Results of the latest Larking Gowen Tourism and Leisure Business Survey 2018 were announced last week, demonstrating a cautious but optimistic outlook amongst regional businesses in the sector.
The overriding theme is one of change, not least from the changes in the economic and regulatory environment that businesses need to adapt to – from wage increases to Brexit, via auto-enrolment pensions and GDPR.
More importantly though is recognition of changing consumer behaviour, and therefore to the approach that businesses must take to connect, engage and retain them.
The ‘experience’ is key: not just for the time that people spend staying in your hotel or campsite, visiting your attraction or using the service that you provide, but before that in the user experience when they visit your website, see your ads or read your e-news. Which means that your communications need to reflect the experience that you offer, in tone, style and quality.
Consumers are also being driven by different values. Within travel and leisure, sustainability and responsible tourism are increasingly important. Assuming that you’ve already taken the steps to address this within your organisation, the next step is to ensure that your market knows about it. Make the most of your green credentials by highlighting them within your PR and marketing activity – it could be the point of difference that brings a customer to your door rather than that of one of your competitors.
Online marketing is proving to be increasingly important given the dominance of digital as a platform for customer communications and sales. But only 64% of respondents offer the facility to book online, whereas nearly three quarters of businesses that do offer online booking have seen an increase in those bookings over the past year. If you are amongst the 36% with limited or no online presence, it may be time for you to change.
The right PR campaign can work alongside broader marketing activity to increase your credibility in the marketplace, spread the word about your business and improve your bottom line.
Contact us for a free one hour meeting to see how we can help you to navigate changes in the industry and support your business’s growth.
For full survey results download here.