Northern Ireland Tourist Board

How can we help?

Or browse

Harnessing the power of digital at TNI-funded workshop

Industry Development Programme, Digital tourism

Posted by Tourism NI

Published March 8, 2017

The single most important tool in your business’s digital content strategy is not a mobile phone, laptop or computer. It’s the humble calendar that is key to carrying through your marketing tasks according to digital marketer, Andi Jarvis of The Tomorrow Lab.

Harnessing the power of digital at TNI-funded workshop

Digital marketer Andi Jarvis (centre) with delegates at the workshop on Tuesday

At a Digital DNA workshop in the Guildhall in Derry on Tuesday, Andi addressed a range of tourism operators on the critical role of digital technology. The Tourism NI supported event, which took place as part of Derry-Strabane Enterprise Week, explored how the power of digital is changing the way businesses compete. The first of a series of workshops to be carried out across Northern Ireland, details of upcoming events can be accessed here.

Discussing a range of marketing imperatives, under the title of The Seven C’s, Andi stressed the importance of harnessing digital in reaching today’s customers. However, it was the traditional paper, wall calendar which was given prominence in a wide-ranging address to accommodation, activity and transport providers.

“If you don’t have a calendar on the wall, showing when content has to be posted and who is going to do it, then I guarantee you it won’t happen as other business tasks take over. Neither should the task be left to the ‘young person’ in the business or the student who’s still at uni – outsource for better quality and more frequent content and updates.”

Dismissing the notion that digital marketing was ‘free’, Andi urged delegates to be realistic about markets and customers and to assemble a proper strategy before even thinking about content.

“The Seven Cs are seven questions you need to ask in assembling your digital strategy, questions regarding your company, your customer, the context in which you’re operating and your competition. Only when you have these issues clarified should you begin to think about content.

“Communicating with customers used to be one of the hardest things to do but now digital has democratised access in a way never seen before. You can talk directly to customers in a manner of your choosing but it’s not free.

“Beware also of those who tell you what platforms you need to be on. If anyone tells you ‘you should be targeting millennials’, that ‘you should be on Instagram’, they’re wrong. If it’s not targeted at your market, if it’s not going to help your business, then you’re just burning money.”

Andi advised a ‘features, advantages and benefits’ approach in marketing tourism and hospitality businesses and turning that around to pinpoint the benefits your business provides.

“People buy in these sectors for the emotional benefits so if you’re trying to connect with a market write ‘F A B’ down the side of a page. Your features may include that you’re a self-catering cottage and advantages that you have a café onsite. Your benefits however are ‘if you as a customer want the best weekend away ever we have all you need to do that’.  Pinpoint the emotional benefits then find that market digitally and for that you have to pay.”

In terms of content for social media and digital platforms, Andi suggested utilising user-generated content as well as your staff expertise.

“When someone is using your business ask for their photos or for them to post them. Also use the unique expertise contained in your and your staff members’ heads. If you simply write about features you’ll soon run out of ideas so extract that expert information and use that in your strategy.”

Quantifying how much digital marketing would mean in terms of revenue is also essential to any strategy, added Andi.

“Track it and measure it back and use that information. Are people inquiring but not buying, do you need to look at pricing? Use the information to tweak your digital strategy, how much are you going to make and how much are you willing to spend?”

A number of additional workshops will be held throughout March. See more here.

Posted by Tourism NI

Produced by Tourism NI