Marketing communications is an important strategic component of those in the tourism industry. It is often used as a form of business-to-business (B2B) communications. The goal of most marketing communications efforts are to drive and increase tourism in a specific state, city or country. Providers of services in the tourism industry (airlines, hotels, convention and tourism boards, travel publication editors, local media, etc.) use marketing communications vehicles to achieve mutually beneficial relationships and goals. Members of the marketing communications departments also guide and approve the marketing strategies and creative works developed by outside advertising agencies.
Tourism Articles and Reviews
Travelers in both business and consumer categories read articles and reviews about hotels, airlines and “must see and do” activities in destination cities. They read reviews in print magazines and online, and they watch television features. Tourism industry service providers track articles to include quotes and recommendations that relate to their services on websites and in advertising to heighten preference for using their services.
Brochures and Websites
Travel brochures and websites are perhaps the most important communications vehicle for those in the tourism industry. Families visit websites to make vacation plans. Groups distribute brochures and drive members to websites to select providers and destinations. Industry service providers must develop enticing and compelling brochures and websites, knowing that this is often the way that customers make their decisions on where they want to go and which service providers they will use, and to provide background information to further the development of business-to-business services and relationships.
When a magazine, television show or Internet site features a product or service by name in an article or broadcast, the mention of the company name within the context of editorial information is referred to as an “advertorial.” This is because the feature is part advertising because it highlights a product or service, and it is part editorial because the product or service aligns with the subject or topic matter. Tourism industry companies work with broadcast producers and public relations professionals to have their products and services featured as advertorials to gain exposure, free advertising and generate sales. They use marketing communications efforts to structure relationships to provide quotes for articles and serve as tourism authorities on topics covered by media organizations in exchange for marketing opportunities.
Convention and Tourism Boards
Those in the tourism industry use marketing communications to develop relationships with government convention and tourism agencies and boards. The boards are dedicated to promote tourism in their cities and countries to generate revenue. Airlines, hotels, tour operators and other travel and tourism service providers work with convention and tourism boards to help them achieve their goals. Companies employ ongoing marketing communications activities to update the boards on plans and promotions, and to explore ways to increase tourism.
Marketing communications departments distribute press releases and control media relations efforts and activities. Press releases are used by airline companies to announce new routes and services. Hotels use releases to promote remodeled facilities and to gain awareness of new features like free Internet use. The media contacts tourism industry representatives for quotes and comments on issues such as additional charges for luggage, flight cancellation policies, and provisions for travelers in the event of a strike by airline pilots or flight attendants.