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Creating tourism destination marketing content during Covid19

Outdoors tourism marketing in Ontario Canada after Covid19

Creating tourism destination marketing content during Covid19

Truth bomb. This is your wake up call.

If you are like most outdoor industry tourism operators across Ontario or Canada, you are restrategizing for the post-Covid19 era.

It’s no secret that the destination marketing landscape is going to become extremely competitive. There will be those in the outdoors niche who operate like they did before, doing little adapting of their marketing methods, if they had any methods at all beyond the old ways of posters or using nothing else besides Facebook.

Others will be more savvy and creative.

The outdoors, adventure, nature and recreation tourism marketplace is about to become a race to see who will move the fastest and most creatively to establish themselves from their competitors.

All tourism operators are hoping to recoup months of lost bookings and lost sales.

Tourism operators have been told for the past several years that they need to embrace experiential marketing. Some have. But many have not.

Guess what will be king and queen moving forward? STORYTELLING! Yes, you’ve heard about storytelling before. But now it really matters. A lot. To your future.

You absolutely need to find new ways to communicate to get the attention of your target audience and interact with your brand, visit your destination, and spend money at your attraction.

“People don’t buy what you sell, they buy why you sell it.” ~ Simon Sinek

Why do stories matter even more in the post-Covid19 era? It’s simple: Your target audience has cabin fever  They have spent months rethinking life, goals, dreams, and bucket lists. You only have to look at social media to see this truth bomb.

Here’s another fact: they are looking for the best fit for which tourism operators will help them accomplish these goals. They will find the ‘right’ outlets through developing a bond via stories. They see or read the storytelling by a tourism operator and an emotional call to action is triggered: “Yes, this is the one I want to experience this adventure with!”

Here are three storytelling strategies to help grab your target audiences and help you move forward:

1. Content Marketing is Now a Must

The tourism sector is a local industry. So be sure to take advantage of this fact by creating localized content with relevant local keywords. This will allow you to avoid the web search clutter and intense competition of non-local global Internet searches. You want to stand out in your local or regional target markets. This isn’t rocket science. But not every small tourism operators does it.

Every day, people search Google. They type in local-specific searches like Best zipline experiences in Ontario or Best camping sites in Ontario or Wilderness cabin rentals in Northern Ontario. Guess who stands out in these searches? Yes, tourism operators who have good website SEO. But also tourism operators and tourism associations that are adopting another powerful tool on their websites: The blog.

A blog helps your website in Google rankings because an active blog is consistently fresh with new content. Google loves websites that appear to be fresh, alive and breathing vs static and rarely updated with fresh content.

Go ahead and start searching terms on Google. You’ll immediately notice that blog posts will appear in the search results. Content marketing is about consistently creating niche blog articles related to your experience and specifically in your region. Why? Because this is what visitors and prospective tourists to your region are searching for in your region. Google is the fastest and cheapest way for them to find you.

What does a great outdoor industry blog look like? Take a look at how MEC does it below. Every headline, every blog post is carefully crafted with Internet search keywords in mind. Every topic is about the outdoors and adventure lifestyle. And guess where readers will want to go to get outfitted to do these activities and get expert advice? Many of them will go to MEC.

Content marketing for outdoors tourism brands

If you create interesting blog posts, you also increase the potential of your posts being shared on social media, or linked to by other websites. This helps further amplify the marketing reach of your brand. And it’s free extra reach. The more your posts spread on the Internet and on social media, the more it all helps your Google ranking too.

Remember though, your blog content needs to be localized. If your tourism business is located in the Muskoka region of Ontario, try to create content that deals with topics related to travel and tourism in the Muskoka region, always making sure to include the term “Muskoka” in your keywords.

Pro tip: Google’s Keyword Planner can help you research keywords and search volume of those keywords and phrases

2. Use Storytelling In Your Social Media Posts

To often tourism operators rely on the Book Now or Buy Your Tickets push marketing method. The problem is this method is not effective. If you want to effectively capture the interest of your target audience and attract more engagement, you need to go beyond a product or a service. Start by telling them why your service is made for them and explaining what they will experience if they decide to visit your destination. But go beyond that too. Tell the stories of why you got started in the business. Tell the stories of challenges and successes. Tell the stories of how and why you live and breath what you do. That can help you ooze authenticity.

Initially, Instagram was all about posting a photo and a few words. But now, engagement stats show that longer form stories to go with photos are generating more engagement. If you use storytelling effectively, you will leave the audience with an emotional after-taste that has some thinking “Yes, I want to experience this!” Storytelling is a technique that enables you to link your product or service through using emotions, without actually push-marketing your products. People make decisions based on how well we trigger their emotions. Do it well and they will gravitate to you.

On Instagram, it’s no secret that a professional looking page of quality photos can have a powerful impact on audiences and compel them into taking an action such as visiting you or booking with you. Professional photos can help tell your story by truly being photos each worth a thousand words.

Pro tip: Think of storytelling as a great book. It has many chapters. As your story evolves it pulls more people into the story. Many can’t stop reading your story. They look forward to the next chapter. You have a fantastic narrative to tell. If you need help, ask!

3. Start a YouTube Channel Now!

People use YouTube to search and plan for their next trips.

This can’t be overstated enough. YouTube is the planet’s second biggest search engine, after Google. Oh, by the way, Google just happens to own YouTube too. Audiences are searching YouTube everyday for things to do and experiences in your region. Why? Because it is the ultimate way to virtually experience an attraction or destination before deciding to visit or book activities. But that’s not all. After people plan and book a trip, they are turning to YouTube to do more research about the destination to find other additional activities to experience. If your tourism operation does not have a YouTube channel and is not posting regular professional videos, or at least getting some help editing your phone videos into something a little more professional and branded, you missing a HUGE opportunity and return on investment. Period.

Pro tip: YouTube is not a replacement for all the smartphone videos that you may be posting on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Instead, think of YouTube as an additional channel that is more focused on your professional videos and amping up the awareness of your tourism brand. You can direct audiences to this channel to learn more. And it further helps to move audiences along in the action conversion funnel of actually choosing to experience you in real life.

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Gregg McLachlan
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