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DIGITAL MARKETING PLAN

Executive Summary

With the advancement of interne 1t – based technologies, Deira Travel and Tourist Agency must begin to more effectively engage with its customers online. The analysis at Deira Travel and Tourist Agency has been developed and a complete digital marketing plan is a key component of the firm’s 2016 marketing strategy. Digital marketing processes will encompass email marketing, search engine optimization, directories and listings, social media marketing, internet advertising, tailored applications as well as games, internet public relations. Research and reputable branding will underpin digital marketing. Content for digital media will be rich and engaging for the firm’s potential clients

This report details a comprehensive strategy developed to direct Deira Travel & Tourist Agency’s marketing programs over the next five years, aimed at boosting the agency’s brand awareness as well as visitation revenues. It is strategically responsive to the “new normal” economic variations travel environment and variations in demographics, technology and consumer travel trends. It is in alignment with overall agency’s mission to promote increased international travel to the United Arab Emirates.

The plan will dictate the most advantageous pathway for Deira Travel to take over for the next five years. It details various tactics and means that are to be engaged in order to execute this direction, as well specific measures to success.

Situation Analysis

Deira Travel Overview

The Deira Travel & Tourist Agency is tailored for the curious travelers who seek to be immersed in the personalities, culture, and history of their destination. By relating with friendly locals, discovering the history of the places they visit, or seeing where their food comes from, they are living every moment while creating a powerful connection with the region.

Item Description
Business Name Deira Travel & Tourist Agency
Established Date 2005
location Dubai
Products/ Services  
Employees 206

Digital Assessment

Deiratravel.com is the heart of the province’s tourism internet community. Visitors from all over the world find their way to Deira Travel & Tourist agency using the website to discover, plan and book their vocation.

The website is designed for both the new visitors who are not familiar with the agency and the repeat visitors who need to explore more information on various products and services. New visitors travel from discovery to destinations in a series of steps that encourage them deeper into the “Discover Emirates” experience roadmap. Those who are already familiar with the province take a different pathway. They are task driven and always know where they want to go and what they want to do. These visitors are looking for a quick and simple way to explore their desired information.

Key Successes

  • Deiratravel.com landing page has an extremely low bounce rate
  • Content planning and Search Engine Optimization has increased the number of search landing page views by more than 57 percent in 2014.
  • The listing applications have reduced total listing page views. This shows that visitors are spending less time hunting for information.

Opportunities for Improvement

  • The travel planning tool requires a simplified registration process to improve easier discovery and engagement with the site.
  • The Discover Emirates section of the site should be redesigned based on core experiences. The information architecture should be tailored towards brand experience.
  • Invest more on Search Engine Optimization and Search engine marketing to further improve search results and traffic to the site.
  • Deiratravel.com should create referral traffic to all its social assets and encourage social media related visits.

Using an extensive and high level analysis approach, two other opportunities were identified and both have heavily informed the development of the 2014/2015 Marketing strategy.

  • Visitors to Deira Travel and Tourist Agency are presently overwhelmingly repeat visitors. While on its own this measurement is encouraging, it is the other side of the equation that is telling. According to The Gulf Directory 2011 Travelers Survey, only 14 percent of non – resident visitors to Deira Travel and Tourist Agency were first – time visitors, a continued fall since the previous Travelers Survey in 2013 (The Gulf Directory 2014).  Maintaining a reputable mix of new customers is integral to the growth of a destination, since fist – time clients stay longer, travel more widely, and have a higher yield.
  • Brand perceptions of Deira Travel and Tourist Agency amongst potential first time visitors in the market place are somewhat generic, and lacking a clear point of view that differentiates the agency from other potential competitor destinations. As part of the analysis phase, a sizable number of quantitative focus groups and primary audience was conducted nation-wide. While participants talked of positive perceptions of Deira Travel and Tourist Agency such as the beautiful scenery luxury and high class services, they associate these as part of United Arab Emirates. The visitors association of tranquility with Deira Travel and Tourist Agency also meant that they questioned whether the province provided adequate sense of discovery and a practice that would make a longer trip worthwhile.

These primary challenges and opportunities acted as core Marketing objective which is to develop desire for first – time visitors to visit and experience more of the region.

Other details are summarized in the table below:

Item Description
Website/ SEO Heavy images formatWeb takes longer to load/ too many java scripts loadedLanding page is too crowded and not to the point
Mobile No mobile appNo mobile web
   
Social Presently no blogHave social profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn) but not tailored to suit different customer needs234 Facebook page fans, and 181 Twitter followers.  
Analytics The company uses Google analytical tool to track the number of visitors to the site. An average of 64 visitors in a week

Market Overview

Despite various achievements, the United Arab Emirates’ cut of the global destination market remain well below previous year’s figures. The UAE ranks second of total Asian arrivals with 48% of the total visitors annually (The Gulf Directory 2014). Diera has a market share of 58.2% of UAE arrivals.

Competition Overview

The company faces new competition from emerging and reputable travel agencies from economies like China, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Competitor destination countries are spending upwards of $200 a tear to attract more travelers.

Customer Overview

According to the report compiled by Daira Travel, 2013, the agency’s frequent travelers are primarily motivated by visiting friends and relatives, using their own experiences with family to plan travel (Becker 2014). Other characteristics are summarized

Item Description
Geography  
Demography Gender: Male 48%, Female 60% Age: 69% of age 35 – 50, 20% of age 51-60 Education: Secondary level and above
Psychographic and Behaviour 83% have access to internet 65% use internet for travel related searches and reservations. 92% are smartphone subscribers54% are social network users and visit at least once a day

Other Trends within the Industry

When developing the plan roadmap for the brand enrichment, Deira Travel also factored in what has been defined as the “new normal”, a phrase used to describe new consumer travel patterns in the present economic environment. The drifts linked with the new normal include the following:

Demographics.

In the coming decade, the baby boomers will move out of the luxury age and will not be replaced in the same numbers by the next generations (Becker 2014). With these changes, all generations will add up to economic boost over the next ten years. As a result, Deira Travel and Tourist Agency will need to emphasize on programming on each specific generation.

Technology

Swiftly advancing technologies are transforming the way consumer’s access information and make their decisions. Global online penetration is attaining substantial mass in various markets. As the same time, how individuals are accessing the internet is transforming, with mobile internet subscribers projected to surpass desktop and pc users by 2014 (Becker 2014). Given these trends, it is integral to constantly develop accessible and diverse content that will enable engage consumers in various ways.

Targeted Audience

Deira Travel targets two geographic regions while marketing to non – resident UAE travelers. These groups are the ‘Dubai Markets’ and the ‘Long – Haul Markets’. The Dubai Markets represents Dubai’s border and other nearby urban regions, feed the province nearly half of its domestic non – resident travelers (14.0 million yearly trips) and approximately a third of non – resident spending (34percent or 5.6 billion).

Long-haul visitors come almost exclusively by air. This group is characterized by longer stay and large expenditures. They make up more than half of Dubai’s non – resident travelers (50.2percent), taking 15.8 million trips in 2013 and resulting in two-thirds (64percent) of spending (10.1 billion) (The Gulf Directory 2014). Their reasons for traveling to Dubai differ according to how often they have been to Dubai. The table below summarizes this analysis.

Group Description Focus
Dubai Market Shorter stay Location: Dubai border citiesVisits per year: 34% 18%
Long – Haul Longer stay and large expenditureLocation: 50.2%Outside Dubai: 49%Visits per year: 64% 82%

Why Digital Marketing?

“Digital marketing has technology at its heart” (Ryan & Jones 2012, p23). It is therefore crucial to involve both technical and aesthetic minds during the primary cycles of strategy implementation. As a result, the objective should “speak to both system and story should be a starting point in the process of implementing strategic goals” (Wind & Mahajan, 2013).

An integrated digital strategy will enable the firm deliver on its key experience drivers and ensure that the brand positioning is continuously conveyed through all travelers’ touch – points and interactions with the brand. It will take into a consideration how digital will help strengthen the position the agency seek to occupy in the minds of its target audience.

Marketing Mission

To create and maintain marketing programs – in alignment with the UAE’s travel industry – that keep Emirates top – of – mind as a premier travel destination.

Objectives

  • To maintain and boost non – resident leisure destination to about 87% in the first one year.
  • Encourage media expansion and innovation, while integrating contemporary media programs with novel advancements, based on consumer consumption habits.
  • Attract 3000 visitors within the first 3 months while targeting the high – value international market.
  • To develop and implement an engagement strategy for market place.

Strategy

We seek to engage our loyal visitors since they can act as dependable and right – hand information sources for other travelers and become brand advocates.

In order to ensure leadership position in social media efforts, the agency will compare its performance and engagement with a number of other reputable destinations within UAE and abroad. Based on the metric of social “likes”, Deira Travel willgauge its position in the marketplaceand know whether it ranks well against several other destinations globally.

Strategic Framework

The strategic blueprint adopted in developing the 2014 – 2019 Strategic Marketing strategy, a five year road map for tactical annual work plans, is based on Deira Travel & Tourist Agency’s overall mission and objectives.

Channels

More particularly, if we think about the potential traveler as they move through the Visitor Decision Journey phases, we can see how digital will continuously play an integral purpose in an integrated decision making process. Our extensive research approves the following channels to ensure the success of digital strategy.

  1. Integration of TV and Digital.

Due to the availability andsuitability of wireless internet, as well as the development of tools such as personal computer tablets and laptops, the Television – centered living room has transformed drastically. For instance, 62 percent of UAE population under the age of 60 uses the internet (Hemann 2013). This population watches television as well. At the same time, over half of the same population goes online to research a product seen on television. These tolls are even better during “event” related TV shows, such as sporting events as individuals share their immediate reactions and opinions via other social tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, for those exposed to a television commercial prior to online search, they are 68 percent more likely to notice an online ad. According to the Gulf Directory (2014), the reverse is also true.

  1. A social Community

People have always been social. We are driven by an inborn desire to connect with others, and much of our behavior is influenced by the things people around us do to essentially follow the herd. The growth of social media tools has only served to make it even easier for individuals to connect with the thoughts, opinions and preferences of others. As a result, it is a fact that the world continue to rely on earned media, encompassing commendations from colleagues and family more than any other advertising channel. As mentioned by The Gulf Directory (2014), this rate of trust has even grown from 74 percent in 2008 to 93 percent today.

  1. Facebook and Twitter as Influencers

Given the incredible ubiquity of social tools such as twitter and Facebook, with 73 percent of the internet population connected it is integral to count the purpose of such tools as influencers through all phases of decision journey. For instance, a contemporary research illustrated that more than half, about 54 percent, changed their travel plans after researching their trip using social media (Hemann 2013).  More than half of Facebook and twitter subscribers said that their friends’ holiday pictures had inspired their vacations choices. Further, almost a half of the population liked Facebook pages specific to a destination.

  1. Mobile Enhances Sharing

Mobile offers a great opportunity during the planning portion of the trip. It lays a platform to enable individuals to research potential travel choices at a time and place of their convenience. As estimated by Ryan & Jones (2012), about 86 percent of travelers use their smartphones while on vacation or trips. As a result mobile phone offers a useful tool for the outdoor enthusiast. Additionally, mobile provides a window for others to experience their journey from afar.

The majority post vacation photos on social tools during their trip. Half of this population checks in to various locations using these social tools, while about 70 percent update their social status as they continue their vocation. As such, we seek to engage our visitors continuously to use their phones to take photos, look up destination related maps, search restaurants, search activities and attractions and check in prior to their reservations.

Action Plan

This plan will act as a platform to enable the organization move with the visitor as it help nudge them along the visitor decision journey maps s defined in this report. As the company’s potential traveler moves along the decision cycle, their emotional state, motivations and informational needs will shift and progress. As a result, Deira Travel and Tourist Agency seek to match the customer’s needs as they move along the cycle, with its digital strategy adapting along the way as it involve them in the conversation.

The digital plan will continue to widen the agency’s digital footmark using outlined roadmaps that take visitors on a journey from initial intrigue, interaction and engagement as they travel from desire to decision to brand influencer. Once on the journey, Deira Travel and Tourist Agency will use defined measures in order to evaluate, educate and evolve its approach to digital using real – time outcome while aligning them with desired outcomes. The steps are as follows:

  1. Advertising and Public Relations

2015 will witness the launch of an exciting and novel approach to how Deira Travel and Tourist Agency re – introduce itself to the global market. Based on a comprehensive analysis and discovery stage, it will influence how the agency communicate, interact and engage with its audience.

As a component of a complete integrated marketing strategy, digital marketing will play a crucial purpose in the success of the strategy. It will enable the broader marketing strategy priorities, and will connect seamlessly and consistently with the big notion that the agency communicate.

By aligning the bought, owned, earned and shared media channels, the comprehensive UAE’s story can be told, synergistically and effectively, across all channels and throughout the program of work:

  • From a brand view point
  • Through the lens of abundance and value
  • Throughout the travel lifecycle 
  • Targeted Publications

External media, for example publications, online sites, external blocs, will be targeted for disseminations of primary messages through paid media and earned media.  External media is an effective channel to reach out locals, regional and national audiences. They range from state publications and in – flight newsletters to regional interest titles to in – market or local newspapers. The DTTA will engage the “most wanted” list of target media which will include both publications and online outlets.

  • Online Marketing

The firm seeks to vest much time and effort into its online profile. Although there has been some development in the organization’s social media effort and impact, growth of the website has been considerably flat. The following is an overview of improvements to be made in the DTTA’s online presence.

  1. Deiratravel.com and Deira Blog

The firm will conduct improvements to its website within the first four months to increase usability. This will include the overall content on the website enabling:

  • Use of video on the landing page and other pages as required
  • Booking engine capability
  • Addition of seasonally produced content positioning UAE as a year round destination
  • Better organization of existing contents
  • Social Media

The Deira Travel’s social network strategy will encompass venturing into the next level of online engagement. Additionally, the agency seeks to advance its presence on existing social media platforms, while continuing to pursue additional platforms.

Since the social media landscape is ever – transforming, it is challenging to forecast on what the agency’s online presence will be in the next five years. However, within the first 4 months, the following are a summary of some programs slated for this strategy:

  • Facebook. Addition of pages focusing on top attractors to UAE and creation of new applications such as sharable postcards.
  • Twitter. Background on primary page to change seasonally to position the firm as a number one destination agency.
  • Instagram. Implementation of the Deira Travel Instagram profile and potential giveaways.

In addition to the social media platforms listed, the firm will continue to have a presence on FourSquare, YouTube and Google Places, and will look into a branded LinkedIn Profile and research new platforms and opportunities as they arise.

  1. Consumer E-Newsletters

In an aim to provide consumers with relevant information, several improvements will be made to the consumer e-newsletter beginning January 2015. These will encompass the following:

  • Development of a novel bi-monthly publication schedule (January, March, May, July, September and November).
  • Redesigning the newsletter template to make it more visually appealing for consumers and easier update for staff
  • Inclusion of seasonal messages, integrating the seasonality of the destination and further positioning it as a number one destination agency.

The action plan is as summarized below

Budget

Method Total Expenditure (Dhs)
Website and Search Engine marketing 384,986
Public Relations strategy 145,900
Implement Email strategy 80,000
Online Marketing 120,000
Business Networking Groups 36,000
Facebook Ads/ Social Media 80,800
Chamber of Commerce 12,300
Video Advertising 10,200
Training 200,000
TOTAL 1389391

Success Metrics

In order to ensure the success of this plan, this document recommends development of a standardized way to measure activities based on defined objectives. Developing a standard framework to measure digital strategy will fragment to every action touch point and is as illustrated below.

  1. Business Metrics

Various tracking tools and referral traffic will be used to understand how customers’ engagement moves down digital marketing guide. The metric will employ the general ROI formula:

RO1 = Total Earned – Total Spent/ Total Spent *100%

The approach will be integrated with existing social channels and Google Adwords to measure a sample of sentiment from customer communities on a weekly basis.

  1. Social Media Analytics

Deira Travel will base its measurement formula on engagement data to reflect cost per clicks actions and impressions, number of sharing and likes, number of fans and followers, comments and site check-ins. This will be done on a weekly basis.

  1. Engagement Data

Using the data that is already created by many social tools such as Facebook, twitter, and blogs to capture website visitors, new visitors, and average time on site, site views as well as traffic sources. 

Bibliography

Becker, Elizabeth 2014, Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism, Westport, Conn,

Praeger.

Greenberg, E., & Kates, A 2014,Strategic digital marketing: How to apply an integrated marketing and

ROI framework for your business.

Hemann, C 2013,Digital marketing analytics: Making sense of consumer data in a digital world. by

Chuck Hemann, Ken Burbary, Indianapolis, Indiana: Que.

Ryan, D., & Jones, C 2012,Understanding digital marketing: Marketing strategies for engaging the

digital generation, Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page.

The Gulf Directory 2014, Travel and Tourism, Manama, Bahrain: Falcon Pub.

Wind, Y., & Mahajan, V 2013,Digital marketing: Global strategies from the world’s leading experts,

New York: J. Wiley.