Travel marketing isn’t the same as running a travel business. The competition is high, the ROI can be incredibly low, and visibility can be hard to achieve. When it comes to the travel industry, your marketing strategy can actually make or break your business.
Managing website content, bookings, social media, newsletters, reviews, and paid ads with little to no results to show can put a big dent in your bank account and dampen your overall spirits. Before you start publishing more travel advertisements, review your marketing strategy again to see how you can make it more effective.
In this article we’ll cover all the top travel marketing tips that you should focus on:
1. Understand your target audience
Before you create a travel marketing strategy, you need to get a good understanding of your target audience — Who are they? What motivates them to travel? How much do they research before booking a travel plan?
For instance, according to a report, women conduct 68 percent of searches related to family vacation ideas. Moreover, women account for 59 percent of all travel-related searches and 62 percent of the total clicks.
That means if your business offers family travel options, then you should primarily focus your marketing strategy on women. Though, your demographics can vary according to your specific marketing goals.
Start by creating 3-4 customer personas and then building your marketing strategy around them. It’s important to focus on how you can harness your marketing creatives to appeal to the customers on a personal level
2. Optimize your website
The goal of almost all of the travel marketing campaigns is to convince customers to visit your website and book a trip. Now, if your website looks too cluttered, outdated, or difficult to use, then it might become incredibly difficult to convert leads into paying customers.
More importantly, you could be losing crucial revenue every day if your website is not in the best shape.
So, the first thing you should do is check your site speed and compare it with your competitors to see how you can decrease the total time it takes to load the website, both on mobile and web.
Revamp your website, if needed, to make it more responsive and mobile-friendly. You should also simplify the website design so that users can easily browse through the services and get in touch with you. Also, set up and manage Google Analytics for the website to track users and their behavior on the website
3. Reach customers at the right time
How do you market a vacation package? You reach your customers at the right place and at the right time.
Travelers search for different destinations at different times of the year. According to a report, search volume for family vacations usually starts peaking around April. Similarly, search demand varies according to where people are headed:
- Beaches: While people love visiting beaches all-year-round, the search volume for beach trips is the highest from winter to spring.
- Cruises: Usually the search demand for cruises peaks in January, after New Year’s.
- Theme parks: The demand for theme parks peak both in the winter season and in July.
- National and state parks: The search volume for them usually peaks in June.
Though it’s important to note that these are just the average peak timings based on the overall numbers. If you are planning to target a specific location or region, it’s best to analyze the search volume for that particular city or state to find the most valuable season while creating your marketing strategy
4. Create effective social media strategies
Social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve brand awareness and engagement for your travel business. Though, choosing the right platform and social media strategy is important before starting.
For travel businesses, it’s best to start with Facebook and Instagram as both are visually-driven, allowing you to share compelling pictures of holiday destinations to grab the user’s attention.
While there is a lot of competition on these platforms as well, the best way to cut through the clutter and get in front of your prospective customers is through paid advertising. You can create custom audiences, boost posts that are already performing well organically, and promote your limited sale offer or travel packages.
When creating travel ads for Facebook or Instagram, travel advertisers should focus on different stages of the funnel. Ideally, you should create ad campaigns to:
- Create brand awareness with valuable content.
- Nurture leads with targeted ads.
- Remarket to interested users with specific, limited time offers.
- Build loyalty with paying customers through repeated marketing and special offers.
5. Leverage the power of email marketing
No matter how many likes or comments you get on your social media posts, your email subscribers will always be your most valuable marketing asset.
Why? Because email marketing drives more conversions than social media or search engines every day. Social media platforms might have billions of active users, but 99 percent of people check their emails every day.
Your social media posts can eventually get buried in the users’ feeds after a few hours or you can get pushed down in search engine rankings after a new algorithm update from Google, but your email subscribers will always be there.
To kick start your email marketing campaign, the first thing that you need to do is add a subscription form on your website. It will help you build a dedicated list of subscribers who are actually interested in the services or tips offered by your travel company.
It’s important to give your website visitors an incentive that compels them to subscribe to your routine emails. The incentive can be anything from coupon codes for future purchases or a useful guide for people to plan their trips in a better way.
While your email newsletter can be weekly or monthly, the goal should be always to drive traffic to your website and more generate leads. Also, the newsletter should be valuable to your audience and packed with information. Your subscribers decided to hear from you for a reason — make every email count.
6. Establish remarketing strategies
A customer is likely to visit your company website a few times and even check your social media pages before actually making a purchase. In fact, most customers don’t make an impulse travel purchase directly after seeing an ad or social media post — They like doing their own research because booking a travel plan means taking days off work and planning ahead of time.
In cases like these, effective remarketing strategies can be a valuable tool. You can remarket your ads to people who have already interacted with your brand before. Remarketing content to your paid customers is also a great way to increase sales and improve brand loyalty. In fact, conversion rates increase from 5-20 percent for new customers to 60-70 percent for repeat customers.
7. Incorporate videos in your marketing strategy
Reading about travel destinations and vacation packages is one thing, but watching engaging videos about them is a whole another experience. By combining videos with your content marketing strategy and social media strategy, you can improve engagement, click-through ratio, and conversions.
According to a report, when pages have both text and videos on them, 72 percent of users prefer to watch the videos instead of reading the content. Similarly, Facebook gets over 8 billion daily views and 84 percent of marketers use Facebook to promote their brand videos. That means, if you are not already using videos as part of your marketing strategy, you are essentially missing out on a big chunk of customers.
Instead of hiring a video editor, which can greatly reduce your marketing budget, you can use a free video maker like InVideo that allows you to create engaging videos in just a few clicks.
InVideo also works as your very own Instagram video editor with thousands of completely editable travel video templates. You can customize your videos according to your requirements and directly post it on your website or social media.
The most important tip for travel marketing is tracking your campaigns diligently. You need to know what is working and what isn’t. At the same time, you should also analyze what posting times and content types work the best for your audience to incorporate them more in your strategy.