Can you hear that? That’s the sound of millions of tourists second lining into New Orleans at record breaking numbers. New Orleans’ tourism is making some serious noise again. The city set new records in 2015 with 7 billion in traveler spending (this is not a typo...that is billion with a “B”) and over 9.7 million visitors, approaching pre-Katrina numbers. If you’re a lawyer in the city this probably doesn't mean that much to you, but if you are one of the thousands of professionals in the tourism and hospitality industry, you’re probably trying to figure out how you can get your hands on some more of that 7 billion! Even better news, the city of New Orleans has set its sights on a goal of 13.7 million visitors for 2018. That means it’s time you start thinking about putting a strategy together to get your business in front of these consumers to capitalize on the momentum!

Advancements in mobile technology have paved the way for major changes in our travel planning and experiences. Everyday, more and more consumers are turning to their mobile devices to ask questions, watch videos, and make in-the-moment decisions. Google calls these micro moments – or real-time, intent driven moments – when the consumer is about to make a specific, actionable decision. Whether it’s looking for a spot to eat, place to stay, sight to see, or an activity to fill the day, consumers are looking to make split-second decisions. Often times, they occur while on the move and on mobile devices.

So what does this mean for your business? You have probably been told 100 times that your website needs to be mobile friendly, or “responsive,” in order to show up in search results. While this is true, it’s not the complete picture. Don’t be fooled. To compete in a city with over 1400 restaurants, 38,000 hotel rooms, and endless amounts of tourist attractions lasting into the early hours of the morning, a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is vital. Again, being both “desktop” and “mobile” friendly is not enough. With so many travel decisions being made on the fly (pun intended), it’s important to adopt a full-blown, mobile-first strategy.

A mobile first strategy aims to streamline the experience for the user. Providing faster load times, clear call to actions, and easy access to contact information all goes a long way in creating the experience consumers demand while on the move. It’s important to note that the way consumers shop often varies between industries. While developing a mobile first strategy might not be the best strategy for every business, it’s an absolute must for those in the tourism and hospitality industry. Your consumers are on the move so don’t get caught standing still.

Matt Vermeulen

Art Director, Graphic Designer and avid sports fan. When he’s not saving clients from brand inconsistencies or polishing a game-changing layout, he enjoys craft beer, catching up on tweets from LeBron James, and long humid walks with his dog (Boxer named ‘Dempsey’) on pot-hole ridden, New Orleans streets.

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