We’ve been serving PR and marketing clients in the tourism industry for 20 years. Big global brands. Tiny obscure companies. Obscenely huge budgets. Shoestring budgets. Individuals with personalities that range from Type A to Zen. Doers. Procrastinators. Screamers. Huggers. Savvy marketers. Marketing agnostics. Marketing skeptics. No two clients are the same…and there have been thousands of them in our history.
So, we’ve learned a LOT about what it takes for a client to get the most out of both marketing and its agency. Here, drawn from our extensive experience, are 20 tips to help tourism clients succeed in public relations and marketing:
- Changing marketing goals too frequently, or lacking them completely, can only achieve short term results for your efforts. Either be ok with that or make a solid plan and stick to it.
- If you water down a BIG BOLD idea, adjust your expectations down from BIG BOLD results. All too often, circumstances cause a client to dilute an idea’s execution…but then expect the same powerful results associated with the original concept. That just ain’t how it works.
- If you feel you have to micromanage your agency, they’re not the right match for you. Let ‘em go, even if it’s us.
- Positivity works magic in PR. If you have faith it will produce…it will. If you don’t…it won’t.
- It helps results tremendously if your entire organization is aware of your marketing plans. Devote resources to educating and engaging them, and you’ll see a greater ROI in marketing.
- Make the time to collaborate with your agency. If you skip meetings, miss deadlines, and sit indefinitely on things awaiting approval, you’re only tapping around 50% of their potential.
- If your boss doesn’t understand marketing, won’t leave, and remains skeptical about every campaign… dude, find a new job. We’ve seen it. It never ends well.
- Tourists want visuals. Invest continually in photos and videos…every itinerary, every package, every story angle. Without them, you’re losing marketing opportunities…which means you’re losing money.
- If you have “marketing envy” and always wish your organization could do things as cool as your competitors (or your agency’s other clients), learn what it takes operationally to execute such things. Then decide if your organization can make it happen. You may not be nimble enough, your pockets may not be deep enough, or the concepts may be the complete wrong match for your brand. If your organization is not equipped for it, stop being wistful. Invest your energy in what will work best for YOU.
- It’s totally OK to put some marketing initiatives on a steady low flame temporarily (or even permanently) while you focus your resources elsewhere. Just make peace with it and don’t expect them to yield big results.
- It is totally NOT OK to turn PR on and off completely. It’s the one marketing medium that doesn’t respond well to fits and starts. Either do it consistently (at any flame level) or just don’t do it.
- Use tailored landing pages for your digital campaigns. Without them, you’re losing a ton of business. For some organizations, this is a no brainer. For others, it’s like pulling teeth. Every. Single. Time.
- If your guest service and/or guest experience is inconsistent or subpar in any way, marketing will not help change that. In fact, the more guests we drive to your door, the more money you’re going to waste. The damage those guests will do through social media, review sites, and lack of referrals/return quietly sabotages the positive benefits that marketing brings. And a business can’t survive on new guests alone, who are more costly to acquire than referrals/repeats. Fix the foundation, and you’ll see marketing pay off in spades.
- You can’t find love on a spreadsheet.
- A website should be both beautiful and functional, but if you had to choose where to put more resources…choose functionality every time.
- Forget what we said in #15 entirely. Stop thinking of “beauty” and “functionality” as two different things. Together they comprise “user experience,” and if your website doesn’t deliver equally in both areas, you’re losing money. Period.
- Social media is more demanding than any other marketing medium. If you want to deeply succeed here, be prepared to staff it fully and keep up with the breakneck pace of ever-evolving rules, features, and channels. Doing set-and-forget style marketing only taps around 20% of social media’s potential. It’s fine if you choose to do it that way in the context of your overall marketing plan. Just expect your notable results to come from other sources.
- If your risk tolerance is low, then PR is not for you. Often in PR, the greatest risks yield the highest rewards, but there are no guarantees. That’s what makes it so exciting!
- There’s a reason creative, clever tourism packages and programs get a ton of press and social media love. Boring things just don’t command attention.
- Consistent indecision will tank your marketing ROI more than making a definitive poor choice ever will. That sounds dramatic, but history generally proves it to be true.
And here’s a bonus item, since we kinda negated #15. Be candid with your agency at all times. Issues and concerns can be overcome easily with open communication. A good partner – as all agencies should be – will welcome the candor.
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the client experiences we’ve had, and every relationship has helped us grow. And it’s enabled us to help brands of all sizes achieve their marketing and business objectives. Big shout-out to all our clients for putting their trust in us, and here’s to the next 20 years!