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ECONOMIA
11 febbraio 2014
Off line marketing: still useful? - III
Let's finish this parade about the off line marketing plan possible for a touristic business.

4) leafleting and print of advertising posters.
Thrown up money, in my opinion, unless you host a special event that you wish the biggest number of visitors to take part into. But if you work in tourism, on the middle and long run that is not what you really need.

5) coupons. I have never dealt with them and I know them only by buzz. It is a way of promotion very useful in some sectors, such as retail.
Properly gaged and integrated into a web marketing strategy, it could work also in tourism, but the point is: maybe it suits more to an on-line strategy.

6) institutional events. I am thinking mostly about educational tours, that is journalists and tour operators who, expensed by a public administration (Council, Province, Region...), visit a territory to get to know its locations and tourist services, to the extent of suggest it to their customers and write about it in an endearing way.
They are a perfect kind of promotion for a touristic businessman, almost free, apart from the hours of work and providing some free service (lodging, typical food) to the opinion leaders above named, who, in return, will surely  remind of you when they are creating their tour packages or writing dowm an article on their review. If you are invited to, it would be stupid to refuse!
Apart from Educationals, you should keep friendly and frequent relationships with public administrations in your area (the chamber of commerce and the province above all, but also promotional associations), to be always informed about new steps which could interest you: courses, business meetings, fairs with a shortened cost.
Finally, remember that you can promote yourselves even through trade associations (agricultural, holiday farms, bikers...).

In short, you can spend well, badly or very badly your money, but please remember:  that's all marketing!
ECONOMIA
11 febbraio 2014
Off line marketing: still useful? - II
(...)

Let's go on talking about off line marketing tools:

2) printed promotional products: brochures, business cards, maps of you area showing your location and how to get to you, etc.: they are less and less in use, but you'd better have a small quantity, at least in two languages (three is even better!), to be delivered at fairs and other tourist events. 
What I recommend, yet, is professionalism: a lot of tourist entrepreneurs, to spare money, do by themselves both editing and translation, often showing off old-fashioned, ridiculous or terrible. Please commit yourself to professionals: you money will be well spent and, eventually, copyright is yours, so you can reprint for years.
I will tell you a story. Recently, in Torino, I ate in a very good restaurant somebody had recommended to me (see # 3; the power of word-of-mouth). When, in the end, my mate and me congratulated and asked for a pair of business cards, a waitress gave them to us, warmly inviting us to review her restaurant on TripAdvisor. The business card itself wore on its back the same invitation. This is real good marketing!

3) traditional advertising on mass media (press, radio, tv). Very expensive. 
Upon my experience, it is worth while appearing upon tourist reviews, both national and foreign, talking about our location, but seldom paying for an ad upon it will be useful, if the journalist writing the story doesn't name us or do it in bad terms. 
Moreover, keep in mind that times have changed! Nowadays tourists are inclined to trust a friendly word-of-mouth much more than official channels, that is they believe an apparently free review on Tripadvisor, more than a professional story on a travel quarterly, unless the quarterly has a tight and steady reputation.

See you tomorrow with the end!

(...)
10 febbraio 2014
Off line marketing: still useful? - I
I could argue for hours and quote opinion leaders much more influential than me. But the truth is: as much as possible, I prefer grounding my assertions upon my experience, so my answer will be: not very much.

What is about, nowadays, an  off line marketing  strategy, for a tourist company?
Well, basically what you can do is:
1) fairs
2) brochures & depliants
3) advertising on mass media (press, radio, tv)
4) leafleting and advertising posters
5) coupons
6) instituzional events.

Suppose you manage a holiday farm where you provide lodging, restoration, campers & tends indoor area, riding school and horse riding in the countryside.
Can you make all the actions here listed?
Sure you can! The problem is all of them have a certain financial cost, whereas the return is not as much certain.
Let us analize those actions into details, by starting from point # 1 and going on, by the next days, with points from #2 to #6.

1) fairs. They can be local fairs (e.g. an agricultural village fair), national fairs (usually, thematic, therefore tourist fairs like BIT in Milano, which takes place in February) or international fairs. 
But bigger fairs are quite expensive, involve a high mental and physical engagement, as much as a long-term previous planning. 
Is it worth while? 
In my opinion, not much, but to the extent of attending them to get in touch with business operators, e.g. foreign tour operators who come to Italy once or twice a year to take part into them. But, if it so, you can enter by paying an ordinay ticket and waste a stand's money, just visiting other contractors during business meetings (serious fairs do have business meetings).

(...)
ECONOMIA
4 febbraio 2014
Destination marketing tools No. 2: E-mails, again
On January 29th we have learned how to get people (not) to find  you on line, through old-fashioned, not-working E-mail addresses etc.
Let's make a step further and ask: through which provider? In so wide a range of possibilities, this question can be split in three:
a) which domain
b) which TLD
c) whic provider in itself.

SECOND LEVEL DOMAIN
If you have, or are planning to have soon, a website, or at least a company blog, for your touristic company, the best is for your address, the one you will promote everywhere, to be embedded on that site or blog by an info@: everybody throughout the world will perceive it as the right address to apply to get information about your tourist company (e.g. www.ilborgomarziano.xx  >  info@ilborgomarziano.xx).
You do not have, and are reasonably sure you cannot create a website or a blog (cause you don't have time to manage it, for instance: better not to have it, than to have it without updating it for months or years!)? Then, find out a  domain tracing as much as possible the official brand of your company.
Please note: I said your company, not your name and surname: it's your brand you have to promote, not yourself. 
Should they coincide, it's all right, but even in this occurrence, do create anyway an official address distinguished by the private one: you will thus avoid your friends' E-mails to end up into the business ones' cauldron and the Tax Office to write at your private address wasting your holidays!
DONT'S ABOUT DOMAINS: an endless list of letters and numbers. Collegiate or coarse words, unless they have to do with your mission. Nerd or red tape abbreviations that no-one but you will understand. Commercial acronyms such as "Ltd" o "spa" (this one fits only to a trermal centre, being world-known as the acronym of salus per aquam). Very long names, for God's sake. 
Be short and effective!

TLD (Top Level Domain)
It's the last part of a domain starting from right. In other words, what comes after the last dot. It can be a country code, such as .it for Italy or .uk for the UK, or .com, or .biz (acronym of "business"), or .eu or many more.
For a private company, .com sounds always well, but if you want to make your origin country immediately understandable, a code country is preferable. You know, in tourism the origin counts. 

PROVIDER
My nerd friends told me Gmail is the best provider, compared to its Italian most common competitors  (Hotmail, Virgilio, Libero etc.). It has more functions, more memory, works better with other platforms.
Other alternatives can be connected to your telephone provider (as Italian 3, Tim, Vodafone), but sincerely I would choose something more professional, such as Gmail.
Obviously, if you don't have a website of your own to embed your address, you have to choose one.

What do you think about it? Have you got other ideas? Please comment and say yours. 
And, above all, even when you're doing something apparently trivial as choosing an E-mail address, always remember: that's all marketing!
30 gennaio 2014
Destination marketing No. 2 tools: E-mails
This account has been disabled or discontinued.
Host or domain name not found. 
User unknown. Host liberomx2.libero.it[212.52.84.92] said: 550#5.1.0 Address rejected.
Host mxmi.virgilio.it[212.48.20.23] said: 550 RCPT> SMTP delivery not allowed.
Recipient address rejected: User unknown in virtual mailbox table.
Sorry, no mailbox here by that name.
Recipient address rejected: User unknown in relay recipient table.
Recipient does not exist (in reply to RCPT TO command).
Host or domain name not found. Name service error.
Just a little choice from messages I get at my  E-mail address in these days, after sending a recall to touris operators who last year did not send us their tourist quantity data.
How many times did it happen to you, too? Frustrating, isn't it?
Well, guess how frustrating must it be for a poor customer (please remember: a maybe-customer) who is just seeking for a place to sleep or eat and is answered by a machine about that E-mail address not existing or something like that.

Yet, this happens everyday. 
Sometimes an antispam or antivirus is to blame (they will so many escorts, viagras &e cialis let through, but not a real innocent message).
Sometimes, anyway, the blame is on the businessman who has changed his server or provider, has stopped his activity, has got an E-mail box filled with spam uncleaned from months or years, and so on.

Well, if you want to go on like that, please do. But then don't be amazed if nobody writes to you looking for your servicesi.

In the next we will discuss about which kind of E-mail address use and not use. And remember: that's all marketing!
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