Booking hotels, flights, car rentals and all-inclusive excursions are a risky business. These days, it is a minefield out there, for businesses and consumers alike. Who should they trust? Where are they finding their information from? With the online travel market becoming saturated with sites like Expedia and TripAdvisor, it is paramount for businesses to embrace the power of digital.
As news comes that more travel agencies are closing down due to online booking increasing, something needs to be done by travel companies to compete with the big players with deep pockets such as booking.com if they want to stay in business. But how?
Travel Back in Time
Back in the day, most families would head to their local travel agent weeks or months in advance, browse brochures to find their ideal holiday, wait to receive their paper boarding passes in the post and then jet off when the time came around. As the internet continued to grow, the travel industry seized the online opportunity to book online, streamlining this cumbersome process considerably. As marketing tools have developed – rapidly – over the past decade or so, we’ve seen travel comparison and review sites advertised all over. From TV to Facebook ads and everything in-between, these guys are on it.
An online presence should be able to replicate the assumption of knowledge in this industry which so many consumers trust from brick & mortar agencies. We want more of the travel companies themselves to maintain their spot in the marketplace. Travel agencies are experts in their field.
There’s more to travel industry marketing online than relying on TripAdvisor. Sure, reviews are brilliant, but wouldn’t it be even better for your brand to have its voice? You could even pass on cost-savings from third-parties to your customers.
Bring Brochures to Life
Lots of time, effort and money get put into the production of brochures for travel marketing. Consumers ogle over pictures of gorgeous beaches, peaceful pools and exquisite excursions we see in advertisements. What’s to say those photos wouldn’t go down a storm on Instagram?
There’s sure to be plenty of information on City Breaks, Underwater Adventures and so much more. If this information is kept inside a printed brochure and not in front of the eyes of holiday-hunters, it won’t be doing much use.
Imagine being able to publish this information in a place where people can read it, share it and act on it.
Good news. You can.
If you haven’t already got a functioning website, that is the first task. Well written and user-friendly, of course.
You can even optimise this type of awesome website content so that it will show up in Google results, not just on your website.
67% of people do online research before making any decision related to travel, so you need to make sure your brand is there when they are looking.
Having content such as web pages, blogs and images which can be seen and shared beyond a website can help to boost your visibility. Not just among people who know about you, but also people who are soon to find out.
Finding Your Customers
Regardless of who your target market is, there will be somewhere to find them online. The key to success is to centre everything around the customer. To do this, you need to know where they are and know what they are looking for.
Social media can have a significant impact on brand perceptions, and at the moment there seems to be a social network for all age groups. For example, Facebook is a stable social network across all age groups, whereas some prefer Instagram, others Twitter, and so on.
What’s more, each of these social networks has functions to target communications to different demographics so you can guarantee the right message heads for the right people.
While Social Media is often the main access point to information, only approximately half of users trust what they find there. They have higher expectations of a brand’s website or app, and so it is critical to nail your brand’s presence and tone of voice first.
The rise of influencers and bloggers is also one to watch, particularly with travel marketing. For the right audience, they can help spread the word.
Creating a Strategy
You will need a different travel marketing strategy for customers who are already aware of your business and a fresh new audience who are yet to find out.
To make the best of resources, there needs to be a balance between the production of a brand’s content, such as blogs, websites and social, as well as promotional tools and developing user experience.
After all, a visually appealing website which doesn’t work correctly will drive people away.
Define your unique selling point to differentiate you from the competition and the typical review sites. Breaking away from a reliance on third-party websites could bring you added benefits which you could pass on to the customer. How about online-only special booking offers, which would pass on the saving from direct booking to the customers?
Digital Travel Marketing With ActiveWin
At ActiveWin, we possess the ability, knowledge and resources to act on everything mentioned in this article and more.
We have worked with travel companies in creating top quality written content to boost search rankings, web traffic and optimised it for Google. For example, we worked with Whereabouts Holidays to promote the destinations they travel to with engaging blog content and product descriptions, directing readers to a call to action. Cycling holiday company Freewheel Holidays has developed a solid spot in the cycling holidays market with our assistance in content creation.
We have dedicated teams who work on SEO & Content, Social, PPC & Media Buying, Account Management and more to make your journey with ActiveWin as smooth-flowing as it can be. Whether you want the whole shebang or a slice of our services, get in touch and let’s see how we can start working and growing together.