How do you attract more online bookings? With effective digital marketing – that is the short answer. Now to explain why, and how best to use digital marketing for holiday parks.
To promote your park effectively, you must put your promotional material where it will be seen. Today, and even more so tomorrow, the place people are looking is the internet.
Digital marketing refers to the practices used to promote products and services online. Done properly, it saves time and maximises profits, and those benefits are just two of many.
Digital marketing is made up of six core practices:
- content marketing
- social media marketing
- email marketing
We will now explain each of these practices and advise how you can use them to attract more bookings and sales enquires from your ideal guests.
Content marketing involves creating and sharing digital content designed to promote your park. In the context of digital marketing for holiday parks, ‘promote your park’ means influencing and increasing online awareness of your park, attracting visitors to your website, and creating business leads.
There are two main types of digital content.
Blog posts are articles. They are like the ones you read in magazines, except they are published online. They are the most common type of content marketing. Publishing articles that include keywords for SEO (search engine optimisation) regularly on your website’s blog page is a very effective way to draw potential guests to your website. The more visitors your website attracts, the further awareness of your park will spread and the more sales leads it will generate. Promoting blog pages and posts in e-shots and on social media helps them reach more potential readers.
For potential guests, blog articles are an invaluable source of information about your park.
But what should you write about? Consider what potential guests would want to know about your park and its surrounding area, and make sure to emphasise their top selling points and USPs (unique selling propositions).
Say, for example, your park is on the edge of the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Lots of people will have heard of the Mendips but will not know much about them and would be interested to find out more. You would likely also have plenty of potential guests with specific interests who would be keen to learn about the medieval palace, the winding rocky gorge and cavernous caves in and around the area.
One example, therefore, of a good title for an article to write and publish on your website’s blog page would be Things to Do in the Mendip Hills. This blog article would build awareness of and stir interest in your park’s area, and its title is likely to be the exact phrase many people thinking about visiting the Mendips will be typing into online search engines.
But before you start writing, you will want to brush up on your writing skills. Blog articles are only as effective as they are well written. You will need to make sure yours are well researched, easy to read, informative, interesting, and entertaining.
Make sure to include attention-grabbing headlines, eye-catching images, informative subheadings, links to relevant pages on other websites, links to other pages on your own website, and a call to action (‘book now’, ‘sign up to our mailing list’ or ‘view our holiday homes to rent’, for instance).
When you publish a blog, encourage potential guests to read it by sharing its link on social media and by email.
Infographics – visual representations of information – are another popular form of digital marketing content. Attractive and informative infographics are excellent attention grabbers and swift deliverers of messages. They are best used as a way of getting across anything you want to communicate briefly and quickly. Yours should draw potential guests to your website by communicating information that will encourage them to want to visit your park.
Stats, awards, things to do onsite, things to do nearby, a design centred around a photo of the canopies above your park’s nature trail bursting with spring blossom: these are all great subjects for infographics.
As with blog article writing, before you start making infographics, you will do well to get to grips with some graphic design skills. Make sure your infographics are well laid out and decorated with visually appealing detail and text written in complementary fonts. This will help make sure they look good and communicate their messages efficiently.
You can embed infographics in blog articles or share them as standalone pieces that link to your website. A study by OneSpot has shown that good use of well-crafted infographics can increase traffic to websites by an average of 12%.
Effective content marketing for holiday parks has massive benefits. Infographics and blog articles are your secret online weapons to show and tell potential guests about all the things that make your holiday park uniquely attractive. In doing so, they draw potential guests to your website and help convert them into real paying guests.
Remember though, that content marketing for holiday parks is only as effective as the quality of the content created and shared. Quality and consistency are the keys for unlocking ever greater online awareness and attractiveness, which in turn, are the keys to maximising your income revenues.
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Social media marketing
Social media marketing for holiday parks is about using social media platforms to increase awareness of your park, persuade potential guests that your park is a good place for a holiday, and direct potential guests to your website. It can and should also be used to communicate with potential, past, and present guests.
Social media has revolutionised the way we share information. In years gone by, only the biggest print and broadcast publishing companies had the reach to communicate with big public audiences. Thanks to the rise of social media, we all now have that potential and many of us are realising and making use of it. 91% of Millennials, 76% of Generation X, and 50% of Baby Boomers are active social media users (eMarketer). Globally, the number of social media users grows by 1.3 million every day (Hootsuite).
Social media users can build their own audiences, and even better, they can shape them. You can too. By sharing the right content on the right social channels at the right time, you will build up followings of people who are interested in what your business has to offer. In other words, your own specially crafted audiences of potential guests.
Here are three of the main social media channels and how they are useful in the context of social media marketing for holiday parks.
Facebook is both the overall most popular social media channel and the one most popular with older audiences. Text, images and videos can all be shared on Facebook. The versatility of Facebook is made even more powerful by its instant messaging function, which allows you to chat to your audience in real-time.
Instagram is an image sharing platform. Posting on Instagram is an excellent way to show off to your audience how great and how beautiful your park and its surrounding area are. Got a great picture of your park lit up in the golden rays of the setting sun? Let its glory shine on Instagram.
Tweets are short pieces of text. The beauty of Twitter is the ease with which it allows you to share information instantly and talk directly to potential guests. Got a new special offer to announce? Tweet it to the world from the Twitter treetops.
As self-publishing platforms, all three of these social media channels are excellent places to share your blog articles and infographics.
Anyone can publish on social media, but that does not mean gaining popularity is easy, and it certainly does not mean it is guaranteed. And once you have built popularity, the next challenge is to convert it into paying guests. Your social posts should be varied, and depending on the channel, well written, visually appealing, or both. All posts should be of interest to your audience. It is them you post for, not you.
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Another great way to promote your park and share information is by sending marketing emails directly to the inboxes of potential guests. Examples of the type of email you will want to consider sending include:
- news of special offers
- news of availability
- showcases of stock
- digital content (blog, infographic) distribution
- follow-ups to ask guests for reviews
Again, the overarching aim here is to raise awareness of your park, draw potential guests to your website, and encourage those potential guests to convert into paying ones. Your marketing emails must always be of interest to whoever you are sending them to and always prompt readers to visit your website or carry out another action that will benefit your business.
The more email addresses of potential guests you have to send your marketing emails to, the better the results from your marketing email efforts will be. So use whatever opportunity you can to collect email addresses of potential guests. And don’t forget that previous guests, with some nurturing, are likely to become returning guests. Make sure, then, to keep the emails addresses (with opt-in) of everyone who books a holiday at your park on record.
It is important to note that potential guests will only open an email if it looks like it will be of interest to them. If your email looks uninteresting receivers will bin it like an unwanted Christmas present, except they will not even remove the wrapping.
Your subject line must entice receivers to open the email and its content must persuade them to use a special offer, read a blog, complete a holiday satisfaction survey, or whatever else it is you want them to do. Relevant, well written, visually appealing email content is therefore a must. If your marketing emails are of poor quality and irrelevant, their recipients will begin to unsubscribe.
Get email marketing right, and you can expect it to multiply what you spend on it many times over.
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Search engine optimisation or SEO for holiday parks is the collective name for the actions you can take to help ensure your website appears higher on search engine result pages. Research by the search-targeted advertising company Chitika has revealed that websites that appear on the first page of search results receive 95% of online traffic. SEO is therefore critical if you want your website to be visible to potential guests entering search terms relevant to your park into search engines.
SEO is formed of two camps.
This term refers to three things you can include within the text on your website to help make your website more visible to search engines.
The first is keywords. Keywords, and their taller siblings, keyword phrases, are words and phrases that are commonly entered into search engines. Adding them to the text on your website signals to search engines what that text and the webpage it appears on are about.
You should include keywords in your text that are relevant to your business.
But how do you identify relevant keywords?
Say, for example, your park is in the Lake District and has holiday lodges for rent. What would someone looking for something that your park provides type into a search engine to find it? It is very likely they would enter ‘lodges for rent in the Lake District’.
And there you have it. This is one example of a search term that you would want your park to appear high up on search results pages that are generated when it is entered into a search engine.
To optimise your website for a keyword phrase, include that phrase within the text that features on your relevant webpages. But be careful how many times you add it. Too few, and search engines might not pick up it. Too many, and search engines will penalise you for ‘keyword stuffing’.
Note too, that search engines grade websites according to the quality of their content. Websites that have plenty of well-written content are given preference on lists of search results over those that do not. As you have probably guessed, regularly updating your blog with new, well written, keyword-rich articles is one of the best things you can do to improve your website’s SEO.
The other two aspects of on-page SEO are internal links to your other webpages and external links to webpages on other websites. Embedding links to other pages on your website within its text helps search engines map your website, and the better search engines understand your website, the more likely they are to place it higher on their lists of relevant search results. Links to external websites that have strong domain authority funnel some of that authority into your own site. As with keywords, be sure your webpage text includes them, but be careful not to overdo it.
The other camp of SEO is all about what takes place outside of your website. That means backlinks. These are links on other websites that direct people who click them to your website. Search engines see backlinks as votes of confidence. The more a search engine trusts the website casting the vote – i.e. how strong that backlinking website’s domain authority is – the more trust it will extend to other websites it links to.
As you create and publish more and more quality content on your website you will gain more online visibility. This visibility will help you earn backlinks ‘organically’, as digital marketing industry jargon terms it. In other words, owners of other websites will find your useful, high-quality content and put links to it in their own content.
There are, however, additional methods you can use to get other websites to backlink to your own. Writing guest posts that link to your website for blogs hosted by other websites is one. Another is to have your website listed and linked on a popular online directory. When considering SEO for holiday parks, a backlink from a long-established, industry-leading online holiday park directory is about the strongest vote of confidence your website can get.
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Pay per click is a form of online advertising.
It is an arrangement between you: the owner of the advert, and the website hosting your ad: the advertiser. PPC is what it says on the tin. You pay the host every time someone clicks on your ad then lands on your website. Digital ads might be anything from webpage banners, images, text snippets, videos, or simple standalone links.
Here are a few of the most popular PPC options for holiday parks.
Google Ads is the king of PPC. Do a deal with Google and they will put your ad, or in this case a link to one of your webpages, in one of the top spots on their relevant search results pages. Think of it almost like paid-for SEO. The advantage is that your website will shoot straight to the top of relevant search results pages on Google. The drawback is that Google will charge you every time a web user clicks for raising your link up the list.
Paid ads on Facebook are hugely popular. They are used by 70% of digital marketers and that probably has a lot to do with their versatility. They allow you to place custom made videos, photos and graphics into the feeds of users chosen because they match the profile of your potential guests. Some companies have reported returns of up to 250% on their Facebook paid ads investments.
Twitter Ads is a type of PPC through which you can make a series of posts or profile badges visible to potential guests. And there’s a further perk. Twitter Ads also allow you to set specific business goals for your PPC campaigns. That could be getting more people to visit your website, gaining more Twitter followers, or getting more engagement (likes and comments) on your tweets.
With PPC for holiday parks, it is important to get two things right.
- Put your ad in the right place. You want it where it will be seen by the type of people who will see the picture of your park, your accommodation or your area and think “I want to go on holiday there”.
- Ensure your website has a logical, easy to navigate structure, enticing text, and visually appealing images. If your ad is good, but your website is failing to convert visitors into guests, you will end up falling into the pitfall of PPC: it will cost you more than it brings in.
Easily gathered, stored and understandable data is one of the wonders of digital marketing. Whether by counting likes, shares, views, clicks, and time spent on pages or form fills completed, the success of every one of your digital marketing efforts can be measured with pinpoint accuracy.
The stats you gather paint a clear picture of what is working. They will reveal which of your channels is generating the most engagement from potential guests, and which types and subjects of content your potential guests like most.
Armed with these insights, you have all the knowledge you need to continuously tweak and perfect your digital marketing efforts, and in doing so, spread awareness of your park ever further and draw in more and more enquiries from the type of guests you want to attract.
What is so important about digital marketing for holiday parks?
“Okay, that is all great”, you might be thinking, “but why is digital marketing for holiday parks important?”
Holidays are ever more increasingly searched for, found, and booked online. For this reason, the importance of effective digital marketing for holiday parks has shifted from necessary, to vital, to critical. The practices described now underpin the competitiveness of all businesses that trade online.
The good news is, when you do master digital marketing, you will:
- gain the ability to speak with potential guests
- better understand what potential guests want
- spread awareness of your park
- influence the way people think about your park
- attract more of the types of guests you want
Digital Marketing for Holiday Parks
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