Internet, Marketing, Travel & Tourism

Marketing your small tourism business in the 21th century: #1 Be Remarkable

By William Bakker | 03.20.08 | Comment?

I like to investigate research, make observation and detect patterns to develop theories, create models and build strategies. But I’m very aware that a lot of people who read my blog are running a business and would like to know: What can I do today? So here’s the first post in what I hope to be a series about marketing your small tourism business in the 21th century.

1) Be remarkable
The title might not suggest it but this has everything to do with online marketing. Because it starts with the basics. In order to market something, you need a product. And when you have a product, the way to market it in the 21th century is through word-of-mouth. It’s nothing new. Travel has always been about word-of-mouth marketing. But in a Web 2.0 world, word-of-mouth is amplified through review websites and social networks.

Tourism operators often offer ordinary products because conventional wisdom tells you that ordinary is safe. Serve to the lowest common denominator and nobody will complain. Maybe. But people don’t talk about something ordinary.

They forget ordinary.

What people talk about are things that are extraordinary. An extraordinary experience. Extraordinary customer service. Extraordinary value for money. Extraordinary weather.
Extraordinary experiences are remarkable experiences. A remarkable experience is something worth making a remark about. That’s why you don’t hear anybody talking about the restaurant with average food. You hear about good food or bad food. Good customer service or bad customer service. Good weather or bad weather.

I stayed in a hotel in Berlin that was too expensive for what it offered. But the breakfast buffet was unreal. Guess what I tell anybody who asked me about my trip? “You should have seen the breakfast buffet!”. A couple of years ago I visited the sunshine coast with my father and sister. We never bothered to book a place to stay. We ended up at a B&B in Madeira Bay that was full. But the owner offered us her own bed and slept on the couch herself. She was super nice and treated us like family. I’ve been back twice, and so has my sister, and a few of our friends.

As a tourism operator you have a huge opportunity. An opportunity to be remarkable. Because people love to talk about their trips. And people love to hear about other people’s trips. And not just over a dinner party anymore. But via email, on a blog, on Facebook, on Flickr, on WAYN, on Tripadvisor and dozens other social networks. Read by millions that look for the extraordinary.

So be remarkable, and do it in a positive way. It doesn’t have to be hard. Start by investing in customer service. And do that little bit of extra that make something say “wow”. Achieve that and they’ll do the marketing for you.

I recommend reading online marketing guru Seth Godin’s books and blog to learn more about being remarkable. I recommend Tourism BC’s Superhost programs and workshops to become a customer service wizard.

It’s easy for me to say. But you can start being remarkable today.

Marketing your small tourism business in the 21th century:

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