Tourist Attractions And the New Rules Of Digital Marketing

As some who have followed me on Twitter will know, I have spent the last few days down in beautiful Pembrokeshire. It has not been the glorious Welsh summer that we wished for but nonetheless we have enjoyed ourselves. Pembrokeshire has a lot going for it - beautiful beaches, lovely seaside towns, hidden coastal villages, lovely inland villages and countryside and a wide range of activities for the tourist. Wherever you look, there is a good chance that you will find some place that you will never have explored before. 

There are a number of tourist attractions dotted around the area which provide a lot of pleasure to children and adults alike. However, there are some things that I have observed which I don't quite get. Why do most of the attractions still use their websites as an extension of the marketing they have done traditionally?Namely, broadcasting. 

The season for many of these places is quite short, let's say that it mainly runs from Easter through to the end of August and that they will likely generate most of their money in July and August. 

Most of the people who spend their times at these attractions will likely go home happy or possibly, extremely happy. However, what I find quite surprising is the fact that these businesses view their clients in terms or transactions and not as relationships. Let's explore this further in terms of digital marketing.
  • People visit a tourist attraction and pay their entry ticket at the ticket office. 
  • People go around the attractions and hopefully enjoy themselves.
  • Visitors leave attraction and shortly leave the region.
As some involved in digital marketing, I wonder why these businesses cut their customers adrift at the point where they could start begin to develop long-term relationships. At the very least they could be making sure that these [happy] customers are given the tools and encouragement to turn them into advocates or ambassadors who could be spreading the word for them.

The irony is that these businesses are not seasonal in the way they operate - they don't just open up at Easter and close in August. They will operate 12 months a year and be they adventure, attraction or animal-focused something will be going on every day and every month of the year. And this is where I think some of these businesses are missing a trick. They are missing out on the chance to engage with [happy, satisfied] customers all year long and letting them get closer to their businesses. 

Why would they want to do this, you may ask? 
  • Well, by keeping customers in the loop you can teach them more about your business. 
  • You can learn what they like. 
  • You can find out what turns them off. 
  • You can meet their friends. 
  • You can inform them of upcoming events at an attraction. 
  • Give them special offers/incentives. 
  • You can make them feel special.

I think that all manner of Social Media tools could be used for this purpose: Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, blogs, podcasts, videocasts, streaming video and much more. Notice, I haven't even touched on email marketing!

To conclude, by thinking relationships and not transactions, tourist attraction businesses could create better and more sustainable business models. And aside from asking for entrance fees, companies should be asking for email addresses, Facebook profiles, Twitter profiles, etc.

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