Let’s Talk Tourism Ep2 – Know Your Audience

There are two main reasons why you need to know your audience

  1. Save money by only marketing towards your target audience
  2. Make money by because you know your audience.

Social media marketing is not free. It takes time and your time is valuable. So don’t waste it. Understanding your audience will ensure you are not wasting your time, and money, on the wrong platform talking to the wrong people. Is your audience really on TicTock or is that just the shiny new toy?

Digital marketing provides a tremendous opportunity for us to speak to very specific groups of people.  We can literally target people by their age, geographic location, interests, hobbies, travel preferences, income, marital status and in some cases travel intention. But again, this is only useful if you know these details about your audience.

Gaining insights about your audience will also help you improve your website performance and email marketing. Sending emails to segmented lists, based on interest or product preferences, is going to greatly outperform general emails to everyone. And more importantly, people will be less likely to hit that unsubscribe link if they are getting messages that are targeted to their needs.

This leads us to the second reason to know your audience which is to make more money by meeting your audience’s needs.

Every traveller’s needs are different and to understand their needs we need to see the whole travel purchase journey. Often we only examine where people came from before they landed on our site. But the consumer journey is a chaotic one. The funnel model of inspiration – research – booking – is false. 

The average traveller spends 13% of their time online conducting travel-related searches. As a result, the purchase path is full of twists and turns. It ranges from days to months and stretches across thousands of touchpoints. The reality is that there are now so many options for travel that the consumer can be very selective and choose the option that best meets their needs. 

The plus side of all this is that needs-based bookings are more valuable.  According to new research from Google, customers are willing to pay more if their specific needs are met. In some cases a whopping 44% more.  

What you need to remember from this is that leaving needs unmet will more likely deter a booking than price.

How Do You Get to Know Your Audience?

We do this by creating custom audiences also known as buyer personas.

The first thing you need to know is that this will take time. It is not a quick task, but the results are worth it. The goal is to generate a profile of each customer segment you have. You can be as specific or as broad as you like, for example, you could create a persona for families but it is better to break that down even more, which parent are you talking to? Families with preschoolers or high school kids? Active outdoor families or amusement park seekers? etc … each of these segments will have different needs that will need to be met.  It can get overwhelming but a good approach is to start relatively broad with your most common customer profile then see how deep you can go. 

There are a number of sample travel-focused buyer personas you can find online but you should first check out the Explorer Quotient tool kit by Destination Canada. It is a fantastic resource. The Explorer Quotient Toolkit guides users step-by-step through the process of defining your audience with a series of models with worksheets and practical examples. There is also a quiz you can take to determine what type of traveller you are.

Here is a link to a simple buyer persona template if you want to start a little slower. Just remember this is a crucial step in creating an effective digital marketing strategy.

When marketing messages are merged with a consumer’s wants, needs, and preferences, the result is a compelling content strategy.

Stay tuned for the next episode where we will chat about how to Craft those marketing messages to connect your story with your audience.



Google Research
Think with Google – consumer insights and marketing resources for travel marketers
The Travel Consumer Journey in 2020 – filter travel-specific insights by various regions
How travellers plan a trip from beginning to end

Destination Canada Explorer Quotient Tool Kit

Customer Persona Template

Scott Adams is the president of Birchbark Media, a digital marketing agency based in Peterborough, Ontario that focuses on helping to market and improve the online presence of travel brands and destinations both regional and abroad.