What does online marketing bring to the table for medical tourism? Will the industry survive without it?
In the modern digitalized world of our age, regardless of the quality of your product or services in the international market, consumers will more than anything pay attention to one thing: your online presence and credibility. This means that you could full well be offering the very best medical tourism services, but still be outdone by even phony clinics, all because of a lack of online marketing.
Between online and offline marketing, the former is by far more important. The initial phase of research undertaken by potential medical tourists always takes place on the internet. Therefore any medical tourism facilitator, hospital, or destination country that manages to appear on the top of conducted search results and advertise its services at a higher, has better chances of attracting more medical tourists. This has resulted in the creation of an online competitive environment, where medical tourism facilitators and destination countries engage in a fierce struggle to wrest top online appearance spots from each other.
Usually, these online competitions are categorized into several groups: Content creation on the brand’s own website, Google premium ad services, social media, facilitator company websites, and popular medical tourism websites. On today’s article, we will cover three of these methods and their effects on the process of medical tourist attraction as well as the general role of online marketing in medical tourism.
Social Media and Online Marketing
Social media outlets create an easy to access and often free platform for facilitators, physicians, clinics, hospitals and medical tourism content creators. This platform if one of the only places other than initial treatment consulting phase where direct contact with potential medical tourists takes place.
While official websites play a much bigger role in the initial phase of medical tourists’ research, social media is usually their getaway to medical tourism in the first place. Therefore it is crucial for a medical tourism agency to have certified accounts with an active presence on the most famous social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
Many medical tourists that have urgent medical needs and little time to pick and choose, often resort to extensive online research and evaluation of potential candidates. In this process they will encounter the official social media accounts of these candidates. In the meanwhile the agencies without active social media presence will find themselves considerably behind others in attracting medical tourists. A quality online presence on video-focused social media platforms such as YouTube will take the marketing process to a new level and will increasingly create trust and credibility in the mind of the medical tourism.
Medical Tourism Facilitator Websites
The most important part of providing medical tourism information falls on medical tourism facilitator agencies. While social medial is of great importance for introducing medical tourism to newer audiences and creating potential customers, it is ultimately the official websites of these facilitators who through precise centralized publication of medical tourism data make these newcomers into final customers.
These websites do this through providing data on top medical destinations and health centers on their websites and provide comprehensive information about the nature of treatment in other countries to medical tourists.
This centralized method of gathering and publishing medical tourism information, which includes documented international standard certifications of affiliated medical centers as well as treatment benefits in other countries, is the most important part of online marketing in medical tourism.
Best Medical Tourism Platforms
The Importance of Medical Tourism Facilitators
Statistics show that destination hospitals and medical centers that partner with medical tourism facilitator agencies and advertise their services to medical tourists through them, attract more medical tourists (As much as %400) compared to other medical centers. These stats serve as a testament and confirm the vitality of online marketing in medical tourism.
As important as social media is for a company’s portfolio, their role is ultimately a complementary against the official websites of these companies.
Medical Tourism Professional News Media
Among the more serious audiences of medical tourism, the reports and news that are published by professional medical tourism news outlets on the Internet are no less important than social media accounts and official websites.
Although these websites have a smaller volume of visits than social media accounts and facilitator websites, they still have a significant role in medical tourism. They do this through the day today publishing of news and reports on medical tourism and therefore have a direct role in determining the trends and decisions of the facilitator companies and by extension, the entire industry.
While a facilitator agency or destination country may clearly be biased towards its own medical facilities, a media outlet is committed to neutrality through the principles of journalism. Although today these news agencies have not yet reached the level where they can be used as a primary reference by medical tourists, there is a possibility in the future that will lead to the establishment of these news outlets as the main information source on medical tourism, and the subsequent elimination of much of the misinformation and scams related to medical tourism.
The information published by these neutral media can pave the way for indirect, impartial and healthy online marketing in medical tourism, which will lead to the growth of the more qualified medical tourism destinations and superior medical centers, while unhealthy destinations, false information and unreliable medical centers will eventually perish through this valid information cycle.
Article by: Parsa Khaknezhad