In recent years the travel business has changed with lightning speed thanks, in part, to the advent of social media and digital content marketing. So it’s no wonder that many travel industry business owners and brand marketers still feel uncertain about marketing and aren’t sure if all the buzz about engaging clients in the online world will really work to help them grow in the real world. (Note: It will!)
Below are ten ways to stay on top of travel industry online marketing trends (Marketingweek.co.uk):
- Get with the times. Now that nearly everyone is surfing the net for “consumer purposes” — especially for information related to travel — the future of your travel business depends on being connected through social media.
Manage your online reputation. Today your strong strong online presence is almost as important as your solid product or service offering. Savvy consumers now research every purchase before they buy. With a few quick clicks, potential clients can compare how your travel business measures up.
Know that what worked before might not work moving forward. Social media has changed the landscape of the travel industry — travel, tourism, hotel, resort, hospitality, destination marketing businesses, and everything in between. If you want to generate leads and build a digital community where your travel business is sought out as an authority don’t dabble. Get serious and focused. Consider hiring an experienced travel marketing team to jumpstart your efforts.
Don’t be a dinosaur. Would you cling to using a mimeograph machine or typewriter in your office? No, of course not. If you aren’t embracing online technologies that millions of people around the globe turn to for help making decisions, you are dooming your travel business to extinction. Learn to use the latest technologies or hire people to help you.
Court the younger generation where they work and play. Those Gen X and Gen Y kids are now working adults. And because they’ve grown up in a digital world, they are extremely technologically sophisticated. They expect the businesses they patronize to be the same way. If the information they seek isn’t easily accessible and updated in real time, you’ve likely lost their business.
Target wisely. Don’t assume you know the travel experience different consumers seek. Engage in dialogue with your existing clients and potential leads online and then reflect on the resulting information to really gleen what it is people want to know. Listening and monitoring trends will give you insights for future marketing strategies. You may be surprised to learn that seniors are outpacing younger people as the fastest growing segment among social networkers in recent years. Unlike older travelers in bygone days, today’s seniors are still looking for adventure experiences when they vacation.
Understand that economics are open to interpretation. We hear daily on the news about the dire economy in leading nations around the world. However, we need to be mindful that we now live in a global economy and that includes the emerging middle classes in countries such as India, China, and many African nations. If you think broadly and long-term, middle class travelers around the world should be generating business for years to come.
Embrace change. Just about the only thing travel industry leaders can count on these days is constant change. It pays to be aware of trends, world events, and emerging markets, as well as the best ways to reach potential clients in today’s ever-changing digital landscape.
Start today. The time to revisit your social media strategy – or get to work on developing one – is today. Travel, tourism, and hospitality business that want to keep up with the times and stay ahead of their competitors need to maximize their investment in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest to name a few) and content marketing.
Being online and being effective online are two completely different concepts. Anyone can create an account on a social network and post there from time to time, but dabbling doesn’t generate business leads the way seriously working digital mediums can drive customers to your online sites and assets.
Become a content marketing pro. To be truly effective online, businesses must invest in quality writing. Google and other search engines recognize the difference between poor writing and high-quality content on websites.
According to a recent story in MarketingWeek, one of the key messages to come out of this year’s ABTA Travel Convention is that the travel industry is failing when it comes to generating inspiring, quality content. The chair of Thomas Cook Group’s digital advisory board, John Straw, said those in the travel industry fail to convert leads into sales because of poorly created and handled content.
Straw, who said only three percent of visitors to travel websites convert to sales, admonished that, “surely as an industry we can do better by inspiring people with more content”.
Straw is not alone. Nigel Huddleston, who is the current head of travel for Google, said that the travel industry needs to respond to the demand from consumers for more quality content about hotels and destinations – including video (Marketingweek.co.uk).
Do you agree with these experts but are uncertain about how to get started? At Stir Tourism we pride ourselves on helping our clients with exceptional content marketing. Read our blog post 11 ways to increase traffic and leads in travel and tourism using content marketing for some great tips.
Insider tip: Photos and Videos Count Too!
How important are photographs and videos to the travel industry? Extremely important! According to a recent article by Skift Trends, the rise of Instagram and Facebook have made visuals the “new language of the digital era.”
Advancements in technology have made sharing photos and HD video clips easy and quick, which means they can be powerful marketing tools for travel, tourism, and hospitality businesses (Skift).
Does this new approach to content marketing really work? Yes. Check out Travel Alberta, which has used online media with much success. They focus on “seed and lead” first. That is, they seed information to former and potential clients and then lead them to a destination once they have their attention (imediaconnection.com). It works well when done properly.
Yahoo recently highlighted Stir Tourism’s client Santo Domingo Vacation D’Elite (SDVE) for effective online content development. This article applauds our client, saying SDVE “does a great job of answering questions on their blog that people will be searching for on Google.” Yahoo cites a blog our writing team wrote based on the content marketing strategy we implemented for SDVE about what to pack when traveling to the Dominican Republic as an example of useful and powerful marketing writing.
Ready to get ahead with content marketing and social media for your hospitality, travel or tourism business?
Our travel, tourism, and hospitality experts at Stir Tourism can help you to establish your brand on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms as well as through your website and a well-written blog.
Contact Stir Tourism for a free estimate or free 30-minute consultation for digital and social media marketing and advertising services including strategic marketing plans, content marketing, and social media services. We can manage all aspects of social media content for your travel or tourism business.
Don’t forget to ask about our free website and online presence analysis report.
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http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/news/travel-industry-needs-to-create-better-content/4008327.article; http://skift.com/2013/10/10/visuals-are-the-new-language-of-content-marketing-in-travel/; http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1217192/future-travel-eight-things-need-know; http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/35182.asp; http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/don-t-miss-boat-travel-tourism-content-marketing-163022042.html