help you to eliminate distractions. This could be increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to key pages on your website, selling more of a specific package or offering…
There are no right or wrong answers, but here is a closer look at the different areas of your business you likely want to strengthen through tourism marketing:
Developing your company’s brand is one way to increase trust with your guests & followers, increasing customer loyalty and guest recommendations. Branding could include improving brand consistency, increasing brand awareness within a target demographic, or building your brand’s voice within the unique niche you serve.
This is more than likely on everyone’s list (as it should be.) Using online tourism marketing to generate more leads includes increasing traffic to your page and engaging with followers through a social media platform to gain more bookings and revenue. You’ll get into the details of this when you make your SMART Goals, but for now, just set this as a mid-range goal.
Online tourism marketing, but specifically content marketing and social media, can be an excellent way to communicate with prospective, present and past clients. Things to think about include getting more online reviews, increasing online engagement and communication within your communities, and responding more quickly to messages, questions and comments. Bettering your business’ customer service is one way to enhance your brand and strengthen customer trust, naturally increasing customer loyalty, recommendations, leads and bookings.
3. Set SMART Goals
This is the step that most tourism businesses forget to include in their tourism marketing strategy. They get clear on their big vision and they have an idea of what mid-range goals they need to focus on, but then they stop before they set specific and measurable goals. Luckily for you, that means you can be one step ahead of the competition by setting SMART goals.
For those of you not familiar with the SMART acronym, here’s what it means:
Since setting SMART Goals is the number one thing most business owners get wrong, we dive into this in detail down below. At the end, we’re also giving you exclusive access to our SMART Goals Success Worksheet.
Word To The Wise: Don’t Focus Solely On Vanity Metrics
Before we jump into SMART Goals, we want to make sure you don’t make another common mistake among business owners: focusing only on vanity metrics. What we mean by vanity metrics is looking at metrics such as likes, followers and traffic ALONE. Anyone can go buy 20,000 Facebook followers, but that’s not going to do anything for your bottom line. Sure, on the surface having masses of social media followers sounds great, but unless your followers are engaged and active on your page, they are never going to actually book. Likes and traffic alone don’t equal bookings and revenue.
How To Set SMART Goals
Now, for your Outcome Expressway to really work, we need to not only set broad goals, but we also need to ensure we set specific and measurable goals.
You want to make sure that you tick all the boxes off the SMART acronym when you are coming up with the goals that will ultimately help you achieve your one big desired outcome (Step One.)
Here’s a quick example. If you want to increase bookings or sales on your website, then perhaps one of your goals could be: Increase referrals to your website reservations page by 20% in the next three months.
Notice how we hit all of the boxes: it’s specific, it’s measurable (20%), it’s actionable and realistic (with the right strategy) and it’s time sensitive (we’re going to do it within three months.)
Then write some action steps you’re going to take to achieve this SMART goal. Maybe it’s posting on Facebook once a day with content you have scheduled a week in advance. Maybe it’s emailing 30 past guests and giving them an incentive to refer a friend. Make it something you can easily put into action.
How To Map Out Your Success
Now that you have at least one SMART goal on paper, it’s time to learn how to measure your goals and track your success. A lot of people get nervous about this part. We see numbers, graphs and analytics and immediately think we are going in way over our head. But don’t worry. Measuring your goals doesn’t have to be a scary thing. In fact, it should be exciting, because once you know your metrics, then you have a roadmap that will take you straight to your Outcome Expressway. Without metrics, you have no idea where you are located on your online marketing map—and therefore no idea which action steps you need to take to get to your desired outcome.
Here are a few beginner metrics you want to start with when mapping out your goals:
- Unique Page Views – the number of individual people who land on your website
- Time on Site – the amount of time people spend on your site
- Bounce Rate – the number of people to navigate away from your website after viewing only one page
- Subscribers or Email Opt-ins – if you are collecting emails, how many people subscribe to join your list
Social Media Metrics
- Engagement – how many people take an action, such as like, comment or share your posts
- Follower Growth Rate – how quickly you attract new targeted followers to your community
- Reach – how many people even see your social media posts
- Traffic Referrals – the number of people you send from your social media channels to key pages on your website
- URL Click Through Rates – the number of people who click on links in your social media posts
- Conversion Rate (Are people making bookings, signing up for your email list, or taking other specific actions once they land on your website or sales pages?)
- Page Authority
- Keyword Ranking
- Google Organic Search Traffic
All of these tools help you see where your pages are landing in Google searches and how to push your blogs and pages higher in results.
- Blog Comments
- Conversations on Social Media
Look at these metrics to gain insight into brand loyalty and raving fans.
There you have it. Follow these three simple steps to setting strategic travel marketing goals, and you’ll already be far ahead of most other tourism brands.
AND as promised…
Download Your FREE Step-By-Step Worksheet to Creating SMART Goals
We recommend printing this worksheet out, using it as a framework to write down your SMART marketing goals, and then keeping it nearby your office or computer. It will keep you on track for massive success this year and beyond.
Do you set SMART Goals? What is your one big desired outcome for your business this year – and what is stopping you from achieving it? Share your questions and thoughts in the comments below!