How to Attract More Bookings: Digital Marketing Basics for Holiday Parks
How can you attract more bookings? Through effective digital marketing. That’s the short answer. Now to explain exactly how and why.
To promote your park, its most attractive features, and its surrounding area effectively, you must place 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 all practices carried out to promote a service or product online. Done properly, it saves time and maximises profits. And that’s just its main advantages.
But what does digital marketing for holiday parks involve?
It’s made up of 6 main practices: content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, SEO, PPC, and analytics.
We’ll now explain these practices and advise how you can use them to ensure your resort looks its best and is seen by the maximum number of your ideal potential guests online.
Content marketing for holiday parks
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 moulding and increasing online awareness, attracting visitors to your website, and creating business leads.
There are two main types of digital content.
Blog posts are online articles like the ones you read in magazines and are the most common type of content marketing. Regularly publishing articles with keywords for SEO (search engine optimisation) on the blog page of your website 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 these blogs in e-shots and on social media can help them reach an even wider audience.
Blog articles are an invaluable source of information about your park for potential guests.
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 its 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 won’t know much about them and would be interested in finding out more. There are probably also plenty of potential guests with more specific interests who would be keen to learn about the ancient towns, rocky gorges and spectacular caves in and around the Mendips.
You could title your first article Things to Do in the Mendip Hills. A blog article with this title would promote your park’s area and is likely to be the exact phrase your potential guest will search for online.
But before you start writing, you’ll want to brush up on your writing skills. Blog articles are only as effective as they are well written. You’ll need to make sure yours are 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 (to book, sign up for a newsletter or read a related article, for instance). When you’ve written a blog, share it with potential guests on social media and by email.
Infographics are another popular form of marketing content. They also communicate information about your park or other relevant information that will draw potential guests towards your website, but do so visually.
Attractive and informative graphics that are well laid out and decorated with visually appealing details and text in complementary fonts are excellent attention grabbers that deliver messages swiftly. You can embed infographics in blog articles or share them as standalone pieces that link back to your website. Good use of well-crafted infographics has been shown to increase traffic to websites by an average of 12%.
Stats, awards, things to do onsite, things to do nearby, a design built around a photo of the canopies above your park’s nature trail bursting with spring blossom: these are all great subjects for infographics. They are best used as a way of getting across anything you want to communicate briefly and quickly.
As with blog article writing, before you start making infographics, you’ll do well to get to grips with some graphic design skills. This will help make sure yours are visually appealing and communicate their messages effectively.
Effective content marketing for holiday parks delivers 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 ones. 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 to online awareness and attractiveness, which in turn, are the keys to maximising your revenues.
Social media marketing for holiday parks
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, current and past 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, everyone now has that potential.
And a huge number of people are. 91% of Millennials, 76% of Generation X, and 50% of Baby Boomers are active social media users. Globally, the number of social media users grows by 1.3 million every day.
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 the most popular social media channel and the channel 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 a picture 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 doesn’t mean gaining popularity is easy, and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed. And once you’ve built popularity, the next challenge is to convert that popularity into paying guests. Your social posts should be varied, and where appropriate, well written and visually appealing. All posts should be of interest to your audience. It’s them you are posting for, not you.
Email marketing for holiday parks
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
- Content distribution
- Follow-up emails 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 guests. Your marketing email should always be of interest to whoever you are sending them to and should always contain a link to your website.
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 the email address of potential guests. And don’t forget that previous guests, with some of the right nurturing, are likely to become returning guests. Make sure, then, to keep the emails addresses (with opt-in) of everyone who books a holiday on your park on record.
It’s 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 won’t even remove the wrapping.
Your subject line must entice receivers to open the email and its content must persuade the receiver to use the special offer, read the blog, complete the holiday satisfaction survey, or whatever else it is you want them to do. Well written, visually appealing emails with relevant content are therefore a must. If your marketing emails are of poor quality and irrelevant, recipients will begin to unsubscribe.
Do email marketing well, and you can expect it to multiply the investment you spend on it many times over.
SEO for holiday parks
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 up search engine result pages. 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 relevant search terms on search engines.
SEO is formed of two camps.
This term refers to three things you can include within the text that appears 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 should 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, that your business provides, type into a search engine to find it? It’s very likely they’d 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 on pages that are generated when it’s entered into a search engine.
To optimise your website for a keyword phrase, include it 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 results over those that do not. As you’ve 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 SEO.
The other two aspects of on-page SEO are internal links to your other webpages and external links to web pages on other websites. Embedding links to other pages on your website within your webpage text helps search engines map out 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 clickers to your website. To search engines, backlinks are votes of confidence. The more a search engine trusts the website casting the vote – i.e. how great that backlinking website’s domain authority is – the more trust they’ll extend to the linked website.
As you create and publish more and more quality content on your website you’ll gain more online visibility. This visibility will help you earn backlinks ‘organically’, as digital marketing industry jargon terms it – other website owners will find your useful content and link to it.
There are, however, other methods you can use to get other websites to backlink to your own. Writing guest posts that link to your website for publications on other websites is one. Another is to have your website listed along with a link 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 best you can get.
PPC for holiday parks
Pay Per Click is a form of online advertising.
It’s 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 and 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’ll 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 downside 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 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 selected because they fit the bill of your potential guests. Some companies have reported returns of x2.5 on their Facebook 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 on your tweets.
With PPC for holiday parks, it’s 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 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 at its task to convert visitors into guests, you’ll end up falling into the pitfall of PPC: you’ll spend more on it than it brings in for you.
Marketing analytics for holiday parks
Easily gathered, easily stored and easily understandable data is one of the wonders of digital marketing. Whether it’s by counting likes, shares, views, clicks, and time spent on a page 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’ll reveal which of your channels is generating the most engagement from potential guests, and which types and subjects of content your potential guests like the 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.
Why digital marketing for holiday parks is so important
“Okay, that’s 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 in this article now underpin the competitiveness of your business. More and more of the holiday lettings industry is wising up to this shift and how it continues to elevate the importance of digital marketing. You should master the practises described above now simply to keep abreast with the pace of the change.
The good news is, when you do master digital marketing, you will:
- Gain the ability to speak to potential guests and better understand what they want
- Spread awareness of your park
- Form the way people think about your park by promoting its best features
- Create more business leads and enquiries from the type of guest you want to attract
- Use accurate and easily gathered data to continuously perfect your digital marketing efforts
We hope this guide has helped you to understand the basics of digital marketing for holiday parks and what you need to do to promote your business effectively. You likely now also have a sense of the time and the skills that effective digital marketing for holiday parks entails. It’s a big undertaking. Thankfully, it’s also one you can unburden yourself of.
The Gold Standard Service
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All work done by your Gold Standard virtual back office will be completed in your name, under your brand. If you wish, the service can also handle your customer service, bookings, and revenue management.
Best of all, the costs are guaranteed to be outweighed by what’s likely to be £1000s in extra income the service will earn for you.