What makes small tourism business marketing so hard

by Joanne Steele on December 28, 2009

The Internet plus the economy may cause concern for small tourism businesses

Be Afraid of the Economy AND the Internet?

The good old days of “buy an ad and forget it” small town tourism marketing are gone.

Our hard earned cash won’t buy us enough advertising to keep our businesses afloat when our customers aren’t paying much attention to ads anymore.

With Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media sites, the meaning of “word of mouth” has been transformed.

Even the old static Internet sites our kids created for us 3 or 5 years ago don’t seem to be sending us much business.

We’re accosted with new terms and ideas like blog and social media and Twitter.

How did this happen??!?

In his book, Microtrends, the small forces behind tomorrow’s big changes, Mark J. Penn says that rather than bringing the world together, the Internet is causing us to “fly apart at a record pace.”

We are “flying apart” into tiny little like-minded niches.

We are now able to easily find online meeting places where others who share our exact interests and values congregate.

“Trust” and “friend” have new meaning as we come to value the opinions and recommendations of individuals who we have no connection to other than the Internet.

We narrowly seek out the information we need to make travel, buying, or political decisions. We go where like-minded people share their experiences and opinions.

And for small locally owned tourism businesses, this is both our greatest opportunity and potentially our most catastrophic downfall. If our customers are “there,” we need to be there too.

Money can’t buy us what we need to reach our customers anymore. It’s going to take our time. More time than any of us think we have.

With only 24 hours in a day and a business to run, it will take a revolutionary plan.

Effective Internet marketing is fun.

Effective Internet marketing can be fun and profitable

Over the next week, I’ll talk about some interesting ideas and terms like “long

tail” and “microtrends” which have their roots in the Internet. I’ll also take a new look at an old friend, “niche marketing”.

Then, by next Monday, we’ll be ready to start building a revolutionary new marketing plan for 2010 that will help you manage your online marketing time and reach your customers while still getting your beauty sleep, manage the rest of your business and have a little time left over for your family.

1 Kieran Swail January 16, 2010 at 9:42 am

Hi Joanne,
I like your common sense / no-nonsense approach to rural tourism marketing – if there is only one message to drive home you have said it here
If our customers are “there,” we need to be there too. Most rural tourism businesses will probably agree, the biggest challenge is not the why but the how. Lkie the blog

2 Joanne Steele January 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Hello Kieran,
Thanks for the nice comment. I’m hoping that the free e-book offered at RuralTourismMarketing.com will help rural businesses figure out the “how.” Take a look at it and let me know what I’m missing!

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