Three Things Rural Tourism Can Learn from Urban Travel Pros

by Joanne Steele on September 27, 2010

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I read Travel Daily News International almost every day, and this article recently caught my eye,  “Websites have become far too complicated”. Wading through the travel market speak about “silos” and “funnels,” here’s what I gleaned that is of real importance to rural area tourism:

1. Websites have in fact become far too complicated.

Technology now allows us to put more bells and whistles that anyone looking for information wants to wade through.

Years ago, we all had to keep it simple to accommodate the slowest modem out there, usually people on AOL.

Now, we have the growing complication created by 42% of the population checking out websites on their smartphone!

All that effort you (or your webmaster) put into things that snap, crackle and pop doesn’t transfer to a smartphone. To solve this problem, you need to have the site translated into a smartphone compatible version!

So, with all this new potential, we need to go back to the KISS Rule (Keep it Simple Stupid!) This is why I love WordPress. I’m researching plug-ins that can automatically make your site smartphone compatible if, with reckless abandon, you add something on your WordPress site that might be hard for your customer using a smartphone to view.

2. It’s all about Rich Content –

that’s market speak for good solid use of WORDS to talk about what you do and how it will serve your customers’ needs.

The internet and long-tail marketing is leading us back to the vital importance of WORDS. Your search engine optimization is based on words, people look for what you have to offer using search words.

It’s your words that will bring prospective customers to your site, and it’s your words that will lead them to buy from you. Pictures are great decorations, but WORDS are your foundation.

3. Know your “vertical niche social media platforms.”

Right at the end of the article, Matthew Petitjean and the interviewer talk about the future of social media using obtuse tourism marketing speak

What he was saying is that general social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are useful when a person is just beginning to think about travel (at the top of the funnel). But niche social media sites are where people go to make their final decisions. These can be forums, subject specific Ning type social media sites or niche specific blogs.

Knowing about and contributing to these sites with great ideas and information, with links to your site, your home base, gets you into the conversation at the place where travel decisions are being made.

Having a Facebook page for your business is vitally important. But social media and internet marketing is a fluid, growing, ever changing field. Be where you customers congregate.

Do you have a solution to this smartphone dilemma or a favorite social media site for your niche that you can share with other rural area tourism folks?

Here are some past posts that talk about social media that might interest you:

Why Social Media Marketing is Hard for Rural Tourism Business

Is Facebook a Good Marketing Tool For Rural Tourism Businesses?

Small Rural Tourism Businesses! Ignore Social Networking at Your Peril!

Photo on Flickr by Let Ideas Compete.

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