Tourism Marketing Basics
The world of marketing can be an extremely complex process with multiple strategies, disciplines, and tactics employed to reach the right consumer at the right time and compel them to take action. Breaking it down to its most simple definition, marketing is all the activity involved in creating, communicating, and delivering goods or service offerings that have a value for a consumer, or community. Researching the right audience, crafting a strategic positioning, communicate the brand message, mapping out the path to purchase (and a lot more!)…it’s all marketing. In the case of destination marketing, it’s all the activity required to promote a location as an attractive, desirable destination.
Effectively and efficiently achieving marketing results in the digital world requires a few key elements: An understanding of the fundamentals, a little know-how of all digital strategies at your disposal, the right mix of channels, the right technology to to most cost-effectively reach the highest yielding audience, and more. Some core marketing fundamentals will always be present; product, price, place, promotion. The key is translating these to meet the needs of your consumers in a way that connects, starts a conversation, gets your product or service into consideration, and eventually consumption. Two marketing fundamentals are key to understand when strategizing what type of marketing will work best for your product or service. While the marketing strategies you may use are the same, how they are executed is what’s different.
- Brand to Consumer (B2C) or Direct to Consumer (D2C) Marketing
Simply stated, this is best described as when you’re selling a product directly to the consumer and cutting out any steps that may include manufacturing, distribution, etc. You go directly to the consumer with your brand message, price, story/experience, and control nearly all aspects of the process. For some business models, it’s the most cost-effective way to bring a product to market. Direct to consumer marketing puts a great deal of emphasis on the customer experience. Traditionally, this encompassed television advertising, magazines, billboards, etc. Today, you may see reference to D2C, digital to consumer, with brands advertising digitally-direct to consumers through social media, digital display, video, content, etc. Over the last decade, the tourism and travel landscape has seen a shift in communicating directly to consumers, changing how destinations and hospitality providers market to their target audiences.
- Business to Business (B2B) Marketing
You may guess by the acronym, but B2B refers to the marketing of products and services of a business to other businesses, companies, and/or organizations. Whereas B2C goes directly to the consumer, here, companies are selling to other companies. In the case of the tourism sector, B2B marketing has the potential of expanding products or services to higher-yielding consumers you may otherwise not reach in a direct manner. Hotels, for example, contract with tour operators, who in turn use travel agents to sell their rooms in a destination. The middleman, in this case, the tour operator, would allow the third parties, the travel agent to resell the product or service.
Travel Industry requires a successful mix of
B2C and B2B Marketing
In the ever-changing landscape of travel, one thing rings true, you need the right mix and model, at the right times, at all times. There is a difference when marketing to B2B and when marketing B2C, with advantages and limitations to both. While the future of the hospitality and tourism industry in post COVID-19 remains to be seen, one thing is clear – in order to adapt to a dramatic change in these short periods of time, all tourism industries will need to focus even more on the customer experience, elevating their safety messaging, while fighting for their lives to stay keep their heads above water.
What strategic mix of B2C and B2B Marketing do you use in your tourism efforts?