We all know about destination guides. I’ve got a shelf full, mostly from Lonely Planet or Rough Guides. They used to be my main source of information, as they combined information about great places to stay with helpful background on the place itself. I’d only head for a traditional travel agent’s printed brochures if I wanted to research hotels and prices for a package tour.
There are still travel customers who want to head somewhere sunny with a decent pool. However, there are increasing numbers of people who want to experience the local culture so are looking for a bit more added value before they book. That’s where good destination guides can be incredibly helpful. Whilst you might not want to give a ‘warts and all’ account, you can give your customers a feel for the place before they travel.
How do destination guides help with marketing?
When I travel, I’m not just looking to flop by the pool. For one thing, I have small children. Chance would be a fine thing. A destination catches my eye by having something interesting that I want to see. I went to Argentina because I wanted to see Iguazu Falls and the Perito Moreno glacier. New Zealand hooked me with the glow worm caves and dolphins.
Good destination guides highlight the things that are worth seeing and can throw in a few surprises too. They help you connect with your audience in a few different ways. Someone who’s been thinking about their next holiday to a particular destination might notice your download link on Facebook and want to find out more. Write a post highlighting how great a country is for a particular interest and those people will find you.
I know what you’re thinking. I’ve finally lost it. Marketing for city or country, what on earth am I talking about?
There is a world of difference in how you market different types of holiday to different people. If you’re sending your customers to a sunny beach resort, most people will know what to expect. But if they’re heading for a city break or a rural retreat, it could be a different matter. Different audiences will care about the same things, but their path into it might be slightly different. Your marketing needs to reflect that.
You might have noticed that my blogs have taken on a bit of a theme recently. Over the past few months I’d started to feel a bit stuck. I wanted to use my background in my writing and to me that meant working for professional services businesses.
After all, I’d spent a big chunk of my life as a solicitor. Surely those were the people I should be helping? The lawyers, accountants and financial advisers that I’d lived among for all those years. I understood them and the way their minds worked.
And yet, I wasn’t as excited about it as I used to be. I still have some fantastic clients who work in those industries, but I realised that it was the people that made it enjoyable and not just the subject.
So, I thought about who my favourite people are and what I really love doing. After a wonderful and random conversation with a photographer and a jewellery designer the truth was out. I love to travel and those are the businesses I want to write for. But why? What is it about exploring the world that excites me so much?
When you book a holiday for your customers, do you know what you’re letting them in for? Is it a tried and trusted location that you know is amazing?Or, is it somewhere that just offered a good deal?
I know that you care about your customers and whether they have a good time while they’re away, so I’m betting you went for the first one. My best holiday experiences have come from booking through agents who’ve either visited my destination themselves, or where the company they work for makes sure that employees are kept up to date.
Here’s why great local connections could be the key to the success of your business.