19 June, 2020

Susan Briggs has worked in tourism marketing for over 30 years, helping over 8000 businesses to attract more visitors and become more profitable. She is passionate about showcasing a strong sense of place, creating new collaborations and helping tourism businesses to market themselves more effectively. Businesses can work with Susan either directly one-to-one, through one of her virtual workshops or by simply reading her weekly blog.

Website: www.tourismknowhow.com

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Tourismknowhow/

There are plenty of no-charge resources on www.tourismknowhow.com which tourism businesses can access to help them deal with Covid and plan for a better future. I also have an online community which they can join – details at www.tourismnetwork.co.uk

How to prepare your tourism business for after lockdown

We may be stuck at home during coronavirus but it doesn’t mean we’ve lost the desire to travel. If anything, it’s increased our need to get out and experience new places and it’s the businesses that are preparing now that will thrive…

One of the reasons we travel, according to Susan Briggs from Tourism Network UK, is to escape everyday life. That means that while we are in lockdown, you can be sure that people are thinking and dreaming about all the new adventures they can experience once we are up and running again.

Of course, things will be different – people may have less money to spend and it’s likely that they will still be cautious about travel. Industry experts suggest that, initially, people will be looking to go to places that feel safe and familiar, locations that are closer to home, rather than jetting off to long-haul destinations.

That’s good news for businesses in the British travel industry who can really use this time to create new business opportunities and present themselves as the ideal destination, post coronavirus.

But, in order to benefit, you need to be acting now, says Susan. You must be proactive now so that you are prepared once the travel season kicks off again. Here are her tips on how to get your tourism business ready for take-off.

How to be ready for business post lockdown

Keep marketing: one of the main excuses people tell me about marketing their business is that they don’t have time – well, there’s plenty of that right now! Try to be more in the here and now and use this time – what have you got in place right now to make your business as attractive and accessible as possible to the public?

Be your own customer: this is the time to step back and imagine your business from the perspective of a potential visitor. Look at every single element and how it needs to be refreshed and renewed. Do a website audit and try to see it through visitors’ eyes. You could work together with businesses in your area and give feedback on each other’s sites. Take a look at tourismknowhow.com for a free template on how to do this.

Stay on social media: just because you can’t take bookings or your attraction isn’t open, isn’t a reason to come off social media. It takes a while to build engagement so if you stop now, you could miss huge opportunities. You can still build awareness and raise your profile, but just tweak your content – rather than a sales pitch, show people different aspects of your business by talking about the local community, its history, and offering up insider details on quirky points of interest or things to do.

Make contact with writers: this is the ideal time to engage directly with travel journalists. Most of them will not be travelling at the moment and would be keen for an interesting story to write about closer to home. The best place to find travel journalists is on Twitter – search for a name you know and drop them a tweet!

Start collaborating: it’s a combination of things that make a good trip – where to stay, what to eat, what to do nearby. We’re good at promoting our own businesses but we often don’t see it through the eyes of the traveller who usually wants a more comprehensive guide about what’s on offer. Right now, it’s easy to pick up the phone to people close by and have a chat about collaborating. By joining forces, you can enhance your Search Engine Optimisation on Google and give context to your business.

Don’t avoid the cold shoulder: don’t make assumptions that people don’t visit out of season. Even in shoulder season, the demand is still there, especially if you give people reasons to come. That means changing your imagery and marketing – instead of hot sandy beaches, show cosy log fires, beautiful sunsets and make your proposition look attractive. Hopefully by this autumn, people won’t much care about the weather – they will just be desperate to escape the confines of their own homes!

Hold off on the discounts: whether to offer promotions or not is a common conversation we have in the travel industry. I feel it is best to start by getting the marketing right and stimulating demand – and then, if people still aren’t coming, it may be that your prices are too high, in which case you could look at offering a reduced price.

Add an experience: one way to boost profit is to add some sort of experience to the trip. This doesn’t need to cost you much and could be aligned to a skill that you – or another business in the area – already have. So, if you have a pub, cottage or B&B, you could offer a walking or cookery break, bread-making or art courses. Adding some kind of experience to what you have to offer is very successful and allows you to charge more for what would ordinarily be a simple overnight stay.

Think in clusters: when you are promoting your business, think about the clusters of activities that belong together in your area. People are looking for that curated, hand-picked guide that comes from someone who knows, someone who can give them that insider knowledge.

Tempt with triggers: in order to stand out from the competition, think of triggers that will encourage people to choose you over someone else. Offer intriguing anecdotes, quirky ideas, or just deliver that personal touch – anything that sets you apart from the rest.

What we discuss
  • The things you can do now to make your business stronger

  • What travel might look like post coronavirus

  • How you can tap into people’s new travel priorities

  • Why you need to see your business through a traveller’s eyes

What you will learn
  • 10 things you can do now to prepare your business

  • The value of continued marketing

  • How to increase revenue from what you offer

  • Where to look for new opportunities