Online Marketing is now the cheapest and the most effective form of marketing for a travel business. It allows you to reach a global audience instantly, and at a very low cost. Mobile has become the latest trend in etravel with more and more people buying travel products on their smartphones and tablets. Therefore, you need to create your website in a mobile-friendly version.
A key aspect of Online Marketing is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. You need to make sure your site is SEO-friendly. Most people tend to click on search results that turn up on the first, or maybe second page on Google, Bing etc. So, if your site doesn’t appear on the first couple of pages, it’s going to attract very little traffic. There is no surefire way of getting on the first page of Google. If an SEO expert tells you that they know how to get your site on the first page, they are lying. Google keeps changing its search algorithms, and it never reveals exactly how it works. It has however laid down some guidelines that may improve your Search Engine Ranking.
One of the most important factors that affect Search engine ranking is content. Your site needs to have content that contains relevant keywords, keywords people are searching with on Google. Using long tail keywords in your content, instead of short generic keywords tends to be more effective, as there’s less competition for the former. For instance, if you are a travel agency selling tours to Thailand, you may want to include long tail keywords like ‘Best places to visit Thailand'(Just an example) or ‘Things to do in Thailand’, rather than ‘Thailand package’ or ‘Thailand holiday’.
While using keywords helps, you need to be careful not to stuff your content with keywords, just for SEO. Google has become very clever over the years, and blacklists such content, which can adversely affect your search ranking. ‘Keyword stuffing’, or ‘Blackhat SEO’ has lost many companies significant traffic.Therefore, use keywords with the aim of enhancing the relevance of your site’s content to users, and not solely for a higher search ranking. If Google finds your content relevant, chances are that it will automatically bump up your site in the search rankings.
Other factors which have a positive effect on Search positions are high backlinks(no of external links pointing to your site), mobile responsiveness(this particularly affects mobile search results), strong Social Media presence, a frequently updated blog, among others.
Another form of online marketing that is becoming increasingly popular is Content Marketing. Content marketing is all about creating engaging content to build trust and thought leadership. People tend to buy from businesses they trust. So, it makes perfect sense for a business to use content marketing to build trust among their customers. One of the reasons why a lot of people still prefer to use travel agents is because they see them as travel experts.
A great way to demonstrate you expertise in travel, is through blogging. Most travelers today tend to do online research before they book travel. They look for expert advice online about flights, hotels and destinations, and blogging is a wonderful means for travel agents to share their expert opinions with their customers and prospects. Having a blog and posting fresh, insightful content on it to engage your audience can pay rich dividends for a travel business.
Social media is a great means to create awareness about your brand in the Travel Industry.
Social Media Platforms are all about creating engaging ways to drive traffic to your website. Make sure you are active on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and Instagram to take your brand in the right direction.
When it comes to Facebook, it’s a powerful marketing platform to promote travel services and marketing your business.
It allows travel agencies to communicate with clients in real-time, promote deals and drive traffic to their website.
Create Your Facebook Strategy
You need to create your goals with innovative strategies to expand relevant networks and increase targeted audience who can like your fan page and posts.
You need to put regular efforts on Facebook Fan page to keep users engaged, provide small prizes, and tell users to share their favorite pictures.
Use Twitter to post questions, travel guides etc. Twitter has a large audience which you can use to create targeted followers, share your photos, website, special deals and blog posts. Another useful tool is Foursquare. It’s a location-based social network that will allows users to check-in to many places like hotels, restaurants, airports etc and share it with their friends on Facebook and Twitter, thereby promoting your brand.
Don’t forget to use Instagram, it is a great platform to share lovely travel photos with travelers and connect your account with Facebook and Twitter. As I mentioned earlier, if you have an active social media presence, your content is more likely to rank higher in Google search results.
Use Pinterest for Targeted Audience
Share your experience on Pinterest, create the Boards of “Best Travel Deals”, “Best Holiday Destinations, promote your special products/services and start building the targeted audience. Users will re-pin, like and comment on your photos, and if your customer has shared their travel photos you can create a board and share it with travelers.
Use the strategy of Content Marketing
Everything is a brand today. Develop problem solving content, produce travel tips, good itineraries and your audience will love to share the content with their social networks. Use content marketing in blogging techniques and promote your travel guides and products.
Pull your targeted network in with engaging stories so that they want to be part of your travel business.
Encourage satisfied clients to share a review of their tour on your site and other platforms like Facebook Fan Page and other Local Listing sites so new customers can book with confidence. Also, share your TripAdvisor Link with customers and tell them to share travel experience, it will help to generate more valuable customers.
Travel Agencies can use email marketing to build relationships. When customers book a tour with you, always ask if they’d like to receive your email newsletter. Use Email Marketing to communicate with clients, get feedback about their experience, and encourage your clients to send travel photos to publish on the website and Facebook Fan Page.
If you’re a travel business, an email marketing campaign is one of the most cost-effective marketing techniques you can use. You can also use email marketing to share news, promotions, special deals and discount coupons to your clients. So take advantage of it, and generate more revenue, book more tours using the power of email marketing.
Sell your Special Offers with Mobile Marketing Campaigns
One of the quickest ways to share news about last minute deals or special offers is Mobile Marketing. You can send deals and offers either through text messaging, or what has now become the most popular messaging medium, Whatsapp. Whatsapp is used by billions of people and is cheaper than sending text messages. You can target both existing and potential customers through Whatsapp by sending out promotions en masse or by sending targeted messages to a select bunch of customers, by adding them in a group. You can even share attractive images and videos on Whatsapp to promote your travel products.
Everybody wants to get the best deals to their favorite places in their smartphones. It’s far easier to sell another booking to an existing clients rather than to new clients.
Mobile marketing allows you to get instant response to your messages from your customers. Birthday wishes and special holidays are excellent opportunities to communicate with client. So the next time when a customer plans a business tour or a family holiday, they will be more likely to use your company.
Lastly, setup a YouTube channel for your business and create and develop videos for your brand promotion and share it on Facebook and other social media platforms. It’s an extremely effective marketing tool for your business, as a lot of people prefer watching a video over text and images. Videos also give customers a virtual tour of a destination, which can positively influence their purchase decision.
According to the current trends in the travel business, it is essential for all travel companies to use effective social media marketing to promote their brand and generate more revenue for their business.
At TravelCarma, we offer a range of solutions to promote your travel business online, including social media integration. To find out more about us, please visit us at http://www.travelcarma.com