Ideas & knowhow

Back to marketing basics

Marketing basics

Sometimes it’s worth taking a step backwards to help you leap forward.

Now and then I like to re-consider the basics of marketing. It’s easy to make things more complicated than they need to be.

There’s a short sequence of marketing activities that work, again and again. It’s more about words and ideas than anything else, so it’s free.

Here’s what you need to do to get someone to book, buy or decide to visit

Think: does your current marketing do this? Can you change your social media posts so the…

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Use anticipation and FOMO

anticipation and fomo

Can you feel the excitement and anticipation in the air?

As the weather warms up, holidays approach and we slowly cast off our Winter vests, it’s uplifting to look forward to the Summer.

Social media is filling with news of last minute preparations for attractions re-opening, and visitors are posting about their plans for trips.

Now’s the time to take advantage of two related factors in your marketing: Anticipation and FOMO (fear of missing out).

When I talk to some business owners about using a…

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Lessons from award-judging

important for all businesses

I’ve just spent several days judging accommodation awards for the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. I enjoy doing this as it gives great insights into trends and what others are doing to stay ahead. Perhaps surprisingly though it’s also a reminder to go back to basics.

Some of the best B&Bs or hotels miss out on awards (and bookings) because they don’t do the simplest things. The same lessons apply to other tourism businesses, whether attractions, activity providers, or food and drink outlets.


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It's time to make friends with AI

ai friends

A long time ago I worked in an office where we used ancient manual typewriters to write the same kind of letters again and again. I’d seen one of the early Amstrad computers in action and eventually managed to persuade my boss that we’d be much more efficient with a computer. The day the computer was due to be delivered, one of the secretaries (then aged about 25) didn’t come to work. She sent a letter saying she was giving in her notice because she didn’t want to use a computer and thought it w…

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The best marketing actions in order of importance

Most important marketing tools

I was recently asked, “If a small tourism business has a limited marketing budget and not very much time, what marketing activities are most worth doing, in order of importance?”

Here’s my answer in brief. I’ve ranked a list of marketing tools in order of importance/success, with the most important first.

1 - Good website - because it acts as a reference point for other marketing too, and can help to build trust and confidence in what you do. This needs to be combined with an updated Google Profil…

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Pre-season marketing checklist

Marketing Checklist

As the leaves start to appear on trees, more visitors will be arriving. Is your marketing ready to make the best of the year ahead?

Once busy with visitors, marketing gets harder to fit in so here’s a pre-season marketing checklist to feel a little more prepared.

Let’s focus on just a few elements for now:


[ ] Ideas for social media posts asking what visitors are most looking forward to, ways to get them to talk about forthcoming trips

[ ] Messages (e.g. by email or text) for guests who…

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How to cut through the marketing noise

Marketing noise

When there’s so much marketing noise, with so many people and businesses competing for attention, how can you cut through and grab attention for your business?

You’ve got a few choices:

Shout louder than everyone else - but how?

Use paid advertisements - but that can be really expensive, and not always effective

Best of all though is to do this:

  1. Be really clear about what you’re offering. Think about the best ways to describe how you can make visitors happy and use them often. Don’t assume others…

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The best social media for your business

Social media

Facebook, Instagram, X/Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn… It all feels a bit overwhelming doesn’t it?

At least once a week tourism business owners ask me which social media channel works best, or ‘Do I really have to try to do them all?’, and ‘If I’ve only got time for one, which should I choose?’

It really depends on what you’re trying to do and who your target markets are, but there is one social media channel that works best for most tourism businesses. I’ll get to that in a moment.

If you’re feeling ov…

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Repeat repeat repeat


Are you busy? Tired? A bit over-whelmed or pre-occupied? Hamster-wheel spinning too fast? Just generally feel a bit ‘meh’, at least now and then?

I’m guessing ‘yes’ to most of those questions? If so, you’re definitely not alone. This is exactly how many of our visitors feel too.

Do you read every email you receive? Do you see every social media post of all the accounts you follow? When someone tells you something do you always listen and absorb what they say? Do you notice every word and photo on…

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Missing chances to increase your revenue?

Increase revenue

Are you leaving money on the table? Or maybe just not attracting people who want to spend money with you?

There are  reasons why you may not be attracting visitors or making as much money as you'd like.

Once you've considered each of these, small actions can have a big impact.

1. You don't make it clear who/what kind of people can benefit from your business. People often think something isn't for them, for example they may like the look of a holiday cottage but just not know what they'd be ab…

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