- In 2010-11, 79% of persons aged 15 years and over had accessed the internet in the previous 12 months
- 68% of internet users had used the internet to purchase or order goods or services for private purposes,
- Of the people who had made a purchase over the internet, 74% purchased Travel, accommodation, memberships or tickets of some kind.
I guess it got me thinking. With all this talk about product development, customer service, experiences, luxury etc. How about we just get people thinking about travelling in Australia again? And how about we do this on the Internet. Yes, it got me thinking again about the good old fashioned concept of marketing.
I was lucky enough to spend the day with Google last week with a group of leading internet marketers. I came out of there feeling totally energised and excited by what lay ahead as an internet marketer(as well as a little tipsy...thanks Google for the networking drinks). I really got the sense that we can be in control of our own destiny if we are prepared to shift the way we think in regards to tourism marketing. Especially when we have such small budgets.
It might be time, we stop hanging out with the wrong crowd: glossy destination and product brochures, trade shows, TV, newspaper and magazine advertising. We really need to start running around with the 'in crowd' and get ourselves fully acquainted with Google and all the Search Engines.
Consumers interested in travel are already Best Friends Forever (BFF's) with Google and who can blame them? Google and its search engine / social media mates have everything they need to forge a great travel friendship. They have all the information anyone could want at their keyboard fingertips as well as great travel yarns and recommendations by other Google BFF's. Search Engine boxes are one of the first places the consumer turns to for all their travel problems and travel dreams. As a travel industry operator, you should introduce yourself and run with the Google / Social media crowd for a while and see what happens.
But in all seriousness, Google has done some great research on on consumer purchase behaviour. They talk about the "New Mental Model" of purchase behaviour in its "Winning the Zero Moment of Truth. (ZMOT)" Report. In the olden days, we focused on the traditional 3 step marketing model: Mum is reading the paper and sees an article or an ad for a beautiful travel destination. She thinks "that looks good". She then goes to the travel agency and calls the tourism organisation to seek more information (first moment of truth) and then she experiences the destination, just as advertised and has a lovely holiday...happy ending (second moment of truth).
But these days, she sees a travel article about 'beautiful destination', reading the Sunday paper over her morning coffee at the table. She reaches for the laptop (also on the table) and searches for "beautiful travel destination reviews". She looks at what everyone says about the destination, the restaurants, the hotels etc. She posts on facebook: "Anyone been to beautiful travel destination". She hits Youtube and looks for videos of beautiful travel destination. And before lunch, she has decided on where they are all going to go, where they will stay and what restaurants they will try. She has pretty much made her decision (at the new zero moment of truth).
As a marketing manager, operator, business owner the question you have to ask yourself, is: Do you have a place to win that laptop grabbing moment? Google has termed this moment, the "Zero Moment of Truth" (ZMOT). I can safely say that it is most likely you don't have that place to win that laptop grabbing moment, but you are not alone. Google tells us that in 2010, only about 15% of media budget money was spent online, yet online decision-making is skyrocketing. Ironically, online marketing budgets are not. We need to shift our marketing thinking to include ZMOT. If you do, you stand to gain enormously.
We need to become very familiar and intimate with the ZMOT concept if we truly wish to succeed and be available when the consumer is looking for
us. This information should stop you in your tracks and get you to start thinking about creating an incredible online presence to capture potential
travellers searching for their match.
It is simply not enough to slap up a website and say "yes, I already have a web presence". We must look to change our mindset and stop thinking of TV/print advertising, brochures and trade shows. We need to start learning and talking about search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, key words and phrases, blogging and online reputation management.
There are many things you can do: provide relevant and quality content, videos, mobile friendly website, SEO website and content, create and manage your online reputations with Google Places, Tripadvsor and Yelp - this is just a start. I know, I know, a bunch of gobblygook , but to me, this gobblygook smells opportunity and competitive advantage. Dedicate a couple of hours a week to learning about it - that is instead of 2 hours of Masterchef...
If you have gotten this far in reading this piece, I encourage you to complete this exercise on your own business:
- Type in your own product name (not your business name) e.g accommodation Mars or best restaurants in Venus into a search engine such as Google. This is how people first start out searching. Does your site or message appear on the top third of the first page? How does your brand appear? Are there review sites that feature your brand, how do you rate?
- Then, try your brand name with these 3 searches: a. Saturn Beachfront Apartments. b. Saturn Beachfront Apartments review. c. Best beachfront accommodation in Saturn
The answer to these questions and the results will give you a fair idea on where you stand at your own ZMOT. And, if you got this far, here is something to get you started. Please accept our free report: SEO Basics - Tips For The Tourism Industry
What do you think about the marketing revolution and ZMOT?
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She also runs a well respected seniors travel blog, http://www.newyoungtravel.com.au.
Bronwyn is also the published author of Seniors Travel Tips, a global travel guide for seniors.