Over the last couple of years, travel agencies saw a resurgence of interest in their services; you could even have called it a comeback. However, with increasing demand comes new challenges and ill-prepared travel marketing strategies will see agencies struggling to get seen above the swell of competition and fall behind.
So, when considering how to attract customers to your agency, it’s important to make sure that you’re as ready as possible to ensure a smooth, seamless experience for your clients, from their first interaction to when they step onto the plane.
It’s time to revisit your approach to travel marketing with an aim to build your ability to offer flawless service and to boost your traffic in a sustainable, profitable way!
Consider The Type Of Travel Audience You Want To Attract
This might sound obvious but expanding the reach of your travel marketing requires strategy; you need to know who you want to attract before you set out to do it.
One of the best ways to do this is to create audience personas. Perhaps you’ve already done this for your existing campaigns, for paid social or PPC – but paid advertising campaigns are one of the most effective ways to reach new, untapped audiences, so it makes sense to think about how to reach more people through the lens of these channels.
Often, it requires a little out of the box thinking – getting ahead in such a competitive market means you need to sniff out less obvious traits and interests of your target audience in order take up space there.
- What hobbies might they have? What other related interests might be worth testing? What other brands might they be engaging with?
- Which demographics perform the best? Are they on Facebook or Instagram more, and how will this change their behaviors or interests?
- If Google advertising is more profitable for you, how might you expand your keyword searches based on your highest performing ad groups? What time of day/week do your ads perform the best, and what might this say about the lifestyle of your audience?
- Have you identified which Google audiences perform best?
Attracting new customers is all about trial and error – so once you have a round of data-based personas and audiences, get testing! Monitor them closely and refine as you go.
Make Sure You’re Promoting Trending Destinations
Of course, one of the best ways to attract customers to your travel agency is by ensuring you’re keeping competitive. And one of the universal rules of the travel industry is that it’s fast-moving. So, keeping one step ahead of competitors means keeping up with your source marketing and it’s changing behaviors and needs.
This is where a travel marketing tool like The Compass proves to be invaluable.
As a search and marketing tool, it allows you to monitor current trending destinations, and what’s more, it alerts you to opportunities your competitors are booking but you’re not. These Opportunities - hotels or destinations – are identified as being in demand by being accompanied by a bell icon.
Because travel trends change so quickly, it’s essential that you’re promoting the most in-demand locations to your audience and incorporating these into your advertising strategies or consultations.
So, knowing what these are, and being able to forecast future trends using The Compass gives you a huge leg up on your competitors!
Learn more about how The Compass’s trend forecasting keeps you ahead of competitors here.
Create Exclusive Travel Packages
Exclusive packages are an amazing part of travel marketing, allowing you to offer ‘bespoke’ trips, and upsell hotel stays with activities that allow travelers to make the most of their vacation. Creating exclusive travel packages as part of your travel marketing efforts is especially relevant with the rise of experiential travel and the changing demands of today's traveler.
But you still need to make booking these more complex trips easy, because while travelers are more desperate than ever for tailored holidays, there is still the ever-pressing need for easy, convenient booking.
This is where booking software that helps you easily build complex itineraries comes in – much like the Booking Engine from Bedsonline! Designed specifically for travel advisors, our Booking Engine is an intuitive search engine with all the features you need to make your job as advisors easier and to meet all the needs of your travel clients.
The Booking Engine, loved globally for its intuitive features and powerful supplementary tools, lets you:
- Manage all bookings, itineraries and payments easily
- Designed to save you time but boost your revenue
- Easily cross sell, add commission, and save your searches as favorites – and much more!
Learn more about how our exclusive platform can simplify the way you work in our Booking Engine guide!
Create Multi-Channel Travel Marketing Content
There’s a lot of talk about lead generation when it comes to marketing, and that’s certainly an essential part of building your client list. But here’s the thing: you can’t drive leads from interested audiences if they’re not even in your funnel to begin with. So, driving brand awareness across all channels is vital, especially when it comes to incorporating all content types:
- Paid Content – this encompasses any paid promotion done on Google Ads, social media and any sponsored content, including paid feature articles.
- Organic Content – this is website copy, blogs, podcasts and organic social posts, generally informed by what your audience is searching for online to boost your visibility and traffic.
- Earned Content – when journalists, publishers or influencers highlight your business in their own content and gets you in front of new audiences.
Can’t you just focus on one channel, or one type of content? Well, in a word, no. Ideally, if you want to stand out from the crowd and stop your audience mid-scroll on social media, you need to focus on telling a consistent story across all your channels.
This is why a multichannel approach works wonders.
Because despite the fact that strong paid content might lead to a satisfactory level of conversions down the line, without organic content to create a brand that people want to engage with you’ll lose out in the long run. Having an incredible social media profile will lead to significant drop-off at your website if your content is not up to par.
Having a multichannel travel marketing strategy helps to:
- Build brand awareness effectively
- Generate highly qualified leads when you do drive lead gen efforts
- Ensure you’re tailoring content to each channel’s respective audience
- Boost ROI
It allows you to create a seamless, cohesive brand that supplies high-quality content at every turn – and when this is backed up by honest, transparent customer-centric service, you’ve got an unbeatable brand. Multichannel in this instance means selecting the channels that work best for you, and considering how you might create cohesive content that is still tailored for audiences on each channel.
- Coordinate your strategy with various marketing disciplines.
- Ensure you have a core identity and concept for your campaigns, that you can carry between channels.
- Customize your messaging for your audiences and their goals – while maintaining a cohesive angle.
Use Client Reviews To Generate Social Proof
You’ve worked hard to secure positive relationships with your clients, you should show them off! ‘Social proof’ is a term used in marketing in general, not just travel marketing, which describes the fact that, essentially, people trust other people. New research from TripAdvisor suggests that 3 of 4 respondents to their survey said online reviews were ‘extremely or very important’ when making travel decisions.
And with travelers spending around 71% of their time researching their trip online, with the value placed on testimonials and reviews skyrocketing since the pandemic, it is more important than ever for you to utilize the voices of your clients to attract and encourage new customers.
Not only this, but a wealth of reviews and testimonials can also boost your Search Engine Result Page (SERP) rankings as Google ranks testimonials as a crucial factor in how it categorizes websites. The more reviews you have, the higher the ranking, and how often reviews are responded to all determine where Google will rank your site compared to industry competitors.
How To Use Client Reviews?
You can use reviews in many ways: Post them on social media. Use them as part of your email marketing content. Create a dedicated page on your website for testimonials and be specific as to who the source was. Ensure that you have banners or interactive sections on your website that show relevant reviews for your services and products. Push reviews as part of your advertising copy for your 'middle of the funnel' audience, to encourage their repeat service.
BrightLocal found that 55% of customers felt positively after seeing a business owner or employee responding to a review – which means that engaging with your customers, transparently and honestly, can give you a competitive advantage.
Plus, by having Google My Business set up and by encouraging customers to leave reviews, you’ll scale the SERPs for local searches for travel agents, getting more visibility for customers in your direct market.
Do Your Search Engine Optimization
Over the last few years, Google has rolled out update after update to its algorithm, changing the way that the hidden bots that make up its inner workings interact with and rank websites to prioritize those that are hitting Search Engine Opitmization (SEO) benchmarks.
Put simply, good SEO means your clients will see your travel agency over your competitors when they’re searching for the hottest deals and destinations.
Look at your website, and consider the following:
- Does your homepage content hit on the most competitive travel agency keywords?
- Do you know what the highest performing keywords are for your industry?
- Have you segmented your pages to allow for easier navigation and more keyword insertion?
- Is your website UX (user experience) friendly?
- Is it mobile optimized?
If the answer to any of these basic questions is no, or you’re not sure, then your travel agency needs to get to work.
So there you have it – these are just some of the ways that you can strategize your travel marketing to attract new customers. There’s no one size fits all approach, but it’s all about testing, refining and testing again!
Of course, one of the best ways to ensure that your travel agency receives maximum exposure to the right audience at the right time, as part of your travel marketing strategy, is working with a global travel partner like us at Bedsonline! With dedicated sourcing, marketing teams and account managers, we ensure that your travel agency recieves bespoke assistance to continue growing in the way that suits you best. Not only this, but we offer industry-leading technology solutions to help your travel marketing go even further.