How search insights can help prepare your tourism strategy for domestic recovery

Contributed by Jo-ann Fortune, Head of Content, iCrossing UK

While there’s no certainty on when COVID-19 lockdown measures will be relaxed across the globe, one thing destination marketers can control is how we prepare for recovery.

In the immediate future, using paid media could help you maintain a digital presence to pick up when the peak of the crisis is over. If this is right for your brand, consider content that focuses on the spirit and community of places. Content that will spread strength and positivity within domestic markets and may encourage natural engagement. For example, refreshing existing personality pieces could help strike the right tone until it’s safe for people to travel freely again.

Focusing on local audiences now will help build the foundations for a strong domestic tourism strategy, which looks likely to become increasingly important in a post COVID-19 world. (Again, only when it’s decreed responsible to encourage such movement.)

As you reallocate paid media budget to projects with longer-term gain, digital analysis will help you better understand your new opportunities and inform on site content improvements. Changes to earned media strategy may take longer to reap rewards, but any resulting growth in visibility and engagement is more often incremental. And this can help shape messaging and creative to make your digital activity work harder.

Here are three ways to shore up your domestic tourism strategy:

Investigate interests and intent

Run regular digital interest reports to identify changes in demand and intent around your key topic areas. For example, you might see more people searching for ‘how to get to --- by car’ versus looking for public transport and flight information.

For more immediate findings, use interest insight tools such as Google Trends and social listening, and chart demand over a longer period with keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner.

Monitoring ‘people also ask’ search engine results page (SERP) data could also help you create content with purpose, satisfying intent in subtopics and with connected content clusters. And keeping an eye on the types of SERP features appearing for your key terms – e.g. visuals, lists or tables of data – will give you a heads-up on audience intent, helping you give your content the best chance of delivering.

Use insights to inform content strategy

Continuing with the driving example, understanding intent around specific routes, like ‘how to get to --- from ---’, will help you create the most relevant on site content to engage in-market audiences.

Depending on these audiences’ needs and your content goals and KPIs, this could include adding driving directions to key information pages – that may be promoted via paid channels, partnerships or email - making sure your Google Local listing is up to date and geotagging images. Though map listings invariably dominate ‘how to get to’ SERPs, so should be the focus for pure SEO performance.

Implementing FAQ schema markup may also become more important to your strategy, allowing you to compete for SERP spots answering increasingly common questions. For example around safe travel in general - ‘how to avoid getting ill on holiday’ – or quiet places to visit within your destination remit. While appearing in these spots can deplete click-through rates, it’s worth noting that you can now include links to other relevant pages within the markup itself, providing users with another route to your content.

Future-proof content

Understanding the motives behind changes in consumer behaviour – e.g. how concern for safety, personal finances and environmental impact influences travel decisions – will help you position your offering to answer specific questions across both earned and paid media. Though many elements of these answers, such as the types of destination your audiences are looking to visit, will converge.

Defining and setting up your organisation to empathise with key audiences now will allow you to find efficiencies in content production, so you can focus efforts on content with purpose; to create once and publish everywhere.

Related reading:

How the digital identity of nations and places reflects on place brands

Digital skills to drive tourism

Prepare for the worst: Crisis management strategies for place brands

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