After you complete your financial assessment, you'll get a sense of what level of additional business you'll need to generate to cover your operational costs in a post-emergency period.

In developing a new marketing plan, here are some recovery marketing ideas to consider adapted from Top 10 Marketing Tips for the 'credit crunch' by Laurence Bresh, July 2008:

1. Previous guests

Send a newsletter or email to your previous guests to inform them about any new products, experiences or special offers. This is a quick and cheap way to get a message out to people who already know about your business and who could be encouraged to return again.

Be sure to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles.

2. Public relations

Public Relations (PR) opportunities, such as journalist familiarisation programs, may arise through your Tourism Crisis Management Group. However, it can also be useful to seek out your own PR coverage.

Public relations activities are a great marketing tool if your region is experiencing a downturn in visitation from an emergency even though only a small section may have been directly affected.

If appropriate to your market, approach your local media for exposure within your region.

3. The little extras: adding value

The saying, "it's the little things that count" is never truer than for a tourism business. To encourage positive word-of-mouth promotion (the cheapest and most effective of all), and return visitation, think about the added extras you can put in place that will make people happier and feel more satisfied with their experience.

Research about accommodation businesses reveals that cleanliness is the highest priority for a satisfactory experience, but you should also consider these features as a value-add for your business:

  • Welcome drinks or a basket of local produce.
  • Discounts on local attractions and services.
  • A pick-up and drop-off service, and transfers to and from accommodation to a restaurant for dinner.
  • Games for children in the winery, restaurant or accommodation.
  • Books and magazines.
  • Take-home mementos – photos of the tour, a booklet about local natural and cultural sites, quirky fridge magnet.

4. Direct marketing to special interest groups

After a crisis event, it's even more important to be targeted about where you choose to advertise. Working with small budgets, direct marketing can be a cheaper way to reach your target markets. If your customers have specific interests, for example, fishing, hiking or cycling, it can be useful to advertise in dedicated magazines or newsletters of relevant interest clubs. If your product appeals to people in a particular life stage, such as the seniors market, consider targeting relevant recreational groups such as Probus clubs.

Packages promoted to special interest groups can also work well.

5. Digital marketing

The use of websites and mobile devices to research travel information is rapidly overtaking all other forms of communication. If you're not using these mediums to the greatest effect already, it's a good idea post-crisis to embrace these opportunities.

Make sure your website information is up-to-date and effective:

  • Are your latest offers listed there?
  • Do you have any new packages you can promote?
  • Should the copy and images be updated?

Consider investing in search engine marketing (SEM) where you purchase keywords in search engines such as Google. It's a cost-effective marketing tool where you only pay when someone clicks on your paid advertisement.

6. Events

Events can often be the trigger to bring people to your business at different times of year. A winery may use a series of music events to bring a new audience to their winery. A town recovering from a bushfire may create an event to celebrate a lifestyle or cultural aspect of the area to give people a reason to visit other than its natural features.

Also look at opportunities to link your product or service with events being held in the region - can you develop a package, for example, your accommodation plus a ticket to the event, or provide an offer of a tour or tickets to a show to raffle at the event?

7. Packaging

Packaging is the grouping of products and experiences together to sell them to customers as a single purchase item. You can package within your business, or link your product with other experiences in your area or region. The package must provide one or more advantages to the customer, e.g. convenience, greater value, cater to special interests.

Packaging has the potential to make your product more appealing or exciting by linking it with other products or services that would be of interest to the visitor.

When marketing dollars are especially limited after an emergency, packaging also allows you to share promotional costs with other businesses. Look around you to see who you can package with.

Questions to ask:

  • What would interest your customers as a package?
  • How would the package be booked?
  • How would it be promoted?
  • How long would it be available for?

Find out more on packaging your product.

8. Work with your accredited visitor information centre

Are you taking full advantage of the promotional opportunities available through the extensive network of accredited, professional visitor information centres in Victoria? Your local visitor information centre should be your first focal point.

Questions to ask:

  • Do they always have adequate stocks of your brochure?
  • Have the information centre staff and volunteers visited your business on a familiarisation tour?
  • Have you offered a discount to the staff and volunteers to encourage them to visit your business for the full experience?
  • Have you investigated opportunities to receive an additional profile in the information centres, such as a window promotion or special offers made available through the centre?

9. Work with Tourism Crisis Management Groups and regional and state tourism organisations

As part of the recovery process from a crisis event that affects your region, the Tourism Crisis Management Group, in association with DJPR tourism branch, will establish a marketing program that is designed to bring people back to the region. This may include subsidised promotional opportunities to participate in press, radio and email promotions, or other initiatives. Spending your money on cooperative activities rather than going it alone can provide greater returns on your marketing spend.

Useful questions to ask before you get involved:

  • What specific markets is the promotion targeting?
  • How much exposure will your business get?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How much business will the promotion need to generate to cover your participation costs?
  • How will you track whether it generates bookings/sales?

10. Do your homework

Whatever promotional activities you think would work best to attract your revised target markets, list these in your Marketing action plan template (PDF 18.9 KB)PDF icon. Identify who will do what in your business to make the plan happen, and use it as a tool to brief them.

Case study – Kookaburra Motor Lodge, Halls Gap

"When a major event like a bushfire comes through and threatens all our livelihoods, we've got to work together as a team. To encourage people to return, we need to market the town as a group of businesses, it's too hard to do it on your own. Do what you can to support each other - it also helps to keep your sanity!"

John Petty, Kookaburra Motor Lodge, Halls Gap

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