Why marketing to tourists is now like online dating

No, you didn’t read that wrong. We did indeed just say that marketing to tourists is a lot like online dating. Stick with us on this metaphor and we’ll show you how to turn transactional tourism marketing into a full blown love affair with your restaurant, hotel, resort or travel destination. And, since the tourism industry accounts for over a trillion dollars in the U.S. economy alone (according to the Travel Industry Association) we’re willing to bet that’s one relationship worth investing in.


If you, or your friends, have ever prepared for a date with someone you met online, you probably know the legitimate fear that your date won’t look anything like his or her photos. Unsurprisingly, that same fear exists when tourists are vetting travel destinations. Travel savvy globe trotters have wised up. They are painfully aware that a good tourism digital marketing agency knows how to take photos that make rooms look larger, food look fresher, and spas feel more luxurious. To ensure your marketing to tourists doesn’t ring flat, make sure your pictures are up to date and capture different angles of your business while integrating user-generated photos that “verify” the pictures your brand has taken. A good way to do this may be to include an Instagram feed using a simple API call, or curating a “photo of the day” on your website pulled from your social media feeds. Research (from Search Engine Watch to Forbes) has proven again and again that photos are the single most important element tourists rely on when making travel decisions. Therefore, your content marketing strategy should be extremely photo-heavy (who has time to read these days anyway?) and showcase your business’s best elements. But, authenticity is incredibly valued, so don’t be afraid to show a hint of the “not so good” so your customers’ expectations match their experience.


The internet gives us the incredible (and creepy) ability to learn a whole hell-of-a lot about our dates before we actually meet them. We can search for their jobs, social connections, driving record (if that means anything to you), accolades, where our worlds intersect – nothing is so thrilling as discovering that your soon-to-be online date shares mutual friends. Because that means you’ll probably be able to get some insider information on their “real” dating style. Love it or hate it, the same holds true in the tourism marketing world. Tourists can unearth a ridiculous amount of information about your service, cleanliness, value, and hospitality through online reviews and social media. Don’t fight it. Embrace your reviewers and try to encourage positive reviews while honestly and openly responding to negative feedback. Hiring a tourism digital marketing agency to monitor the tone and trends surrounding your brand’s online conversation can also help you determine where there are genuine areas for improvement to refine your brand experience. Consider partnering with bloggers and social media influencers to highlight their experience with your brand. By giving these trendsetters a voice and featuring them on your website, you’ll be able to  generate a positive social effect and build trust in your brand. As an added bonus, it’s a unique and fun way to keep your digital presence energized with up-to-date content.

These two simple spins on the traditional marketing to tourists can help make this travel season your best yet while keeping those dates (guests) rolling in.

To learn more secrets of the trade, visit our Digital Marketing services page.

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