It’s safe to say, travel is well and truly BACK!
It has certainly been a testing couple of years for the travel industry. If a global pandemic and the subsequent ban on travelling wasn’t enough, a shortage of airport staff has meant holidaymakers looking to escape for some well-earned sun over the 2022 summer months have had to contend with endless flight cancellations, lost luggage and unholy queues. However, despite all these problems, people are still travelling and businesses in the travel sector are once again starting to flourish.
If the experts’ predictions are correct, in 2023 the travel industry will enjoy a bumper year, returning to pre-pandemic levels. But what does this mean for travel agencies? For those that have weathered the storm of the last two years, 2023 constitutes an opportunity to capitalise on a changed market. However, integral to this is having the right marketing strategy in place. Many of the traditional ‘big players’ in the travel agency sector may now be gone, but new ones have taken their place, so the battle for bookings will be as intense as ever.
To help any travel agency who is looking to stand out from the competition in 2023, we have put together a list of marketing channels that need to be considered when marketing a travel agency.
1. Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
You’re on a search engine… You enter a search query and then you’re served the results. If you look at the first few results you may notice that they have ‘ad’ next to them. These are paid ads and advertisers have bid on particular keywords in order for their ad to be put in front of you. If you then click on it and go through to their website they will then be charged for that interaction. This, in a nutshell, is how PPC works.
The beauty of travel PPC advertising is that any money you put in you will quickly have an idea of the return on investment for your travel agency. Also, if your PPC account has been optimised correctly you can ensure that your ads are only served to those users who are most likely to convert.
Let’s give you an example… You run a travel agency that specialises in organising trips to Scandinavia for retirees. Not only would your PPC campaigns only bid on keywords such as ‘Organised tours to Scandinavia’, you could set the targeting parameters so that ads are only served to those above the age of 55.
The best thing about PPC? You’re in control. You can put your travel company in front of the users you feel will convert who are at the stage in the buying cycle of your choosing. It is therefore a travel agency marketing channel you NEED to consider.
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Let’s go back to that initial Google search… Once you’ve scrolled past the paid ads you reach the organic results (basically everything else). As you would expect, the higher your website appears in these results, the better chance you have of generating ‘organic’ website traffic.
Regardless of the sector you are in, getting onto the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for relevant search queries is vital if you want to attract highly-engaged users to your website. For a travel agency, who needs users on their website to generate bookings, it is a MUST.
But how do you make sure that your travel agency website ranks in the top search positions for relevant search terms? The answer… Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is essentially a process where you improve your website so that a search engine will look on it favourably when determining the organic search results.
A broad area of marketing, SEO for you travel agency could involve:
- Making sure you have the right travel keywords in your content
- Improving the technical capabilities and speed of your website
- Producing keyword-focused blogs
- Fine-tuning the structure of your site
- Making it easier for a search engine to crawl your website
- Acquiring backlinks from other established travel websites
If you are a travel agency that is currently putting together your digital marketing strategy, it is vital that you think about SEO. Without the need for advert spend, you can improve the health of your website, boost its organic visibility and increase the number of users that visit it. While it may not provide an immediate impact, having the right SEO strategy in place will help bring long-term results. It really is a no-brainer!
3. Paid Social Media
I know what you’re thinking… “We’re a travel agency, of course we have social media!” It’s no secret that in an industry where you are trying to sell locations and experiences to customers, social media is an effective tool through which to do this. Not only do social media platforms allow travel agencies to promote their holidays, get more customers, and shine a light on the locations they cover, they also help increase brand presence. Okay, this may not be news to you, but are you aware of the paid advertising options on social media?
In a similar fashion to Google Ads, social media platforms give advertisers the chance to put their ads in front of people they feel are likely to convert. From age, to interests, to other pages users have ‘liked’, social media platforms provide a multitude of targeting options. You could even use your own email marketing list!
Think of paid social media advertising as a bit like a billboard advert in the street. People will see it as they go (or scroll) past it. However, unlike a normal street, you can somewhat control who passes your ad. Want that same group of retirees with a keen interest in Scandinavia to be aware of your travel agency? You can make sure your ads are shown to those who fit that profile (and I don’t just mean ABBA-lovers!).
While paid social media may not necessarily lead to conversions, it will work wonders for brand presence. That’s why it is now considered a key channel in travel agency marketing.
So that’s part one of my ‘6 Channels You Should Consider When Marketing Your Travel Agency in 2023’. There’s no doubt that next year is going to be a big one for the travel sector. Competition is going to be rife, so it’s important every travel agency has a water-tight marketing strategy that incorporates all the right channels in place.
In the second part of this article I will look at the other channels you – as a travel agency – need to consider when putting together your marketing strategy. So WATCH THIS SPACE.
If you would like to know more about the travel marketing services we offer at Signify Digital get in touch today and speak to a travel marketing expert.