In an age where the online world is constantly evolving, more and more industries are experiencing digital disruption, and tourism is certainly no exception. To the contrary, with the prevalence of online booking, review sites, travel blogs, and social media, it could be argued this industry is one of the most impacted.
Information about any destination is available at visitors’ fingertips – with a quick search online, consumers can read about your business, discover experiences others have had when visiting, and even book their trip within a matter of minutes. Though this may seem a little daunting, there are opportunities to harness this disruption to our advantage by enhancing the visitor experience in ways that encourage visitors to share destination stories.
We were thrilled to have team members from RTO4 (Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington) share their experience in leveraging digital disruption during their keynote address last month at OH!Tourism Summit 2018. If you haven’t already, we’d encourage you to check out some of the the key takeaways from this presentation, available here.
During the presentation and conference, we also alluded to some upcoming tools we’re looking to develop to help businesses and communities monitor and improve their online presence in the future. We’ll be sharing more details about opportunities to get involved and utilize these in the spring, but for the interim, there are things you can be capitalizing on now to get a handle on your online presence.
It’s important to know how you measure up online – where you could improve your accessibility, and what visitors are saying about your business/community, so here are some tips to improve your online presence and start leveraging word-of-mouth marketing:
- Visitors today have information available in the palm of their hand – they’re researching beforehand and looking things up while in region from their phones, so make sure your website is mobile-friendly
- Leverage word-of-mouth marketing by not only creating and maintaining a business listing on review sites (i.e. TripAdvisor, Google My Business), but also by monitoring and replying to reviews – it’s important to reply to both positive and negative reviews
- TripAdvisor recently announced new features to help travellers plan their trips and to become more of a social platform: allowing travellers to follow people and brands they trust, creating travel feeds that show recommendations and advice, and adding ways for visitors to create their own trips and travel guides (privately or publicly) – find more information on these new features here
- Create and follow through with shareable experiences – offer a quality experience that a visitor wants to share, and encourage them to share their feedback online
- Engage visitors on social media – make sure your business is easy to find and tag online; like, comment on, and share visitors’ posts; and don’t forget to thank visitors for sharing their experience, posting their photos, and tagging you in posts
Together, we can leverage the digital disruption experienced in the tourism industry as we share the stories of Ontario’s Highlands and inspire visitors to Come Wander.
Julie Mulligan, OHTO Marketing Manager & Stephanie Hessel, OHTO Destination Development Manager