Gone are the days when people needed to involve a travel agent to do their bookings or prepare itineraries. Today, more than the majority of people worldwide prefer doing their own research and book accommodation and tickets online. With the advent of the digital revolution, everyone has become independent and hardly anyone likes being interrupted by multiple travel ads or unnecessary pop-ups.
Source: Phocuswright's Phocal Point: Global Market Sizing
Looking at the above statistic, we can draw observations as to how the travel market is on a rapid rise and will touch the 1,637 billion dollar mark by 2021. So, in order to tap today’s smart users, your marketing strategy needs to be smarter, especially if you are in the travel and tourism business. Let’s see how!
Crafting the Right Buyer Persona
Knowing your audience exhaustively is fundamental to designing the perfect inbound marketing strategy. For instance, Expedia Group Media solutions came up with an interesting insight – “Gen Alpha, which refers to those born after 2010, is showing more signs of influencing family travel decisions and planning than previously thought. On average globally, travellers with Gen Alphas are taking more than three family trips a year.” If your business is marketing for family vacations, it is a key insight into what influences your target audience’s behaviour. Follow the various travel trends that influence Gen Alpha and try incorporating these in the packages you offer. Since today’s consumer is highly influenced by online video content in this space, you need to be clear on which platform would be the most impactful in order to reach your target audience and strategise your campaigns. If you get this right, half of your job is done right here.
Using the Right SEO Strategy to Increase Engagement
One of the most effective tools of inbound marketing is SEO. 82% of travel bookings in 2018 were completed via a website or mobile app, without human interaction. Google holds 90.1% of market share in its totality of search engine market and 81% of consumers perform online research prior to making a large purchase. This indicates how imperative it is for your offers or content to appear on top of the search results. By using relevant keywords and creating content that is enticing to the majority of the audience, you can top these results organically.
Source: US online travel overview 2018, Europe online travel overview 2018, Asia pacific online travel overview 2019
Furthermore, as you can observe from the statistic above, mobile bookings have been on the rise for the last two years. This reflects how your audience is independently conducting their own research to find the best deals. Whether you are using Google ads or going with ads on various social channels such as Facebook and Instagram, you cannot achieve the desired results by overlooking SEO.
Content Marketing As Key
Know your audience well? Great! Have the right SEO strategy in place? Even better! So, why not design stellar content with relevant information to woo your prospects? The key to crafting the best content strategy is to keep listening. Almost everyone today shares their travel experiences on social media platforms, which is a readily available data on the type of content that is greatly popular amongst your target audience.
According to DemandGen, 95% of customers choose a brand that offers relevant content at every stage of the buying process. And Tenon Tours is a great example of that as they boosted their revenue by 129% using inbound marketing. Their website boasts of compelling content in the form of interesting blog posts on local culture, events, and travel-related advice, which indicates a well thought-through content marketing strategy.
Based on your demographic analysis and target audience persona, you can craft and personalise interesting content accordingly.
Driving Engagement with Video Marketing
According to stats, 72% of consumers prefer videos over texts when learning about a product or service. This is because the attention span is on an all-time low and videos convey impactful messages. To drive better engagement, brand awareness and recognition, videos play a key role. Even if someone is browsing around when bored with no intent to make a booking, your brand name will stay with them if they ever consider doing so in future.
Make personalised and engaging videos after studying trends and psychology of your audience. Go through the facts and figures that give you a comprehensive idea of what works well and include more of that in your video marketing campaign.
Leveraging Social Media for Higher Engagement
Remember how we said your audience is conducting their own research and booking their own holidays? Where are they going to find the right information? How are they finding the best deals? On the travel company’s website and social channels, right? Tripadvisor knew this and used social media to position itself as the best travel company in the world. Their thorough research on their buyer persona helped them understand who they are and where and when they are most active. Their user-generated content in terms of reviews gave them the opportunity to maximise user engagement and they leveraged on that. And the rest is history!
Maximising Email and Social Media Campaigns
Social media has a massive influence on almost all kinds of industries, and tourism is no exception as it drives the buying decisions of consumers to a great extent. Additionally, email marketing tops in bringing the best ROI compared to what is invested. Use inbound marketing to create customised emails campaigns based on buyer personas that will entice your audience to open that email and get bitten by the wanderlust bug. A world where customers live in the wake of social media, set their travel goals based on what their friends are posting, where they are going, what the latest travel trends are, etc, your travel & tourism business can get well benefited by this.
The travel & tourism industry is flourishing; make sure your business flourishes too with the right inbound marketing strategy. Creating high-quality is key to reaching out to your ideal buyer persona but that in itself is not enough. It needs to be equipped with thorough SEO analysis, content audit, and the right content strategy before you start creating anything. Learn from the examples above so you don’t have to go through your own trial and error. Leverage video marketing, social media and email campaigns to make sure you are out there with all your inbound efforts and generating quality leads.