From Europe, with Love: A Marketer’s Guide to Capitalizing on Tourism

December 30th, 2015 by Search Influence Alumni


I recently took my first ever solo trip and explored six European cities in two and a half weeks. On my trip, I realized the importance of tourism for small businesses. Every tourist needs places to stay, food to eat, and things to do while visiting—and that leaves a big opportunity for businesses, especially on search (and social)!

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Let’s take a look at my search (and purchase) journey, starting at the very beginning.

Selecting a Destination & Finding Places to Stay

One of the most important parts of going on a solo trip is making sure you are going to the best places, and going in the most efficient order. At Search Influence, we help city tourism and marketing organizations, like New Orleans, and I can attest to the importance of the work we are doing. How else would I have discovered Milan, Zurich, Munich, Prague, Amsterdam, and Berlin!? Truth be told, I also used the recommendations of friends, Redditors (read: opportunity for businesses), and Rick Steves to solidify my plans. When it came time to decide, looking at the city tourism websites helped me to make my final decision.

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The next toughest part of preparing for the trip was finding places to stay. Solo travelers feel a lot of pressure when picking hostels, or Airbnbs, because it can have a huge impact on your trip, and on your impression of the city. I have personally never paid so much attention to reviews in my life! The thought of picking a hostel that didn’t seem 100% right was frightening. I wanted to make sure they had Wi-Fi (everywhere, not just in the lobby) and were clean, in a good location, and recommended by other travelers on HostelWorld and Reddit (Pro Tip: if you search the city name + “hostel” you can find some awesome recommendations from Redditors). The most surprising thing for me is that after the fact, Airbnb was the only one to push for a review. While I am going to go back and leave reviews everywhere else, I thought this was a missed opportunity.

Searching Abroad & What You Can Do to Attract Tourists

Now, let’s find some organic online marketing opportunities using some of my search history, which I like to think of as representative of many travelers.

  • should i get the berlin tourist pass
  • van goh vs rijksmuseum
  • indonesian restaurant amsterdam
  • caridejuv ucen opera
  • u modre kachnicky
  • bike tours munich
  • rashes on legs
  • jungfraujoch trip from zurich
  • malpensa to ostello bello

Based on this mishmash of tours, museums, restaurants, skin ailments, directions, etc., there are a few strategies you can adopt in order to acquire traveling customers. I would try to build trust with the customer in the organic search results, and to take it a step further, I would use paid ads to target them for likely-to-convert terms.

Organically, you can build trust and authority with potential customers. In the screenshot below, the restaurant dominates the branded search result, which can build a sense of trust with someone who doesn’t know much about the area. My favorite tactics include the ones below:

  • Relevant meta data
  • Large numbers of positive ratings (on trusted sites with Schema markup!)
  • Local directories
  • Clear photos of the front of the restaurant
  • A correct map on Google+
  • Features on travel blogs
  • Active social media profiles (not pictured)

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By showing authority online (on and offsite), you can capture and convert a tourist (with money to spend) into a customer. You may even have an impact on locals, tourists trying to be locals, and the special breed of traveler who goes around touching statues for good luck!

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