A year of travel restrictions and social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic has meant huge disruption for small businesses all around the world, including here in Jamaica.  As tourism begins to open up, it’s a great time to take a step back and set in place some practical steps to ensure that your business can take full advantage of the recovery. That’s why our ‘Big Up Small Business’ initiative with the TUI Care Foundation has published a new guide called ‘Promoting your Tourism Business’ that includes a wealth of advice on how to improve your marketing and step by step instructions on everything from branding to social media. Here are just five essential tips from the guide that are useful to consider as you look to rebuild and restart.  To download the full guide, click here.

  1. Know your brand:

Understanding what makes your business different to others and what customers expect from you is an important first step to building a strong brand identity.  Doing a bit of background work on this now will help you to present a strong, attractive brand as tourism begins to return. Ask yourself who your customers are and where they come from. How do they find you and what do they like about your offer?  Is this likely to have changed due to the pandemic? Exploring these questions will enable you to adapt your approach to suit the new circumstances and ensure that customers can easily understand what you offer and how to purchase it. Plus, don’t forget that your business is also part of the broader destination brand Visit Jamaica. Familiarise yourself with the Visit Jamaica brand and take advantage of images and other assets on offer.

5. Harness the power of reviews.

One of the best ways you can build trust and win new customers is by gaining endorsements on third-party websites. Firstly, take control of your listings: register your free business listings on TripAdvisor and Google and make sure your information is up-to-date and your best images are displayed. Ask every visitor who has had a positive experience to leave a review. Make it easy by giving a reminder card or emailing them a link the next day. Respond to as many reviews as possible, always in a professional manner. Listen to feedback and use it to improve.

2. Create a clear call to action. 

Focus on what you want your marketing efforts to achieve and make sure that your communications present this clearly.  For example, if you want direct sales, make it easy to reserve or buy through your website or Facebook page. A lot has changed in the past year so now is a good time to review all your communications to ensure that your contact details, product descriptions, opening times and costs are all correct and that information is clearly and consistently presented.  Misleading information can lead to negative reviews.

3. Improve your own website.

Your website is your best marketing tool and this is where all your marketing efforts should direct potential customers to. Review your website and make sure that content is clear and consistent and that it’s easy to book, get in touch and find you.  It’s essential that your website is optimised for all devices, a 2019 State of Travel report hlighted that 47% of travel research is made on smartphone.  As well as a range of tips to improve your website and search engine optimisation, our new guide also includes advice for those setting up a new website.

4. Be smart about social media. Social media can help to drive brand awareness, generate direct bookings and become a key revenue channel for your business. But it can also take up a lot of your time, so you need to be targeted and smart about how you use it. Get to know the platforms on offer and which are likely to be most used by your customers. Keep in mind that not every post is suitable for every platform, so you shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. Our new marketing guide has lots of tips and links to resources where you can find out more.

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