The tourism industry has made the great migration from travel agency storefronts to an online landing page. Now, more than ever, people are booking reservations online for their next vacation. Before purchasing something, between 80 and 90% of customers look at online reviews, and this is especially true when booking hotels, resorts, campgrounds, and other types of lodging. In short, online reservations have drastically changed how tourism marketing works.

How else has the internet transformed the tourism industry?

Good Reviews Rule All: The goal in marketing any type of lodging, be it a short stay in a cabin, campground, or classy hotel, is to persuade people that this is the place they want to be. The method of convincing people, though, has changed. When once travel agents would have control over recommendations for resorts and every sort of vacation, now it is the fellow traveler who has been to the places you might want to go. Every guest who passes through your doors is a potential reviewer, for better and for worse. How can you, as marketers, control this? There are a variety of ways to help generate positive reviews on these travel review sites, but simply encouraging your guests to leave reviews about their experience is a great place to start.

Search Results Did you know that 75% of online traffic is driven by search engines? The science of getting more traffic to your website through search engines is known as search engine optimization. Because Google frequently changes its search algorithm, mastering the search results is a constant struggle. As a result, virtually every major player in the hospitality industry employs a team of SEO professionals to push their website to the top of the rankings. However, SEO can be used in a number of creative ways to benefit your business. For instance, if there are negative, outdated reviews online that are affecting your reputation, you can optimize your social media pages to appear higher in the rankings. This will help push the negative reviews down so that searchers are less likely to find them. But no matter your SEO strategy, it’s no longer tenable to ignore your website’s search results.

A Modern Website Because there are so many sketchy operators taking advantage of people online, most consumers are extremely nervous to hand over their credit card information on the Internet. If your website doesn’t appear modern and professional, customers might hesitate to hand over their credit card number. Likewise, if your website doesn’t operate well on mobile devices, you will miss out on an incredibly large portion of the market. There are countless other ways your website might be unfriendly to users, from slow loading times to unprofessional font and web copy. For all these reasons and more, travel website design is an essential to successful tourism marketing. You can’t operate a successful company without a successful website.

Whether you want to direct customers to your campground, RV park, or tropical all-inclusive resort, you should understand just how much tourism marketing has changed as a result of the internet, and how you can keep up with the times. Reputation has always been the currency of the hospitality industry, but reputations can change in an instant thanks to the internet. To build your reputation in the digital age, a professional website, great reviews, and visibility in the search rankings are absolutely essential.