Wondering how to extend the reach of your online marketing? Experts brought in by the Delaware Tourism Office shared their advice on how the tourism industry can utilize Google and TripAdvisor to boost business. The workshop was attended by more than 100 tourism industry professionals at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.

Here are top five takeaways from the workshop shared by experts:

1. Travelers are 70 percent more likely to visit a location with a completed Google business profile (displayed on the right-hand side of the Google search results for your location). This is key! All of Google’s products, from maps to voice search to travel guides, use the profile information. So, what can you do? First, make sure to claim your business listing on Google. Then, complete the profile with name, hours, address, phone, website, description and categories.

2. Google images are important! How can your photo appear in searches? Google puts preference on three categories when their search products show photos related to businesses/organizations. Here are the categories:

  • informative (conveying information about good/services the business provides - Google prefers images without people),
  • attractive (shows business in a positive light - look at lighting but don't add text or filters to images)
  • and representative (shows what a business looks like most of the year).

Bonus tip: customers can submit their own reviews/photos, so be sure to upload your own quality photos and flag any irrelevant photos to Google.

3. Travelers rely heavily on TripAdvisor reviews. More than 80 percent said the reviews help them feel more confident in making their travel decisions. Tripadvisor suggests that locations check their reviews daily/weekly and respond to all reviews. Whether the review is good or bad, by showing an active role in interacting with the reviewer you're increasing the confidence level of the traveler when they see you're active on Tripadvisor.

4. Where are travelers to Delaware from? The top markets of origin for users engaging with Delaware tourism information on TripAdvisor are: Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York City and Baltimore. These are also the largest markets of origin for actual visitors to Delaware. Great information when developing your location's marketing plans!

5. What is a new trend? Experts suggest building online experiences for travelers! Partner with local organizations or businesses to create a one-of-a-kind experience. If you're an attraction, Tripadvisor highly suggests creating online booking for tickets and tours. Travelers will be able to book on your location's Tripadvisor listing.