Today, travelers no longer just rely on local agencies to help them plan their holidays or trips away. Most people now get their inspiration online via social media channels and even personal online research. Research shows that over 70% of business travelers use smartphones to make most of their travel bookings, and over 60% of people research their trips and travel plans online before making decisions on where to go. The travel agencies still work for many, but it’s more crucial than ever to build your stronghold online if you’re in the travel and tourism industry. After all, the internet does not just make sure you are present everywhere your loyal and prospective customers are, it also makes it easy for travel businesses to collect important data on their target base, and it ensures that you can reach out to your customers with travel deals, offers and personalized ads more frequently and with better results than traditional marketing ever could.
In this article, we’ll cover how we can use various Digital Marketing tools in delivering better growth for travel and hotel businesses. First, let’s take a look at some of the top benefits and reasons why the Travel and Tourism industry should be present online and make the most of digital marketing:
- Connecting with your audience has never been easier. The internet makes it possible for you to quickly learn what your customers are interested in, and target them with personalized communication based on those interests.
- You can make the most of all the search engines. Your customers are constantly looking up questions like ‘the best places to visit in 2020’, ‘best European summer destinations’… and more. By investing in a strong SEO and SEM strategy you can ensure that you always rank high on search engines and your ads, blogs, website details show up first.
- Social media massively helps in growing your business and creating top of mind recall too. Not only is it a great tool for handling queries and responding to your audiences faster, but you can also actively use mediums like Instagram and Facebook to woo your customers to buy into travel plans they didn’t even have. Think beautiful destination photos, video experiences, and more.
- Last but not least, your business’s online presence makes collecting customer data and utilizing it much more effective. You know what your customers are looking for, and you can deliver customized travel plans to them in the form of email comms, personalized ads, and more.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits and reasons why it’s important to have the right Digital Marketing tools in hand, let’s discuss what are some of the most essential digital presence that your travel business should establish. A.K.A the first steps in formulating the digital marketing strategy for your travel business.
Website and Blog
One of the most important assets for Travel and Tourism businesses – your website and blog are the information hub as well as the main commercial destination for everything travel related. Ensure your website has a robust interface, the journey to holiday planning and purchases is well-laid out and easy to understand, plus the website is mobile-friendly. Also, good to have a quality content blog that covers everything from must-see destinations to travel advice and more – a holistic travel blog will help generate quality SEO results as well as build top of mind recall and loyalty for your business.
Content is king: Keep a check on the quality of text, images and videos, especially visual content, as it’s particular important in the travel industry.
Usability is key: User experience on your website is crucial. Even search engines rank your website by taking the user experience into account. Ensure your website provides clear navigational features as well as quality performance.
SEM, SEO, and Social Media Marketing
Your business leads, as well as your website traffic, will hugely rely on a concrete SEM strategy, whether you’re going for paid advertising like Google Adwords or display, so make sure your website is search friendly, and invest in SEM experts so they can build a winning search strategy for your travel business.
It’s worth optimizing the website to make it more accessible to the search engines through the use of keyword placement, meta tags, and various other methods too. Not to mention link-building is crucial for travel businesses. By getting links from various reputable websites such a TripAdvisor or other travel businesses and blogs, you can improve your Google page rankings drastically.
And, put some emphasis on building your social media presence – not only do various social mediums provide invaluable insights into your target audience, but it also works as a great medium to lure customers through photos, videos and other formats of advertising. A win-win for any travel business.
As a travel business, it’s good to build your presence across:
Facebook: As it has the largest audience reach in comparison to other social networks. As a travel business, you must create a Facebook Business page.
Instagram: As a tourism business, Instagram proves to be a powerful marketing tool both in terms of visibility and in promoting your products.
YouTube: YouTube can be an invaluable resource for travel businesses and definitely worth maintaining an active presence on if you have a content team that can create bespoke travel videos.
Online reputation management
If your business is listed in the forums of Trip Advisor, Clear Trip, Sky Scanner, etc. make sure you invest some resources in managing your online reputation. These are some of the most critical networks for travelers and tourism-related businesses in the world, and its reach is truly global. How your company responds to reviews, particularly negative ones, often holds more weight than the actual reviews themselves.
Taking your first steps into the world of digital marketing has never been easier. There are plenty of resources online to get you started, and once you start building your website, set up your blog and social media presence, and start building a community, it only gets easier. However, don’t forget the importance of ongoing marketing efforts once you start generating leads. It’s important to keep your regular customers engaged and prospective customers on the hook – email marketing and CRM efforts can be hugely beneficial to that effect. Speak to the team at Canesta to find out how we can help.