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Hi all,

Lessons from our regional digital audit #1

If you read yesterday’s weekly update, you’ll see that we’re going to pass on a message a week for a few weeks from the audit report from Tourism Tribe. This summarises the results of 20 individual business audits. The other info in the updates might distract you. So we’re sending these lessons out separately.
 
So, lesson #1: market your destination on your website – and reap the rewards

  • Websites are our most important digital asset. They work 24/7 and 365 days a year.

  • But our local businesses’ websites are missing some valuable content about their destination. (Which doesn’t necessarily mean the Fleurieu Peninsula as a whole – though we’d love that – but at least your local area and its offerings.)

  • Smart businesses provide links to other offerings around them.

  • These don’t have to be direct competitors. An accommodation provider, for example, can provide links to some key dining opportunities, tours, attractions and public assets such as national parks.

  • But clever ones realise that you’re not just selling you on your website – you’re a key part but not usually the whole of an experience.

  • And the best part – in promoting others you’re raising your own profile in web searches. Your SEO (search engine optimisation) improves. It’s a case of virtue getting rewarded!

  • I’ve come across at least one terrific local example of an operator who uses their website to promote other local experiences.

  • Have a look at Mulberry Lodge Country Retreat

  • Hazel Parker seems to have simply dozens of links to other businesses in the wining and dining game.

  • She reaches out beyond her own local scene – promoting experiences across the whole Fleurieu Peninsula.

  • And the prize? When you google Mulberry Lodge, its website comes up first and foremost. Quite often I notice that a particular tourism operator’s website is listed at spot four or lower down the first page. Hazel shows how using lots of hypertext links to other experiences is good marketing.

  • You might be a website hero like Hazel. If not, this is something to look at as you refocus the business.

 
And a personal note from me:

  • I’ve been banging on about this issue for a decade and have had Flinders University students do audits in a number of regions. Their job is to map the connections between a sample of tourism businesses in the region.

  • It’s a simple exercise and you could probably do it for yourself in a couple of hours:

  • Take a piece of paper or do it on a word document.

  • Place your site fairly centrally on the page.

  • Check it for URLs – hypertext links – that you have on it for other businesses and experiences

  • Put each of these businesses as spots around the page and draw arrowed lines to them.

  • Then check their websites and see if they’re repaying your compliment or promoting other experiences

  • If they promote you then have the arrowed line heading back your way.

  • What are you likely to find?

  • There are lots of holes. We’re simply not using the free opportunity of the internet to promote each other and our destination.

  • There are givers and receivers. Some experiences are well-supported by their neighbours on their websites but don’t reciprocate.

 

So there you have it. Another lesson from the Tourism Tribe audit coming up next week.

Warm regards,
Peter Cahalan
Manager, Fleurieu Peninsula Tourism

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Header image credit: @takeyourwaypl (IG) – Deep Creek Conservation Park.

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