To arrive at the right Digital Marketing for Travel Agencies or in this case your Travel Agency one must first understand that the travel and tourism industry is one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing industries in the world. Despite the COVID-19 the Industry has bounced back, not all Travel Agencies survived but those who have had at least some of their processes right.
Post COVID-19 it is imperative that a proper Digital Marketing strategy exist for your Travel Agency to ensure that no matter what happens in the future you have a process in place to create multiple touch points with your existing clients and prospects.
In this era of digitalization, digital marketing has become an indispensable tool for travel businesses to grow and reach a wider audience. The various web search results clearly emphasize the importance of digital marketing for travel agencies and the tourism industry. In this article I try and provide a comprehensive analysis of the various aspects of digital marketing and its relevance to the travel and tourism industry.
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal Traveller based on market research and data about your existing customers. To build a buyer persona, follow these steps:
There is so much content out there on every given topic, so it does not make any sense to add to that. What does make sense if curating content where you have specialised knowledge. Understand a Simple thing, a Specialist is always paid more for the service rendered v/s a Generalist.
I am pretty sure that you have some sort of expertise and there is a segment that you can cater to better than your competition, that becomes your Unique selling point and your NICHE. example you could be great in preparing tours for families with young kids. You could create a whole lot of Guides and check lists for this audience. You will be surprised once you put it out there how this becomes your best lead magnet.
Unfortunately, if you are not into any specialised segment then you would be fighting a price war, so its best to find a niche and create some amazing content around it.
As the next step it is important to understand the significance of digital marketing for the travel and tourism industry, we must first understand the travel customer journey. As we know the travel customer journey is a prolonged and thorough process that ranges from initial interest to thorough research, price comparison, and booking. Google summed it up pretty well and I have explained it here with Content Marketing that the buyer goes through 4 phases
Digital marketing plays a crucial role in catching the clients at the Dreaming, Planning and booking moments and streamlining this process by providing traveler’s with information, options, and tools that make their travel experience more convenient and enjoyable.
As explained in the Article on Content Marketing it is extremely important to catch your Prospective Travellers at the Planning moment, To do so you need Content which is Unique and aimed at the Traveller persona who is best suited for your Travel Agency. As mentioned above don’t try and serve everyone unless you have the expertise and fairly good understanding of different Segments. as an example I see a Lot of Travel Agencies offering Economical and Luxury packages both.
The needs and wants of these segments is totally different and in trying to offer both you may end up not getting either or not being able to retain both segments. The Booking cycle for Luxury package could be long and need a lot more information and if you are not fully prepared you will lose the trust of the potential customer forever.
One has to remember that with the advent of the digital age, digital marketing has become a guide for traveler’s to get the best of their travel experience. The right digital marketing strategy needs Content to get started and makes it possible for travel businesses to engage with their audience and inspire them with travel ideas and tips.
This engagement helps to build a long-term, personalised relationship with customers, which is essential for the growth of the business.
I always emphasise on the importance of visibility in the global tourism market, One has to understand that as the Industry evolves, the number of newly established travel agencies is almost equal to those which are closing. In such a scenario, it is crucial for travel agencies to stay visible and build a long-term personalised relationship with their customers. Secondly, The attention span of the Potential customers is severely impaired today. Pre-Covid, a minimum to 7 touch points to create a Brand recall was considered to be a good number. However as per a new study this has now jumped up to 12+ touch points. What this means is that unless the potential customers have seen your Brand at least 12+ times, they may not even know you exist. (Blog Articles, Social Media, Whatsapp Messages, Email marketing etc are all Touch points)
Social media is a powerful tool for reaching your target audience and building brand awareness. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to share engaging and visually appealing content about your business and travel destinations.
Organic reach of all the platforms has declined, Facebook organic posts reach only 1 in 19 people and that too if your content is engaging. Instagram organic posts lacks a call to action plus you need people to be connected to your page. The best way to put your content in front of your potential audience is to ensure that the right persona is being targeted, the Buyer persona you build at the first step is what you would be targeting here.
The right content when put in front of the right buyers would start the engagement and you would automatically see your engagement rate climb, followed by increase in your audience on social channels.
You should Interact with your followers to build a community and further increase engagement. The community would also tell you their pain points in discussions and this is where you are most likely to find sub Niches which you can build up on and grow your Sales.
Understand that Buyer Journey can start Online move Offline and then continue online again, at all Stages you need to have a Streamlined omni channel approach which means that whether online or offline the information being conveyed should be a match. Remember that a customer today chooses how he wishes to engage with you, it could be Online, Offline and a mix of both. So make sure that Omni Channel approach is a part of your Digital Marketing Strategy.
There are a whole lot of tools that you can use, interestingly some of the best tools for your research are free and these would help you immensely.
List your travel agency and optimise your profile for search engines. Always make it a point to include your NICHE Keywords in your profile.
Create a business profile and encourage customers to leave reviews to improve your reputation. Even if you don’t agree with everything on TripAdvisor your end customers would definitely be searching there.
In the past few years Google Reviews have started to play an Important role and it is important that you ensure that your Customers rate you on Google. Reviews shorten the number of Touch points it takes to build trust and lead to conversions.
People are visual and visually beautiful content would help you catch their attention. Create eye-catching graphics and marketing materials for your travel agency by using the free version of CANVA.
Despite what people may say, Email Marketing is still not dead, specially if you are wanting to connect with your existing customers. Email can be a great way to share your upcoming trips / new products with those who have already travelled with you. These tools would give you a Generous free plan 1) Mailchimp 2) Mailerlite 3) Sendinblue
It is always recommended to schedule and manage your social media posts in one place and Hootsuite can be a good starting place for free
What is your data telling you? Google Analytics is a great tool to track and measure your website’s traffic and understand your audience. Armed with this Information you can get a deeper understanding of people are engaging with your content and what type of content you need to curate more of.
91% of all Internet Traffic is likely to be Videos by 2023 year end. Create travel-related videos to showcase your offerings and reach a wider audience. Once again create content which would resonate with your Audience / Persona.
Follow these steps and you will surely be able to build up your Digital Marketing Strategy. However if you need help and accelerate faster then get in touch with me by booking a Discovery call.