Leveraging Google For Adventure Travel and Eco-Tourism Providers

If you’re an adventure travel company offering niche trips and destinations, or providing sustainable eco-tourism offerings, you don’t need me to tell you you’re in a highly competitive, low margin market.

That’s why it’s critical that you make a real effort to focus on marketing your trips in addition to providing world-class tour offerings. But the majority of companies we see in the field are “mom and pop” operations with few full-time staff members, and owner/operators who would prefer to be in the field rather than managing a marketing effort.

How can you overcome this problem? Google to the rescue!

Google offers a wide variety of excellent tools that you can use for marketing intelligence as well as viral marketing. I’ll go through a few of the easiest to use, and hopefully help you to get a jump on your competition.

First, check out the simple and user friendly Google Alerts. Using Alerts, you can set up automated search agents that will email you with daily updates of any blog postings, website updates, news articles or videos containing keywords. The obvious choices are your company name, your competitors’ names, and your niche destinations or tour types. This will let you keep your finger on the pulse of the web as it relates to your business, and lets you keep tabs on your competition’s marketing efforts and successes. You might also find some great new venues to get your own messaging out, like new forums, blogs and web magazines covering your specialties.

Next, get your stuff up on YouTube. It’s not just for bad guitar players and kids falling off skateboards– you can post all kinds of great footage of your trips and tours, and by keywording judiciously in the descriptions and titles, find a whole new audience you might never have reached. Create a YouTube homepage with links to your website, information about your company, and create a community around your videos. Check in and keep any comments on your videos on-topic, and answer any questions that are raised.

Google Groups is another great place to see and be seen. You can start a Group around your company, your destinations, or your unique trip offerings. Or you can just join up with groups of like-minded hobbyists who also enjoy “extreeem beekeeping” (or whatever it is you’re into!) and become known as subject matter expert. Use links to your website within your signature, without being obnoxious about it, and you’ll increase your credibility while getting your name associated with some great keyworded content on a site that is well indexed by Google.

The Google Local Business Center is a cool tool to let you post information about your business in a yellow-pages type of format. You’d be surprised how much traffic these can get for you, and it’s just common sense– why wouldn’t you have a listing in this directory? It’s easy, fast and free. You can also create coupon offers for those who find you in the Local Business Center, so you can get a gauge on how well your web advertising is working by the number of coupons redeemed.

Finally, think about signing up for a Google Base account, and adding your trips to the Events data type. You can upload a simple text file you can create in Microsoft Excel or Notepad, and get all your trips indexed quickly. It also might help that using Google’s APIs, any partner sites or adventure travel aggregator can display your listings and redirect traffic to you.

These are just a few quick suggestions to help you make the most of Google’s powerful online marketing offerings. By leveraging the power of Google with your adventure travel website, you can watch your traffic (and business!) increase while you concentrate on what’s important to you– providing top notch travel and tourism opportunities for your customers.

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Gwen Josephine

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