A tourism marketing plan helps guide your marketing decisions by assigning tasks, choosing marketing messages, and allocating funds to promote your area. It solidifies what you will say and how you will say it to entice potential visitors to your area. A successful plan requires specific information about the people who travel to your area and what they want while they stay there. Here is an easy-to-follow guide to help you write your tourism marketing plan.
Define your objectives. These should be broad-reaching goals your organization would like to accomplish through a marketing plan. For example, you could attempt to increase the number of tourists who come to your area or the number of dollars each visitor spends in local shops.
Perform a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that could affect your position in the marketplace (such as plentiful natural features or a lack of banquet halls). Opportunities and threats represent external forces that affect your marketing capabilities (such as untapped tourism markets or an extended recession that affects tourism spending).
Create a community or area profile. Make a master list of the features your area offers including lodging, restaurants, retail shops, attractions, parks, water features and other amenities that will appeal to travelers.
Identify your target markets. Survey your visitors to determine who they are and what they like to do. Ask for demographic information (such as gender, age, income and home town) that will help you purchase the appropriate media in the right markets. Create market segments based on targeted characteristics (for instance, families living in a nearby city who take day trips to your area or retired couples from a neighboring state who visit your community annually).
Choose marketing objectives for each market segment. For instance, you could want to increase awareness of day-tripping opportunities in the market segment that already visits your area for day trips.
Create your marketing strategies. For each targeted market segment, find the most suitable media for sharing your travel message. Most publishers and media suppliers offer demographic information to help you match your marketing points to their audience. For example, target day-trippers in the local newspaper or on radio, but focus marketing efforts toward travelers from outside the area in regional magazines and tourism brochures.
Plan your implementation. Assign marketing tasks to specific personnel and determine how you will execute your marketing strategies. Create a timeline that details who, what, when, where and how for each marketing task.
Write your budget. Include how much you have to spend and how you plan to spend it. Don’t forget to include incidental expenses such as paper (for printing letters).
Develop an evaluation plan. Marketing without analyzing its effectiveness wastes money. Create a way to measure your tourism marketing efforts (such as including a code or using a dedicated number for particular media to measure response).
Spend a couple of months creating your tourism marketing plan. This gives you plenty of time to research and solicit the feedback necessary to ensure a successful plan.