Wondering how to approach digital marketing for your travel business? There are some general principles that apply when you’re creating your digital strategy – and this is no different for the travel industry:
- Examine your offering & business goals.
- Examine your market.
- Identify your customer.
Then, follow our: 9 top tips to help you write a digital marketing strategy for your travel business.
Let’s Get Started with your digital marketing strategy…
Examine Your Offering & Business Goals
- Product/service: What is the Unique Selling Point of your travel business? How do you stand out from the competition and what messages do you use to get this across to your audience?
- Price: Does it reflect the value of your travel business, or is the price putting off your audience? Is it competitive? What do your competitors charge? Are there special prices for members?
- Market research: Carry out some research, talk to your current customers. How did they find you, what made them decide to purchase your product/service, etc? What social media do they prefer?
- Digital strategy Go through your business plan to ensure your digital strategy helps deliver your business goals.
Examine Your Market
Examine your market, then you can see where you should place your marketing oomph!!!!
- Your Strengths – Perhaps a great existing customer database you can utilise?
- Your Weaknesses – Perhaps not much experience of venturing into other international markets?
- Market Opportunities – Perhaps a new transport network has opened in a particular market which could see a rise in tourism to the area, or a new attraction has opened locally?
- Market Threats – Perhaps your main competitor has just started marketing to a segment you want to get into, e.g. weddings or honeymoons?
Identify Your Customer
There are many identifiers which are used within the business: Travel advisors, travel agency, executive travel, holiday bookers or destination management. Whichever you use will be a good start in identifying who you are targeting as your customer!
Who would you most like to target? Define a profile that will enable you to target them when you write your content. Try and cover age, gender, socio-economic background and what hobbies and interests they have.
9 Top Tips for Your Travel Business’s Digital Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve established all these key points, you’ll be ready to start creating your digital marketing strategy:
- Branding & Message Make sure before you start marketing that your branding is consistent across all the digital channels, with your logo, font and tag-line if you have one. Is your USP coming out through your message? Get fresh eyes on your marketing and social media account profiles to make sure others see a clear USP.
- Website– This is key for your digital strategy to have an up-to-date, informative, easy-to-use website. Can your customers book online? If so, is there an ideal process (“sales funnel”) you intend your customers to experience as they go from Prospect, to Lead, to Customer, to Repeat Buyer? Pretend you are a customer, or better still, ask a prospective customer to go through the site and check that it’s user-friendly and encourages them to book. Your website really is the cornerstone of your online travel business – so make sure it’s the best it can be.
- Email signup– Many websites’ software now comes with the feature to add an email sign-up box when visitors reach your site, or as part of the purchase process. Once you have their email, you can contact them regarding their visit and request they contact you for more information if they had doubts over the purchase and didn’t buy online on that occasion. This encourages long term relationship building.
- Email Newsletter – one of the most cost-effective ways of marketing is spending money on customer retention and what better way of doing it than to regularly send updates, special offers and deals to your happy customers. This also encourages long term relationship building.
- Social Media– there are various social media platforms to choose from and some are more appealing for a travel business:
- Facebook Page– Local Business (great if you have a physical office you want your customers to find). Good for posting photos and videos and great for targeted advertising within different segments – travellers who enjoy keeping fit, travellers who enjoy walking, women who live in Wales who are interested in Honeymoons.
- Pinterest– this is great for image-based pins, either ones you have taken, or which you can link from your website. You can include lots of description, your keywords and links to your website.
- Twitter– great for linking up with media contacts, travel experts, niche market writers or bloggers, great for giving quick updates or to link to blog posts or other social media
- Instagram– photo based and now videos can be posted. Great for reposting guest images of your property or travel experience.
- YouTube– you can create a channel for your property or travel experience, and can post your own videos, or guest videos with their permission.
- Google+ Business Page– useful if you have a physical office, as it will be displayed on Google Maps and can help increase being found on Google search results.
- Travel Review Sites– get to know TripAdvisor, and other travel review sites which can feed into your digital marketing strategy. Even a free listing can really help visibility and promotion if your business comes under the following categories: “hotels”, “restaurants” and “things to do”. Email all of your past guests/customers and ask them for a review – or use a free automated tool such as Review Express which manages the review process and sends reminders.
- Certificates & Rewards– if you do what you do really well and get industry recognition, then shout about it as much as you can. Post certificates and reward logos on your website, social media and even send out press releases to online press release sites, some free and some paid-for, and they are well utilised by trade journalists.
- Promote to particular segments within your strategy – if for example you know there are some people who love your travel business as a venue for weddings or honeymoons, target your approach by creating wedding boards on Pinterest, for Twitter or Instagram. If you send out a wedding related post, you can use #wedding, #dreamwedding #weddingideas etc, so that anyone searching using these tags will see your post.
- Get to know your calendar– what’s on when will inform a lot of what you do on social media and marketing generally. If you are catering for visitors to the area, it’s a great idea to be able to offer guests plenty of useful ideas of things to do when they are visiting.
Working in this way is really effective in finding which channels are best suited to your business. There are many other simple, affordable tips that can be given to boost your marketing strategy. They include Search Engine Optimisation for your website and linking up with key influencers in your industry, such as bloggers and journalists.
To chat through how we can assist you with creating your digital strategy, get in touch! Call us on 01437 720033 or email email@example.com today.