The old adage that health is wealth is more true today than ever. Particularly in the tourism sector, the number of traveler's heading to foreign lands for a healthy experience is facing an explosive growth.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, global traveler's made 830 million wellness trips in 2017. It has grown by 22% in 2018 with revenues up 20%. In 2019, it is poised to reach 1 billion trips. By 2022 the revenues from wellness tourism is expected to reach $919 billion, making it the fastest growing travel sector.
The New Zealand hospitality industry is in a perfect position to capture a slice of this market. Across the country, accommodation providers are at an advantage with access to golden beaches, thermal springs, mountain ranges, unique fiords and national parks. Additional wellness offers such as guided nature hikes, yoga or Pilates classes, organic garden-to-table or farm-to-table meals, spa therapy, massages and mindfulness meditations are the most sought-after retreats.
If your business already has existing well-being offerings, the next step is to ensure that you are positioning yourself well to capture the right audience. Here are the top 5 key areas to focus on to be digitally friendly in 2020.
1. Digital marketing foundations – Are you tracking visitors? Do you know how they’re getting to your website? What pages they look at? How much time they spend reading through your pages? Unlike traditional marketing (radio, tv, billboards), digital marketing gives you the ability to get as granular as possible with tracking who your target audience is. You can find out where they come from and their behaviour once they are in your website.
Tracking and data analysis becomes all the more important when you are targeting an international audience. With the higher percentage of the wellness tourism growth coming from inbound International visitors versus domestic ones, this would be the likely case for your business. You would then need to know which countries your visitors come from as this can affect seasonal performance patterns and should inform your marketing campaigns.
All this can be done by having Google Analytics tracking on your website. You can also set specific goals for your audience and track how they are doing against it. Understanding your audience is only the beginning. Once you get this part right, you will be able to target them better using different digital marketing methods.
Laying the digital foundations also means optimising your website so that it ranks well for specific search terms. This can be achieved with Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. Research the keywords that your audience is using to find your website and the specific wellness services you offer. Optimise your content with these key terms through both the meta area of your website and your body copy. SEO also involves tactics that deliver relevant links to your website so people (and search engines like Google) find it easily.
2. Content marketing – Content can be a powerful tool to attract people to your website. Whether your intended audience is at the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel or bottom of the funnel, you can create content that helps move them through the funnel on through to a purchase. Travel content in a blog is meant to inspire, give people the tools they need to plan their wellness trip or give them the boost they need to finally make that booking.
Another aspect of content marketing that you may want to look into is user-generated content or UGC. Social proof is extremely important in any travel sector – so real photos, videos and stories from actual users in the form of a guest blog post, testimonials on your site or re-shared content on your social media can help with your digital presence.
3. Social media marketing – Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are important platforms for reaching your audience when they’re at their deciding point in the purchase funnel. Engage with them real-time by answering questions and posting about things that matter to them. Specifically, with the tourism industry, you can never go wrong with great photos and videos that paint the best picture of what you have to offer. According to Google, 64% of people who are thinking about taking a trip watch travel-related videos and 60% of traveler's who view videos use it to decide on their brand or destination choices.
4. Paid Campaigns – This online advertising method lets you pay to get clicks to your website. Having a robust paid strategy is critical as it puts you in front of the right audience at the right time. The two most popular platforms to do this is through Google Ads and Facebook Ads. It’s all about targeting and optimising your campaigns so you get the most value for your money.
With Google Ads, you can bid on specific keywords that your target audience uses to search for your services. You can also filter the advertising options to target specific countries. Once you're aware where your audience comes from, geolocating ads and creating specific campaigns for your international audiences would mean a better use of your budget.
With Google’s Display Network, you can create visually captivating ads and place them in specific media relevant to your audience. Remarketing campaigns are also available, which allows your ads to follow people who have viewed specific pages on your site or have completed certain actions.
5. Client Relationship Management (CRM Tool) & Email– When you’ve already made that first touch point with your audience, nurturing them is a great way to get them through the purchase cycle more efficiently. Email marketing is a great way to do this. Capture emails with an opt-in process as early in the cycle as possible. This would allow you to get in touch with your audience when they abandon a cart. If they’ve already booked with your property or have already purchased a package from you, email reminders can help them prepare for a hassle-free trip.
The after-sales email campaigns are effective at creating loyal customers and repeat clients. Send a thank you note to past clients. Ask them for reviews. A year after the experience, remind them what they loved about your property.
If you’re in the wellness tourism industry, let Splash Digital help you reach your audience online. Call us on 09 300 7336.