April 8, 2022

Alina Hasnaș

Medical Tourism Promotion Guide

Although tourism, in general, has declined due to the pandemic between 2020-2023, it seems, however, that from 2023, with the opening of the borders, medical tourism will flourish again. As the pandemic crisis has hit people's pockets hard, the attractive price for certain medical services, especially in the dental field, the relatively short time to provide medical services (especially because the supply is limited and time and adapted for every tourist), the qualification of specialists are strong arguments in the marketing of medical services, in favor of choosing medical tourism for the natives of the most developed countries in the world.

Or, according to The Economist, an American can save up to 85% of the cost of medical expenses in this way. Cosmetic surgery services at extremely affordable prices are also attractive for tourists from North America, Western Europe, and the Middle East. So it seems like it's a win-win story on both sides. Accessibility, quality of care, availability of services, and the opportunity to travel are strengths of medical tourism.

Medical Tourism Promotion Guide

Moreover, among the great benefits of the development of medical tourism are the possibilities for the development of both the basic tourism sector and the medical offices that offer these services.

The promotion channel must be selected according to the defined segments of the target audience, otherwise, the marketing message will be avoided, or the information must correspond to the attitudes of the target group because people will perceive the information in terms of their values. Moreover, advertising will not be successful if it is not preceded by informational messages, and the message must be given by the AIDA model (ie it must arouse attention, which will generate interest, then lead to awareness of the desire, and as a result cause the action of the potential buyer).

In promoting medical tourism, we start with the specifics of the market and the target audience

Before promoting a medical tourism business, we need to understand a few truths about the characteristics of the target market:

  1. Decision-making stages are difficult and time-consuming - the potential patient has to go through the following important steps before reaching you: defining the problem, understanding the need, seeking the necessary information (both locally and internationally), evaluating available alternatives (even from the multitude of medical tourism offers, choosing a reliable destination to meet 2 types of needs: travel and treatment), decision making, buying (action), feedback.
  2. The international buyer is difficult and expensive to target and can come from a huge geographical area.
  3. The prospects are ultra-documented - impulsive shopping has no place in such situations, the person will carefully evaluate all available options, and will research both the medical and tourist offer in different countries.
  4. The target market is difficult to estimate because both the exact hometowns of the target audience and the number of people in need of medical services are unknown and difficult to estimate. Moreover, each person is subject to a certain risk of illness and will need the services provided at a certain stage of life, but whether and how much would go on the path of medical tourism is an enigma. Plus, for a real chance to be chosen as a destination for health tourism, you have to work on the image of the country as a whole.
  5. A great personalization of the service is necessary because each patient represents an individual case.
  6. There is a need for persuasive power about the safety of the services offered, the qualification of the medical staff, the attractive tourist offer, and the personal safety of the tourist.

Medical Tourism Promotion Guide 2023

Competition in healthcare marketing is driven by competition between states

  • South America (especially Bolivia, Brazil, and Costa Rica) specializes in plastic surgery.
  • Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic are known for dental surgery.
  • India and Thailand mainly perform heart surgeries and organ transplants.
Spa tourism: marketing of health services

Also noteworthy is spa tourism, with enormous potential in Romania (medical recovery, spa treatments - therapeutic and prophylactic climates), with over 2,500 springs and boreholes.

Here most resorts can offer therapeutic solutions for a wide range of ailments. Here are the resources found in Romanian:

Mineral waters:

  • alkaline and alkaline-earth
  • cold mineral waters
  • sodium chloride or salt mineral waters
  • carbonated mineral waters
  • therapeutic muds
  • therapeutic gases.

As the spa tourism product is an extremely complex one, the product strategies must generate various unique products for different market segments, with several sports, cultural components, as well as interesting tourist objectives for each segment of the target audience. Therefore, the coverage of the market in the promotion of spa tourism can be successfully achieved only under the conditions of a correctly performed segmentation.

Medical Tourism Promotion Guide for 2023

Ideas to promote your spa tourism offer:

  • Creation and development of comprehensive packages that harmoniously combine all the important resources of the respective spa destination (such as the combination of spa products and hydrotherapy, physical therapy, or beauty services. Another idea in this regard is to combine leisure sports packages with psychotherapy, in addition to the elements of health and wellness.
  • Organization of popularization events in the online environment (pieces of training, information meetings, conferences) held within national and international tourism organizations - highlighting the specifics and potential of the area to which the spa belongs, the effect being to consolidate and increase the identity of the destination.

Methods of promoting the medical tourist offer, in general:

  1. Collaboration between travel agencies and medical practices would be a mutual benefit for both patients and the structures involved in this field. Equally valuable would be the development of a partnership between tourism service providers and transport service providers, to align services.
  2. Creation of websites to promote tours or groups of tourist attractions, with the possibility of making reservations for healing, anti-aging, and relaxation, as well as the simultaneous booking (at attractive prices) of stay and treatment packages.
  3. Online advertising campaigns for tours or groups of tourist attractions.
  4. Marketing studies and marketing strategies for local tourist destinations - medical tourism marketing consists of participating in national and international fairs and creating temporary promotional stands at strategic transit points.
  5. Creation, and modernization of tourist information and promotion centers and offices in areas with tourist potential.
  6. Support for the development of festivals, fairs, exhibitions, and cultural events, as well as the development of integrated promotion campaigns of medical tourism, offered at profile fairs, domestic, but especially international. Also here it is necessary to organize festivals, concerts, and fairs with traditional products. These common cultural events would also contribute to the promotion and celebration of the distinct elements of the region: music, language, folklore, etc.
  7. Promoting integrated tourism consolidates even more forces in this regard (spa and treatment tourism, cultural tourism, ethnological and gastronomic tourism, promoting agritourism, ecotourism, and traditions preserved in rural areas).
  8. Creating tourist routes as an integral part of the medical tourism offer, such as the “wine route”, “gastronomic route” etc.
  9. Online promotion - compared to other means of promotion, here we find several advantages of promoting medical tourism, such as low costs, wide audiences, high chances of targeting the audience (targeting), and obtaining immediate feedback.
  10. Particular emphasis should be placed on the presence of the medical tourism offer on Social Media, such as the posts on Instagram for each unit that offers tourist medical services - to write a biography to support your desired goal. With just a few short lines and a link available, you need to make your biography count. Medical tourism needs to use keyword-specific hashtags to help people around the globe find your account. Another good idea is to start using brand hashtags, which over time will help popularize your projects. Users can follow hashtags and receive updates, so make sure your posts have multiple hashtags that appear in different contexts. The most important medical hashtags are general, so think of them as an organization by category of activity on social networks.
  11. Also on Instagram, you can present stories, graphics, and videos that bring you closer to the potential patient. In general, everything related to the medical field deserves a humane, human-to-human approach, because people tend to be afraid of doctors and avoid them. You, on the other hand, can focus on the warm and understanding nature of every healthcare professional on your team.
  12. Use videos to tell a story about treatments, branding, and hospitality - the best content about healthcare leads your target audience to take the action they want.
  13. Use content marketing - building content on your site has two main purposes: to rank the pages on your site above the pages in search results (SEO) to generate organic traffic to the site and to provide information to patients. Content marketing aims to create only such content that both search engines and potential buyers/customers will constantly need. These are in-depth analyses, research, case studies, well-documented information, interactive articles, very easy-to-understand diagrams and diagrams, infographics, etc. By using social media channels and search engine platforms, you optimize your marketing practices and stay unique from your competitors. Here are the messages you can convey stably through content marketing: informing tourists about everything tourists need to know about destinations, and convincing tourists to visit a travel destination.
  14. Mobile optimization - is more important today than ever to make information, products, and services more accessible to potential patients. The more people who use their smartphones to schedule appointments, use health services, and read about medical procedures, the greater the demand for content tailored to mobile devices.
  15. Email marketing - newsletters are one of the best ways to retain current visitors, attract new tourists, and make your business stand out. It is a powerful marketing technique to reach travelers around the world. Also, by formulating effective travel email marketing techniques, more travelers will reach your site for travel booking, accommodation booking, and many other travel-related tasks. SmartInsights writes that 83% of millennials are delighted that travel brands are following them so that they can benefit from personalized services. Here are the benefits of using email marketing: it's easy to build brand loyalty among traveling customers, it allows you to attract and retain new travelers, and it's easy to build brand awareness. How To Do Effective Travel Email Marketing Email marketing promotions are customized based on the traveler's interests and past experiences - 83% of millennials are happy with travel brands to follow them so that they can benefit from personalized services. (SmartInsights). Another idea is to get the traveler's attention by embedding videos in emails, as 66% of travelers watch videos when searching for a destination (says Econsultancy).
  16. Post testimonials/video reviews - Patient testimonials are a great way to reach new patients who may be reluctant to receive medical care. One study found that 71% of patients use online reviews as a first step in deciding on healthcare providers. Video testimonials are even more powerful because they allow potential patients to see that real people have received quality care from a particular doctor, hospital, or clinic. We have lots of great testimonial templates for you to choose from, making it very easy to create testimonial videos to share.

If you do not have enough time or resources to promote your business in the niche of medical tourism, we are here for you. We have more than 7 years of experience in business marketing! Call us at +373 69 809 235 (Moldova), +40 721 536 067 (Romania) or leave us a message at info{@}seolitte.com.

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