Whether it’s “Sunshine Saturday” or “Blue Monday,” many of us would have started the new year thinking of blue skies and relaxation.
Over 5 million Brits would have booked holidays in January as the post-Christmas back-to-work drudge takes hold. But what can Welsh tourism businesses do to put themselves top of destination bucket lists before the rush of holiday season starts?
The Welsh tourism industry is worth over £6 billion a year, and with digital there’s no reason why your business can’t have a piece of that. Whether you’re in accommodation, activities / experiences or food and drink, technology can help you attract customers from all over the globe.
Here are Superfast Business Wales’ top digital tips for Welsh tourism businesses in 2020.
1. Install an online booking system
Are you still using a diary and phone to take bookings? While “vintage” might make up a holiday mood board on Pinterest, your customers will appreciate a more modern booking experience. In 2018, 81% of people booked their holiday online, with people now expecting to be able to book their stay at a time that suits them. Online booking systems take the hassle out of managing your bookings, prevent double-bookings and take care of cancellations, allowing you to take as many bookings as possible. It also lets your customers book 24/7, at their leisure.
Not sure where to begin? See our How To on online booking systems.
2. Use a social media management tool
Social media helps Welsh tourism businesses reach a worldwide audience. Visit Wales, the Welsh Government tourism arm, has over 1,000,000 likes on Facebook, nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram and 315,000 Twitter followers. With such a large reach, there isn’t a corner of the globe that can’t see what Wales has to offer.
But, if you’re a small business where all hands need to be on deck, what can you do to promote your business online? Social media management tools let you schedule posts in advance, meaning you can maintain your online presence while making sure your visitors are having the best experience possible. Plus, by doing that, they’re more likely to share posts about your business on their own social media. Win win!
Ready to stay social? Sign up for our free tourism-focused Social Media workshop.
3. Be proactive to protect your online reputation
As well as promoting your business in a positive light, social media can also be used to vent frustrations in the form of bad reviews. Managing your online reputation is vital in an era where posts can travel across the world in a moment. Social listening tools and popular review sites can help you respond quickly to any negative reviews, as well as provide you with a source of glowing testimonials to attract new business.
Perhaps the most important bit of advice here relates to responding to negative feedback: breathe. Take a minute.
The last thing your business needs is to get involved in a keyboard battle...
4. Keep customers connected with public Wi-Fi
unless your whole selling point is “no Wi-Fi, no signal, no distractions”… in which case, skip to tip 5)
Everyone expects Wi-Fi these days, wherever they are. Having Wi-Fi on your premises will help keep your customers connected.
Not only does it add another reason to visit you, it’s the perfect way of helping visitors tell their friends about you while they’re still enjoying themselves at your attraction.
5. Get your accommodation graded by Visit Wales
This goes hand-in-hand with your online reputation. 5-star ratings on Facebook and TripAdvisor are great for attracting customers online, but an independent rating from an official scheme can help you stand out even more. Visit Wales run an official nationwide quality assessment for tourism businesses, similar to other grading schemes across the UK. This gives potential customers an impartial grading that shows the overall quality of your facilities, as well as another selling point for you to promote. Find out more here.
6. Let digital take care of office admin
Last but not least is the behind-the-scenes work that your visitors won’t see. Day-to-day admin such as invoicing, quoting and customer relationship management can take up a significant amount of time – time which you could spend winning new customers. Luckily, software is available to automate a lot of back office processes. It can even help you spot trends so you can prepare for off-season effectively. Not only that, office systems can save you money. Online subscription-based services like Office 365 can cut costs while keeping your vital business data safe and accessible from anywhere. Handy if you run an adventures business where your ‘day job’ involves scaling rocks rather than spinning in an office chair…