It’s no secret that the travel and tourism industry is one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions all around the world have ravaged the tourism industry with millions of travelers confined to their cities and even their homes.
Nowadays with the whole world entering the recovery period from the pandemic, travelers are still wary of returning to their travel habits before the pandemic, and this is why if you don’t level up your travel marketing game, you won’t be able to recover and beat your competition.
In this guide, we will share some powerful tips for better travel marketing this year, and let us begin with the number one:
Know your target audience
This one might be a cliché in any marketing tips, but we can’t underestimate the importance of understanding your audience in travel marketing.
People in different demographics have different travel preferences. For example, millennials might have travelled the most in the pre-pandemic days, but they’ll have different travel destinations compared to those in older age groups who travel together with their family.
While millennials travel more often, baby boomers actually take longer trips, which can potentially translate to higher revenue.
While you can certainly cast a wide net and aim to target everyone, it’s typically better to narrow down your focus to just a specific target audience. Understand their travel behaviors and which destinations might interest them more, then create personalized campaigns for this group to get a higher conversion rate.
2. Pay attention to health and safety
Health and safety have always been important concerns in travel marketing, and potential travelers will always be wary about their health and safety in their destinations.
However, in this post-pandemic world, we have to pay more attention to health and safety information, especially information related to the COVID-19 pandemic in local destinations.
When promoting any trips, make sure potential travelers can easily find information about the local measures against the pandemic. Regularly update yourself with information from your own government, as well as local governments in destination countries and other relevant associations. Pay attention to the variations of healthcare privacy laws in different countries.
Most countries all around the world now will also ask travelers for proof of vaccinations, so make sure to provide relevant information for potential travelers.
3. Strengthen your online presence
In this digital age, it’s obviously very important to have a sufficient online presence.
You must have a professional-looking and functional website, and no, your social media profiles aren’t adequate replacements for a professional website. Potential travelers will check your website to weigh whether you are a trustworthy and credible tour provider, so it’s crucial to make sure your website is well-designed and reliable.
Make sure your page speed is optimal and mobile-friendly. Many customers are now exclusively browsing from their mobile devices, so make sure your site is accessible on as many mobile devices as possible.
Also, regularly update your website, both in terms of content and design.
Social media presence is obviously very important. You should focus on Instagram, but other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even YouTube.
Be active on your social media, 75% of Instagram users will take action after interacting with a post from a business. So, regularly post your content and maintain a consistent brand message.
Consider investing in paid social media options, not only on Instagram but also on other relevant social media platforms. Partner with relevant travel bloggers and influencers so they can also promote your service to their followers.
You should also optimize your presence on Google Maps for keywords like “tours near me”. While Google Maps SEO might seem like a pretty complex process, you can actually achieve it in just four key steps:
- Claim and verify your Google My Business listing
- Optimize your listing. Focus on providing accurate and complete information for potential travelers
- Built local citations by listing your business in relevant directories for your city and in the travel industry
- Get more (positive) reviews from existing customers, on Google Maps and other relevant review sites.
4. Make it as easy as possible to book trips
Attracting people to visit your site and/or social media is already very challenging, so the last thing we’d want is for those who are already interested to leave our site just because it’s too complex for them to book a trip.
It’s very important to streamline the booking process as much as possible. Make sure to integrate a reliable tour booking software that is designed for the travel industry so you can ensure a positive user experience and maximize conversions.
Make sure your online booking system offers:
- 24/7 reservation-taking system
- Real-time update that syncs to your Calendar/scheduling system
- Reliable online payment processing that covers the relevant payment options (credit card, PayPal, etc. )
- Monitoring system to manage bookings to eliminate double bookings and no-shows
5. Smart email marketing
Even with all the new technologies and marketing channels, email marketing remains a very effective marketing channel with a very high ROI.
You can use email marketing to inform existing customers about new trip offers, as well as other informative content that might be relevant for them. You can also combine email marketing with other channels (i.e. content marketing) to attract new customers and to nurture them until they are ready to book their trips.
Use email marketing strategically, and personalization is key. Understand where the potential traveler is in their customer’s journey, and send the right email accordingly.
At the most basic level, email marketing for a travel business comprises of a few steps:
- Encourage users to sign-up for your email newsletter by offering a lead magnet.
- Develop great content that will keep them reading your emails. Don’t focus on selling your trips, but focus on bringing value to the reader.
- Monitor the performance metrics of your email, and improve your strategy accordingly