Niche Tourism – Targeting the right audience

The evolution of tourism industry has been frantic, and to a large scale been dictated by the fluctuations in the socio-economic and political landscape of our planet. Mass-consumerism and mass-tourism has been slowly giving way to the personalized and custom service offerings. Tourism industry has witnessed radical changes in the travel preferences as well as customer expectations. Niche tourism, as it is recognized now has been embraced by both the travel operators and travelers alike, and is gradually being accepted as part of the mainstream tourism.

The challenge for the travel houses has been to ‘spread the word out’ about their Niche travel packages – consistently and on target. Digital marketing tools and methodologies provide a perfect foil for this emerging and lucrative segment. Space travels, cultural tours, wine tours to Coffee plantation tours, architectural wonder travel to Amazon forest tours – are just some of the flavors of niche tourism. A sustained online marketing campaign is capable of creating unprecedented visibility for these travel treasure troves.

So, what is the right thought process for a small niche tour operator to get the travelers through the door…

  • Association begins on the net but the challenge is to transcend it to the physical domain. Establishment of trust is critical to the process of customer identification and acquisition.
  • Prospect or customer identification is always preceded by understanding the preferences of a traveler which is gauged only through a sustained engagement of customers
  • Market intelligence is a valuable commodity for both the marketer and the business owner, but it needs to be collected at the right time and from the right pool of customers. Customer collaboration ensures cost-free market intelligence. Identification of social communities and adding value to this community by way of industry news, informative white papers, and case studies makes easier market acceptance for the brand or service. In addition, this also helps in creating long lasting brand ambassadors.
  • Customer pool is waiting to be tapped within the different social networking pockets. It’s not the customer pocket, but the customer psychology that needs to be gauged – before they can be categorized as prospective clients
  • Identification is just the beginning – Prospect conversion results from a sustained process of meaningful interaction with the customer. The nurturing of customer relationship is one of the most abstained and neglected aspects of online marketing, and one which is the major differentiator between a brand and a great brand.

Internet and its tools of collaboration have created an environment of constructive feedback which not only engenders creativity but also a pro-consumer market environment. Travel and hospitality segment is no exception, with global net connectivity and social networking platforms bringing the consumers closer to the corporate strategy exercises. The combined outreach potential of the electronic and digital media channels is being tapped with increasing vigor by even the smallest of tour operators. This enables the niche players to get their foot in the door – by directly reaching travelers who bank on the web for planning their dream trip.

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