The Covid-19 Pandemic had put breaks on the tourism industry, locally, domestically and internationally. However, since 2022, the tourism industry is now running at full throttle, trying to make up for the 2 years of lockdowns. Domestic tourism especially has picked up, with people exploring various places in India. Hotels, naturally want to attract domestic tourists to their hotels.
Why Is Domestic Tourism A Preferred Option?
Domestic Tourism is between local tourism and international tourism. The main advantage of domestic tourism is that you get to travel far away from your locality, but you are still in your own country. Local tourism, though popular, does not feel exciting for many people, because at the end of the day, the options are limited and you are still near your home. International Tourism, on the other hand, is more expensive and requires visas, paperwork and various other hassles.
Domestic tourism is the sweet spot. Tourists get the experience of being far away from their homes and exploring unique places. At the same time, they are more accessible compared to international destinations. Hence, it is emerging as a preferred option post-pandemic. Hotels want to attract more domestic tourists since they can be a major source of hotel revenue.
Plus, there are many emerging hotels, resorts, and unique stays in India that are catering to Millenials and Gen Z travellers. Domestic tourists want to have unique experiences and they don’t want to go too far away from home. As a hotelier, you can attract more domestic tourists to your hotel.
Strategies To Attract Domestic Tourists
Now that we have discussed the reasons why hotels should attract domestic tourists, let us now understand the strategies to do so.
1. Use SEO
Search Engine Optimization, popularly known as SEO, is an essential component of hotel marketing. It involves optimising your website or blog to rank higher on the search engine organically. SEO involves the following components - On-Page, Off-Page, Technical and Local SEO.
On-Page SEO adds relevancy, Off-Page SEO adds authority, Technical SEO ensures that the website is adhering to all the technicalities required by the Search Engine and Local SEO helps in ranking for a location. All of this is essential if a hotel wants to attract domestic tourists visiting the area.
As a hotelier, you need to have a website, that has all the web pages that will rank on top for the search, for the relevant keyword. For example, if a domestic tourist wants to visit Kasol, then your hotel with a swimming pool in Kasol should rank high when they are searching - ‘Best hotels in Kasol with swimming pool’. To rank for it, you need to add the relevant keywords on your hotel website. You can also run blog posts to promote the various attractions near you.
Also use social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to do off-page SEO, i.e building backlinks and promoting your property. You can also use guest blogging to build links.
2. Local SEO With Google My Business
This sub-type of SEO requires special mention because it is quite different from traditional SEO. Local SEO is optimizing your business listing to rank higher on the searches based on locality. For example, if a user searches ‘best pubs in Manali’, Google shows the GMB listing of various pubs that are located in Manali. This way, you can attract domestic tourists to your property.
Google My Business has been introduced by Google to give local businesses a chance to gain visibility, which they would not have gotten with traditional SEO. GMB has a map pack, that shows the business listing with ratings, timings and other brief information. It also has a map next to the listing. The aim of businesses is to appear on the top 3 results since they are the ones immediately visible.
In addition to factors related to traditional SEO, local SEO also depends on various other factors such as location and ratings. The more positive ratings, the higher will be the ranking. Plus, your business location should be accurate, since GMB will list your property based on that location.
By properly optimising Google My Business, you will be able to attract domestic tourists to your property.
3. Promote Your Location And Nearby Attractions
If your hotel is situated at a scenic or unique location, you should promote it to attract domestic tourists to your hotel. People are looking for unique locations to relax and enjoy, which you can offer. For example, you can use blogs to promote your location by writing content about it.
Plus, you need to emphasize your location on your hotel website and social media handles as well. If the hotel is located at a place with various attractions, you can also promote these attractions using blog posts. Along with tourist attractions, local restaurants, pubs and bars can be promoted as well, which will make your property attractive to domestic tourists.
4. Social Media Marketing
Millennials and Gen Z are all on social media, and hence hotels need to have a solid presence there. Facebook resonates with older generations, while Instagram is for the younger crowds. You should promote your property on social media to attract more domestic tourists to your hotel.
On Facebook and Instagram, you can use Reels, Videos and Carousal posts to promote your property at its best. You can also run social media ads on Facebook and Instagram to gain more traction. Visuals are key, you need to make the visitor experience the property, rather than merely showing it.
5. Email Marketing - It’s Still Useful
Yes we know, email marketing has gained a poor reputation for being scammy. However, it is still a versatile tool that can attract domestic tourists to your hotel. Local SEO and Social Media are mass marketing, however, hotels need to give a personalized touch to their customers as well.
This is where email marketing can play a role. You can send out attractive newsletters to promote your property, offers, discounts and loyalty programs. A well-designed newsletter can go a long way in promoting your property to its various guests.
6. Guest Reviews And Ratings
Word of Mouth Marketing is still a powerful tool for hotels because the guests will mostly trust the opinions of other guests. That’s why Google My Business puts a lot of emphasis on the number of ratings and ratings, and the quality of the reviews and ratings.
More reviews and more positive reviews will give you a higher ranking on Google search results. This will attract more domestic tourists to your hotel as they will consider your property more trustworthy. Along with gaining more reviews, hoteliers should regularly reply to reviews as well. It's an integral part of online reputation management.
7. Offer Unique Experiences
Gone are those days when the guests were satisfied with standard amenities, they are demanding more. It is important for hoteliers to provide unique experiences to their guests when they visit their property. Here are some of the ideas you can include:
A dedicated spot for coffee and books. This combination will make bibliophiles, coffee lovers, and youths fall in love.
A common room with instruments, table tennis and games. This will provide the youths with the opportunity to bond.
If you own a hotel or hostel at a hill station, there is nothing like a campfire area.
You can offer specialized restaurants serving authentic local cuisine on your property.
There are other numerous ideas that you can implement at your hotel to attract domestic tourists to your hotel.
Domestic tourism is a sweet spot between local tourism and international tourism. The tourists get to explore a place far away from their homes, without worrying about being too far, visas, paperwork and more. After the pandemic, hotels want to recover the losses incurred in 2020 and 2021. With these strategies, hoteliers will be able to attract more domestic tourists.
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