Share your Travel Marketing Secrets



Tourism Marketing Blog contributor Claude had the brilliant idea to reach out and ask experts to share their Travel Marketing Secrets and Tips – similar to the initative from Small Business Trends…but focused on travel, tourism, and hospitality marketing.The results will be shared here on the Tourism Internet Marketing Blog, and

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will also be presented at the Phocuswright Bloggers Summit at ITB, in collaboration with the “Tips from the T-List“. The top Travel Marketing Sectrets will also be publised in future version of the Tips from the T-List book.

Here is out it will work:

Share one of your own best-kept marketing secrets? (We’re just asking for one – you don’t have to give up ALL your secrets.) We want to hear from you in the comments below and use the Contact form on this blog to submit your travel marketing secret. Tell us one of your marketing tip that has worked well for you in your travel, tourism, or hospitality business. Please spread the word

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so that we get as many contributions as possible.

On February 17th we will take all contributions, and add them to a page on this blog to be scored. We will then combine

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the best secrets (with your name, company, and blog or website URL) into a downloadable eBook (edited by the “Tourism Internet Marketing Blog” and produced by the “Tips from the T-List”) which you can use; link to on your blog or website for a resource for your clients and readers; or print the document off for your marketing kit. The “best of the best” travel marketing secrets will appear in future editions of the “Tips of the T-List book” and will also be presented at the “Phocuswright Bloggers Summit at ITB, in collaboration with Tips from the T-List” (and other future Travel Blogger Summits). This is a great opportunity to increase your marketing visibility by being included in this document. So share your marketing tip!


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Comment by Marcus L Endicott
2008-02-03 05:29:19

2008 could well be the year of green tourism. One of the most useful yet most often overlooked resources is the 1800+ member green travel group at online since 1991. Anyone doing anything even remotely green (and its already high time this was everyone) should consider joining and posting their media releases to this group… for free! Group members include most of the leading names in the field of sustainable tourism, as well as numerous operators and avid consumers. The green travel group is also distributed widely by RSS newsfeed and populates the new “Destination 2.0” at with green travel content for every country on Earth.

Comment by Mathieu Ouellet
2008-02-03 08:43:48

Sounds good Jens. I wonder what kind of secret I will reveal! ; )

Comment by Chicke Fitzgerald
2008-02-03 13:02:24

When we set out to build LeisureLogix and the RoadTrip Wizard in 2006, we discovered two secrets about the travel market in the US.

Now to be fair, these shouldn’t be a secret, as they are published facts by TIA and Hitwise, but when the entire mainstream travel market, both online and offline remain air-centric in their product and service offerings, then I figure it must still be secret.

Secret number one – 10 of the top 20 search terms include mapping and driving directions.

Secret number two – 85% of all travel in the US was by car, truck or RV

So, if you would like to see how we have addressed this “secret” market segment, see or see the roadtrip wizard on

Comment by John Pope
2008-02-03 17:37:22

What a great idea! I may choose this as the best marketing idea. What better way to get visibility and traffic than to ask others to provide content to your blog?!! Brilliant! 🙂

Comment by Claude
2008-02-09 07:50:19


Thanks for your humour and to play the game 😉


Comment by Martin Schobert
2008-02-03 21:57:41

Interesting approach.

My first and most important secret of touristic online marketing is – be part of the game. Don’t talk about social web. Take a social part in the web. Start talking with others who writes about you or about your touristic region. Write your own blog or comment on a blogs of somenone-else or at a travel community. You will soon get the idea of the “travel 2.0 – game”.

But how do you know that somebody is talking about you on the web? This is my second secret:

A simple solution is to use google alerts to watch the web about the things which are written about you ( There is nothing more to be said why tourism experts should use it – just read the explanation on this site.

Comment by Fabienne Rabbiosi
2008-02-03 22:33:50

Excellent idea, I will ponder over these for the next few days!

2008-02-04 17:11:55

[…] for all the comments that article is getting — it even spawned a similar roundup for the tourism industry —  from my traffic stats I see that the logo design article […]

Comment by Scott McNeely
2008-02-04 17:49:55

Here’s something I can share. For many people it’s obvious that user-generated content (such as product reviews, ratings, etc). are critical for both the SEO benefits and the site-side conversion benefits.

If you’re still on the fence, I can share this statistic: when we launched user reviews at (online travel tours & activities booking site) we saw a 61% increase in conversion (yes, 61%!) for customers who read a user review. And it didn’t necessarily matter that the review was glowing or just so-so.

On the SEO side we tracked our top 2,000 keywords over this period and noticed significant gains in both our top terms and tail terms.

Comment by Vicky
2008-02-04 20:45:10

Hi Jens,

Great idea. Should (or could) our idea be accompanied by a full blown blog post, or are you looking for say a 50 word nugget? Naturally, give the length of my ramblings, I’m hoping for the first option 😉

2008-02-06 10:58:28

Hi Jens,

I sended you my tip : “Geo-locate Google advertisements and promotions in real time”

I hope it will be helpfull

Comment by todd lucier
2008-02-06 12:30:11

Hey Jens, here is my tip.
Hire a filter.
Not a coffee filter, an information filter, a person who will keep you in the know regarding internet marketing. Find someone who is tracking the things you care about and follow their blog. With so much going on in the world of Internet Marketing, who has the time to stay on top of it all?
So my tip is follow a blogger and if you aren’t yet using feeds to make the most of your time, learn how to use feeds so that you can spend less time trying to keep on top of what’s current and more time doing what matters to make the most of your internet marketing initiatives.

Consider checking out this video lesson on Using Feeds.


2008-02-06 12:42:39

Probably the most important secret Travelsapien can share after 40 years of successful and active engagement in the Tourism Industry is just one small simple thing – NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Sorry

Comment by Jaime Horwitz
2008-02-06 15:35:45

Hello Jens,
Good to hear from you after your trip to Europe. I’m in accounting hell at the moment, but I will contribute a “secret” before the deadline on the 17th. Saludos,

2008-02-06 15:44:31

[…] my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!Jens of the Tourism Internet Marketing blog has put out a call for travel marketing secrets and tips. He’s looking for your best kept marketing secret to add to Tips from the T List ebook. This […]

Comment by Heidi
2008-02-09 19:40:29

Travel marketing needs to shift towards the Internet. You need to be where your customer is, and that is on search engines in the premium rankings.

Most travel and tourism owners have websites, but fail to rank well in search engines. It is because they don’t know how to correctly build a website so that it can be found and ranked well.

I wanted to mention a site that has compiled Search Engine Optimization tips:

2008-02-11 08:58:38

[…] my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!Jens of the Tourism Internet Marketing blog has put out a call for travel marketing secrets and tips. He’s looking for your best kept marketing secret to add to Tips from the T List ebook. This set […]

Comment by Vicky
2008-02-11 21:25:42

My tip would be measure what works, so you can ditch what doesn’t.

That means thinking about what you want specific marketing activities to achieve and finding and appropriate way of assessing how well the activity does.

For online, that could mean using Web Analytics to figure out what volume and value third party referrals have had. You can get right down to the specific conversion rates for different key terms. Offline it could involve using different phone numbers in different publications, taioring your offers per ad, or simply asking customer to identify what prompted them to call today.

“I know only half of my advertising is working, trouble is I don’t know which half” no longer applies in this digital age. Measuring what is working gives you half your budget back!

Comment by Efthymios
2008-02-12 12:50:16

Dear Jens, all the best with your very interesting blogs.

My secrets on what Web 2.0 is and how businesses (and tourism businesses in particular I think) could use it as a strategic tool can be found in my latest post are posted in a series of short articles in my blog Thoughts on Web Marketing (

Comment by Tommy Sollén
2008-02-14 14:00:40

I just sent in my tip: build an online community for your target audience and give them the tools to market you better than you ever could yourself.
I’m talking about Sweden’s Official Online Community: that launched Nov 1:st.

This initiative is a great idea! I hope you’ll get some great tips 🙂

Comment by Kermitunz
2008-02-14 21:09:32

I’m kinda beginner in tourism/travel marketing but very motivated and interested.

My travel marketing secret is simple: go mobile!!! Travelers are willing to receive offers for accommodation, restaurants, travel and attractions on their mobile during their trip. They’re also willing to book their trip on their mobile if they’re busy in their working life.

Anyway, I love the idea of sharing your secrets…

Comment by Claude
2008-02-15 18:55:26

Social Networking and travel social networking are on the rise.

Networking is valuable to anyone who wants to get ahead in any kind of online business.

So how to handle this trends and be part of the conversation with a optimal way?

Just apply the 7 “be”

– be honest
– be authentic
– be friendly
– be helpful,
– be sharing
– be balance
– be fun

Think about how you can help and what you have to give, treat people how you would want to be treated, them you will can gain in return.

Simple, isn’t it 😉

Comment by Fabienne
2008-02-16 22:49:35

My piece of advice: don’t follow a blindfolded strategy because it is “just what you have always been doing and it worked just fine” but look up and see what the big ones are doing: there is a chance that they have more resources, expertise than you as they might have been in the game longer.

I work with a lot of small and medium tourism businesses in Australia and the first thing I recommend them to do is to do a review of what the tourism flows (visitors, visitor nights, origin) have been in their region and state over the past 5 years and what strategy, marketing plan and branding their local or regional tourism organisation has got planned for the future.

Understanding what their region is doing, why it is doing it and benchmarking their current practices will ensure operators devise a solid strategy that will benefit from the branding exposure, marketing and investment efforts provided by the region.

You would be amazed at the number of operators that do now know this kind of information exists and where to access quality free market intelligence both offline and online. Quarterly visitation to your tourism region (including visitor night, spend, occupancy, REVPAR, activities undertaken etc) are just a few clicks away. If you are not confident on the net, just pick up the phone, ask to talk to the Member Services department of your local tourism organisation and they will be more than happy to meet with you, assist you and help you grow your business.

I am not extremely familiar with how National, State, Regional and Local tourism organisations operate overseas but I believe the structure would be similar to the one we have in Australia where local and regional tourism organisations (LTOs and RTOs) are in constant contact with the region’s tourism stakeholders and operators. In Queensland, these organisations are non-for-profit, membership-based and provide their members with knowledge and training on matters such as regional, state and national tourism strategies, market intelligence, online strategies. They also set up monthly meetings and workshops lead by industry experts.

Don’t shoot in the dark and spend energy on unproductive results. Maximise your return on investment by leveraging off the resources at your fingertips. Identify where your knowledge is up-to-date, correct your mistakes and keep on building on your skills. Don’t sit back and relax but actively participate!

Comment by Happy Hotelier
2008-02-22 16:21:02

I am late. I know, but as you, I am busy and this is why:

In 2000 I started a new venture: I bought a house adjacent to our own house. I converted that into an upscale very Luxury B&B, Haagsche Suites, with only 3 suites.
Until then there were only very few alike facilities. We offer 5 start Hotel services, but are still a place to come home to. We opened in autumn 2002.
We are now in our sixth year of operation. Lacking the deep pockets necessary for even a moderate media campaign, I have banked on Worth of Mouth. It paid and pays of. Internet is a medium to spread the word. User generated content is the best worth of mouth advertising you can get as a Hotelier.
On one of the portals we have reached the top position of guest satisfaction (see Traffic and conversion have increased really tremendously since I reached that position.

Not so much a secret, but a simple truth.
Off to satisfy my guests again.

Comment by rene vaartjes
2008-02-23 15:45:56

Tip for the travel industry:

Unfortunately a lot of travel organizations are not able to arouse any kind of emotions during a visit at their websites. Our research found out that evoking the right emotions triggers travelers to book online and increases their customer satisfaction. This will also change customer behavior from to price driven to more emotional values.

rene vaartjes – author of Designing Emotions in Online Travel

Comment by Jaime Horwitz
2008-02-24 17:15:16

Creativity and Tourism

In my opinion and in my experience Creativity is THE marketing secret. Wikipedia defines creativity as “Creativity (or “creativeness”) is a mental process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations between existing ideas or concepts.” My former marketing professor, now one of my Facebook friends, and author of the book DigiMarketing: The Essential guide to New Media & Digital Marketing ( once defined creativity as (I’m paraphrasing) “putting things together that normally don’t go together”. A contemporary example of this concept is the mobile phone that combines music and telephony. The iPod products are examples of creativity at its best in the area of consumer products.

While both definitions are helpful, I define Creativity as “a new way of looking at something (a product, a destination, a piece of music) and presenting it or expressing it in an unexpected and/or innovative way. At the core of creativity is the verb to create from the latin root crescere meaning to grow. Therefore Creativity is also the process, the intellectual tool, by which something new is created.” A painter like Picasso, perhaps the most creative artist in history, could look at bicycle’s handlebars and a saddle and turn them into a bull’s head. An artist like Warhol looked at consumer products like Campbell’s cans of soup and turned them into (very valuable) works of art.

When it comes to tourism, clearly creativity matters and it will matter more in the future as competition for travelers’ share of time and walled intensifies. The most successful tourism businesses of the future will be those that are the most creative. Richard Florida became famous for his belief that the most successful cities in the world are and will be the creative cities. From a tourism perspective, it is also the most creative cities the ones that attract the most tourists. Whether it’s New York, Bilbao, Barcelona, Paris or Las Vegas (creativity does not necessarily mean ‘high-brow’) when it comes to urban experiences, the more creative a city, the more visitors it will attract. (Toronto is trying hard. I love the Ontario College of Ar & Design’s “building in the air” – The ROM Crystal gallery – – is a good step forward as is the Gehry designed AGO renovation, though not nearly as bold as the Guggenheim in Bilbao - or the Walt Disney Concert Hall in La – ) Creative cities attract creative residents and creativity thus retro feeds itself. Many hoteliers and restaurateurs have tapped the creativity in themselves or in others they hire to better compete in the marketplace. A restaurant that only focuses on food these days is at a disadvantage. Joso’s in Toronto ( , for example, has not only thrived because of it’s marvelous Mediterranean cuisine, but also because it’s a unique art gallery within the restaurnant (or vice versa).

Another great example of creativity at its best in tourism is the Museum 21C Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky ( This property is a hotel within a museum. Comfortable, clean rooms with great showers and “designer” toiletries are the minimum standard for today’s hotels (most mid and high-end ones at any rate). After that what makes a hotel different? The 21C goes beyond the usual: iPods with a wide variety of music for guests’ listening pleasure, award winning design and décor, poster art, 42″ HDTV flat screen televisions, WiFi, 500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets imported from Italy crowning the exquisite bedding, silver mint julep cups, gourmet coffee makers, mini-bar refrigerators, Malin + Goetz bath amenities, and nightly turn down and Concierge services.

What makes a hotel more attractive to prospective guests and, more importantly, what makes guests want to return to that hotel is the key success factor and creativity is the solution. The 21C Hotel does a fantastic job at wowing guests with its art collections and exhibits from living artists. The amenities are first class and the service is welcoming, professional and friendly.

But don’t think that in order to be creative you need the resources of a 21C or a W Hotel. I know a small family owned suites hotel in Morelia, Mexico, that came up with a creative and artistic way to differentiate itself from the competition. Every apartment suite (and these are simple, clean, spacious apartments) in Suites Galería – – is decorated in the style of a famous Mexican painter. This simple yet creative idea gives the apartments a flavour and ambience that makes them more attractive than other accommodations in their class.

Then there’s the sno limo, a Canadian innovation (as far as I could tell from its website – – for non-skiers. Someone had the creative idea to come up with a comfortable sleigh/lounge-chair on skis that allows non-skiers to enjoy the slopes and magnificent vistas of Canadian ski resorts (available also in Japan).

In my business (Canada en Español) I rely on creativity to attract more visitors to my websites and those of my customers/clients/partners in order to generate business. Constrained by limited resources I cannot afford to hire expensive designers and/or software programmers. I need to rely on creative content, creative SEO techniques as well as affordable SEM on occasion. By far the most important element of the above is creative content. This can take many forms. As Steve Wright (of Radar DDB), correctly pointed out during his presentation at the first Canada-e-Connect conference (Nov 2007), people are not thinking about travel all the time. They are going about their lives. My websites’ focus is Canada in Spanish (, but not just travel to and within Canada. I know that my audience is interested in many aspects of the country, thus articles about Canadian hockey or Canadian politics or Canadian business attract Hispanic readers who may not necessarily be thinking about a vacation in Canada at the time, but once they’re on my site they may navigate to the tourism section. Another example, of creativity as I use it is to feature non-stereotypical “tourist attractions” in my content. For example, in my recently launched community ( I featured a video about me and my wife buying food for New Year’s Eve dinner at Toronto’s St Lawrence market. I knew this would be of interest because I know my audience (potential travelers to Canada) and their culture. Showing them the market and relating what I saw to their culture or country (e.g. the fantastic Spanish cheeses one can find there) is a creative way of introducing them to Toronto as oppose to doing a video of the CN Tower. The following are comments from viewers of this video:

“Sabes? En el 2007 viaje de vacaciones a Canada…y es una làstima que en los recorridos no incluyan cosas como lo que muestras en este video! Me parece que seria atractivo que asi fuera…Gracias por mostrarlo” (“You know? In 2007 I went on vacaction to Canada…and it is too bad that the city tours don’t include things like these you show on your video! I think it would be good if they did…thanks for showing this”)

“Excelente video Jaime, en unas dos semanas estare por alla de vacaciones y me asegurare de visitar este mercado, el poder apreciar tu video me provoca un deseo irresistible de conocerlo. Gracias.” (“Excellent video Jaime, in a couple of weeks I will be there for vacation and I will make sure to visit this market. Being able to appreciate your video gives me an incredible urge to see it”)

In conclusion, my “secret” marketing tip is to use creativity whenever possible and in accordance to your tourism business objectives. Creativity calls for taking risks. If you are not willing to take risks you’re risking making your business (destination) vulnerable to the competition and putting it in danger of sinking into a sea of mediocrity whose bottom is called oblivion. This applies equally to small businesses, DMO’s and governments. Whether it’s a hotel like the 21C, a DMO like Australian tourism (“Where the bloody hell are you?”) or a city like Bilbao (Guggenheim Museum) the leaders in tourism will be those who make the best use of creativity.

Jaime Horwitz MBA
T-List Member

2008-03-15 21:41:34

[…] was originally posted by Jens Thraenhart at the Tourism Internet Marketing blog. Please be sure to leave your comments and secrets using the Contact Form on Jens’ […]

Comment by Anita Campbell
2008-03-17 04:17:38

Thanks, Jens, for the shout-out back to my site. Many thanks also to Claude. Good luck with your book!


Comment by FRANKO
2008-03-20 17:21:45

What an interesting way to get people interested in reading! Book trailers are like movie trailers, but for books! You can find them all over the internet now, but here is a site that’s featuring them on YouTube.

2008-03-26 20:36:05

[…] (more…) This article was originally posted on Tourism Internet Marketing.You can read and comment on the original article here. […]

2008-03-27 08:41:53

[…] you participate to “Share your Travel Marketing Secrets” who is organized by Jens Thraenhart from Tourism Internet Marketing Blog and Editor-in-Chief for […]

Comment by Suresh Babu
2008-05-07 11:15:14

My SEO tip:
1. If you are targeting different countries. Register a Local domain, If you are targeting UK. Register a Domain, have someone who is in that Country to Contribute. Ask them to give review on Local Hotel etc from the same Country. Or with a little bit of creativity you can have anyone from anywhere contribute to a blog or site. Include keywords in that content. (I am not suggesting to Stuff keyword) but keyword that makes sense to the User. And also find a host in that country and Host your site or Blog there. Why? Search Engines give preference to local.

2. Personalized Search Results will be given preference, So concentrate on giving Personalized Search and optimizing your Images, Videos, Press Releases, Blogs, your Podcast Feeds, Tags etc

For more Internet Marketing, SEO Tips Visit: Feel free to Comment and if you like the Content, Your Link would be greatly appriecated 🙂

Comment by Laura
2008-05-15 12:12:49

…still waiting for the 2008 edition 🙂

2008-06-03 19:57:04

[…] Jens Thraenhart from TourismInternetMarketingchallenged his blog readers to share their travel marketing secrets, and I was amazed by the answers and inputs he received. Lots of the secrets shared by the readers are non-standard/genuine topics that make sense, and are actually not-so-well-known advices.Can we replicate such collaborative knowledge sharing? […]

2008-06-13 12:06:07

[…] you participate to “Share your Travel Marketing Secrets” who is organized by Jens Thraenhart from Tourism Internet Marketing Blog and Editor-in-Chief for […]

Comment by SHADY
2008-07-31 17:36:31


Comment by Douglas Lampi
2008-08-11 13:44:26

It’s been great to read through the comments on this post.

I tip my hat to Todd for his How-To Video on using RSS Feeds.

I completely agree with Claude from his Feb 15th post regarding the growth in importance of Social Media and Social Networking websites.

Both the tourism industry and Social Media sites are all about connections. For the Travel and Tourism industry, it’s about connections between you and your guests, and the powerful word-of-mouth connections between your guests and their network of friends.

The Happy Hotelier gives a wonderful, specific example of the power of social proof – citing that “traffic and conversion have increased really tremendously” when their listing reached the top position of guest satisfaction on the Social Networking site!

As for the search engine marketers – “that is so 2006”.

Cheers all,


2008-09-07 13:58:20

[…] Share your Tourism Internet Marketing Success Tips […]

Comment by Michael
2008-09-23 04:11:18

E-mail smaller relevant sites (travel, tourism, and hospitality marketing) and ask/pay to place your ads and links there. Can be much more affordable than paying for pay per click ads with large ad systems.

Comment by Bill Windsor
2008-11-20 01:05:30

After starting marketing on the Internet in 1994, we have so many secrets. I guess our biggest secret is The Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.” We find out what is important to people, and we direct our efforts accordingly. Travel is a local decision; we market locally.

Comment by Mark Florence
2009-07-02 12:39:08

Social Media and Social Networking websites are now part of my everyday life, but I must admit I’m not so excited. The old ways of doing tourism marketing were a lot easier 🙂


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