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Looking for actionable traveling marketing tips that are effective in 2020?
Then you came to the right place.
Marketing in the travel industry can be a tricky space, with so many different touchpoints during the customer journey.
One thing you should already be doing is making sure your SEO is in check to drive those targeted organic leads to your business.
But what else can you be doing to really get the most out of your marketing campaigns?
Let’s take a deep dive into 15 actionable travel marketing tips you can implement (and improve upon) in your business starting today.
Before we dive in, let’s take into consideration current travel trends in 2020.
Social media is more important than ever, with Instagram being at the forefront when it comes to posting and sharing those special travel events with friends, families and to others around the world.
With more than one billion active monthly users, Instagram is definitely the gorilla in the room and one you want to be working with on your social campaigns.
If you’re not active already on Instagram, these states should help you reconsider:
You want to make sure that your Instagram business profile is one of the 200 million daily visits, and serve the right type of content to your newest followers.
Mirco trips continue to grow in popularity among millennials, as travelers look to save on both time and cash without missing out on the experiences.
A recent survey published by Discover found that travelers plan to take short vacations of 1-3 days, with 51% of respondents saying their trip will last 1-3 days, compared to 21% who said their trip will last 4-6 days. Only 6% of those surveyed said their trip will last between 8-13 days.
If you’re not already offering such style trips, and millennials fit into your target demographic, you might want to re-think that strategy.
Transformational travel and wellness travel continue to also grow in popularity, as travelers look to enjoy adventurous trips that help both their bodies and minds.
Wellness tourism is a niche market that is projected to hit a whopping $919 billion total by 2022. Growing at roughly 9% year over year, which is a rate of 50%+ faster than overall global tourism. These travelers also spend 130% more than the average traveler.
Eco-friendly tourism is also surging, as travelers look to book transportation, accommodation and excursions that are both eco-friendly and support sustainability.
Climate change awareness is affecting travel plans more than ever, and according to the annual Portrait of American Travelers study, 60% of American travelers say their concerns over climate change will likely help decide where they go in the next 5-10 years.
There’s a ton of trends that are helping to shape how people travel in 2020 and the new decade, and if you’re not capitalizing on some of these, you could be missing out.
Let’s take a look at the overall bigger picture from a marketing perspective, and what you need to do to be getting in front of your customer’s in the world of 2020.
Your potential customers are both dreaming about and researching their next getaway all the time.
As a marketer, you need to be thinking about those exact moments where you can be an influence during the customer journey, and how you can help them during the process.
Google has broken down the traveler customer journey into what they call “micro-moments”.
These micro-moments fall under four categories:
You’re going to want to find the right way and time to get in front of your customers using your marketing strategy to properly target and get in front of potential customers, so once that hit the third phase, they’ll be coming back to buy from your business.
In the end, it’s all about helping the customer on their journey and delivering on their exact needs.
You can learn more about Google’s Micro-Moments and how you can interact with your customers during each phase of their travel journey.
Let’s start at the core of your marketing efforts: your brand’s website.
Take a good look at your businesses’ website and ask yourself:
Is our current website optimized for conversion rates, are we performing well organically and do we offer an excellent user experience?
Your website should be at the forefront of your online marketing efforts, and there’s always room to improve how you’re marketing your service(s) and/or product(s) to your end-customers.
If your website hits on any of the following points, it’s time to re-visit this core strategy of your marketing efforts:
With any of these points missing, you’re most likely losing revenue every minute that passes by.
Before expanding marketing efforts into other areas, you should first determine:
Your website is the absolute starting point for your marketing strategy, and this should be shown in its presentation, functionality and conversion rate.
Depending on your exact service offering, you’ll want to make sure you’re targeting the right demographic with your marketing campaigns.
Understanding your customer’s demographics is crucial, as your service offering should be targeted towards primarily these specific customers. Additionally, your social campaigns, advertising, and email marketing should include messaging that best resonates with this group.
According to Bing travel industry research, it was found that 68% of women search for family vacation ideas. On top of that, women account for 59% of all travel-related searches.
When creating marketing content, you should be writing from the buyer persona to create emotional copy that speaks directly to your target audience.
If you’re not already familiar with what type of traffic you’re directing towards your business, and not already using Google Analytics, it’s a great starting point to understanding the demographics of your customer base.
Login to Google Analytics, and from the Audience tab on the left-hand side, click on Demographics and then on Overview.
Additionally, the Interests and Geo tabs will provide insights into what your users are interested in as well as which locations they’re hitting your website from.
If you’re attracting the wrong type of users that don’t match up with your target audience, it might be time to re-think your overall marketing strategy and how you can properly target those users.
During the search process, users will switch between their mobile phones and desktops. The majority of mobile users are searching for inspiration, information and looking to compare prices, whereas desktop travel searches generally are ready to make a purchase or complete a booking.
Although people are primarily searching for travel on mobile, Google’s research found that 75% of travelers ended up purchasing on a desktop.
With this in mind, you’re going to want to make sure your campaigns are targeting the correct audience on the correct device.
Your mobile content and ads should be set up to bring inspiration to potential travel customers, where your desktop ad copy should be geared towards conversions and making a sale.
Facebook ads can bring a huge ROI when setup correctly.
Not only are they great for converting existing demand, but you can also focus on creating new user demand as well.
Facebook ads require their own special approach versus other platforms, where you need to focus on building value (as always), and awareness on Facebook itself, before users make the plunge to jump over to your website.
Content will be crucial in your success of Facebook ads, and it needs to be on point.
When we say content, we mean video content. Video traffic converts at a much higher rate, and should be your primary content medium when running Facebook ads.
Having success with Facebook ads requires you hit on the following basic points:
Running Facebook ads can be extremely rewarding in the travel space, if done correctly.
The concept behind bidding on your own branded terms is simple.
The more real estate you take up on Google, the better the chance a customer is going to click on your page versus a competitors.
Even with great visibility coming from organic search traffic, your competitors are definitely taking up a few of those spots in the SERPs.
Bidding on branded terms has the following up-sides:
You want to do whatever it takes to remove the competition from taking up real estate for your own branded search terms, and bidding on your own terms is the best way to do this.
If you’re running ads on Google and Facebook, and you’re not re-targeting those customers who have visited your website, you’re missing out on a potential goldmine.
Customers on average take 7-8 interactions with a brand before they make a purchase.
The overall travel purchase cycle for consumers can be a long road, so you want to make sure your potential customers eventually make their way back to your business as their final destination.
Re-marketing is the simple practice of serving ads to customers who have already visited your website.
With standard advertising, you’re targeting users based on specific demographics and interests who might have an interest in your product.
With remarketing ads, you’re targeting a user who has already visited your website, where they’ve already shown interest, which in turn increases the chances of conversion upon their follow-up visits to your website.
If you’re running Google, Facebook or Instagram ads, you 100% should have a pixel installed on the site, and re-marketing campaigns setup to retarget these users during their follow-up searches.
There are so many angles you can take with email marketing, and it can be a super-effective way to get (and keep) your messaging in front of potential customers.
At the most primitive level, an email marketing funnel looks as such:
There’s a ton of excellent providers out there that can help you set up your campaigns, and walk you through the basics. Drip comes highly-recommended as a go-to way to create personalized email marketing campaigns.
Remember, always provide value in your emails, and you’ll keep your email subscribers happy and converting from your offering.
Video content is becoming even more of an important marketing component when it comes to SEO, with the further rollout of Google Suggested Clips.
Google wants to help users now skip video introductions and jump directly to answer their question in a video that is indexed in search.
Many businesses still have not capitalized on Google’s Suggested Clips, which still leaves a huge area to cash in on if you can target the right terms, and provide users with the answers to their questions about different travel experiences.
Video content is not only important for SEO, but also for your overall marketing efforts.
According to a report from HubSpot Research, more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands, which is more than any other type of content.
Video marketing is not only about entertainment, or showing of that new recent tour, but it also massively helps to increase conversions rates and also helps to increase open rates when used in email marketing campaigns.
Travel companies should be working to create video content that hits on the following areas:
The great thing about the last point is that it allows you to kill two birds with one stone.
If you create great video content that can also serve as blog content when in the right format, you can simply transcribe the video content and re-use this for your organic traffic efforts for targeting users in Google and other search engines.
If your brand is only blasting out content in the forms of written blog posts, you might want to re-think your strategy and get active in the video content creation department.
Instagram is huge, and as a travel business, you need to be “on the gram” to be truly competing.
Along with that, you need to have set goals beforehand that you want to accomplish by being active on Instagram. Examples of those goals might be brand awareness, service promotion, or to re-share user-generated content.
When posting to Instagram, your overall content strategy should also roll up into your social media accounts, meaning you should have a calendar of posts ready to roll out for the few months at a time.
75% of Instagram users take action after seeing a post from a business. This comes by the means of searches of products/services, share with their friends and/or family or navigate to your website and potentially convert.
When thinking about Instagram marketing, you need to consider the following:
Speaking on the last, and most important point, converting your Instagram followers into customers can come from a few different strategies:
Think about and review what your goals are by having an Instagram account, and how you can reach your target audience. Being in the travel industry, Instagram is just another excellent way you can reach your customers to show your unique service offering.
Reviews build trust, and people who trust you will buy from you.
It’s that simple.
You need to be collecting reviews both on your actual products and services, as well as collecting Google My Business reviews as well.
With all of the big-name review companies offering hybrid solutions these days to collect both using their platform, and on third-party platforms such as Yelp, Facebook and GMB (among others), there’s no reason to miss the opportunity to hear the voice of your customers.
Not only should you be collecting these reviews for internal purposes to hear how you can improve, but you also need to get all of your positive review content on-site and in front of your users to help build trust and convert purchases.
Collecting reviews also allows you to light up stars in the organic search results, which is another key element to driving CTR’s through the roof.
If you’re not already collecting reviews, now is the time to get the 5-stars rolling in the door.
Marketing to your customers with the right message and at the right time is crucial to any marketing campaign.
If you haven’t thought about some of the points above, it might be a great time to reflect and re-visit on how you can work these into your current marketing strategy
Feel free to leave a comment below, or reach out if you have any questions.