Digital Marketing is Constantly Changing and Here are 7 Things that Every Travel Advisor Should be Doing this Year!
Written By; Tom Ogg, Co-Founder and Co-Owner – Travel Professional NEWS
Need to step up your marketing strategy? Now, is the right time to do so because a well-planned marketing strategy can help Travel Professionals increase sales, generate revenue and build a loyal client base. Start by learning these latest marketing trends so you can apply them right away to your travel business.
Create Short Form Videos like Reels, YouTube Shorts and TikToks
In today’s digital landscape, you need to capture your audience’s attention quickly. Short-form Video content such as Reels, YouTube Shorts and TikToks are popular now on social media because it engages multiple senses, including sight and sound, in just 15-second or 30-second videos. Also, video content can help you establish an emotional connection with potential clients. By showcasing the visuals, sounds, and experiences of a particular destination, you can tap into people’s emotions and inspire them to book with you.
Create a video with a length of 15 or 30-seconds, and then include a call to action to visit your website, social media business page, send you an email or text for more information. For example, for the summer season you can create a 15-second video about the sun and the beach with a video caption: “Want this to be your view?” You will automatically catch their attention, and allow them to engage with your content even more.
TikTok and Reels is comprised of two categories of videos: trending videos and original content. Trending content is created by adding a unique spin to an existing video concept and typically centers around a specific piece of music or audio. Usually, you will see the trending content in the home screen or for your page and you can base your next videos there. For unique content, you can think of an original way to create videos, just remember to use these tips: hook (where you catch the audience’s attention), line (where you provide the promise or the “core” of your video), and sinker (where you leave your audience with a call to action).
Instead of shooting a long video for a cruise review, try breaking the review into several “short form” videos. You can still use tons of photo and video content, but rather than the old boring 10-minute walking tour of the buffet, try to get it done in 30-seconds. Upload them using keywords specific to the subject of the video. Clients going on a particular cruise will search using the name of the venue being reviewed as they are looking for very specific information.
Create a Google Business Profile
Having a Google Business Profile is an essential tool for Travel Professionals who want to increase their marketing online, provide important information to potential customers, and engage with their audience. Travel Agents can provide important information to potential customers, such as your address, phone number, email, website, business hours and customer reviews. This information can help your potential customers make informed decisions about working with you and can also help build trust and credibility as a Travel Professional.
Having a Google Business Profile allows you to have reviews, photos and videos of your business, so you can share updates about your business and what you are up to. If you handle local clients, having your business on Google Maps is also important to drive new potential clients to your doorstep.
Share User Generated Content
Having a challenging time choosing content topics for your travel business? Try User Generated Content (UGC). UGC is content created by your clients themselves, such as reviews, photos, and videos of their travel experiences, which can be shared on social media and on your website. This creates credibility and trust for your potential clients as they can easily see what other people think of you. Also, it allows you to showcase your services and create an interactive experience with your audience.
For example, if you have a client that was very satisfied with your services, you can ask them to write a review for you on your social media and Google business listing or you may take a screenshot of their message review and repost it on your social media platforms.
Get creative by adding “5 stars” to your artworks or “client approved” elements when creating social media posts. If you are a newbie in creating social media artworks, create a canva.com account, and you can easily choose templates that can help you create posters that you can use for your online platforms.
Use Virtual Reality Experiences
Virtual Reality (VR) is an important marketing tool in the field of travel. This digital technology allows users to explore and interact with travel destinations in a more engaging way, without physically being there. For instance, Travel Professionals can use VR to feature hotels, resorts and tourist attractions to potential customers, providing them with a preview of what they can expect when they travel. Also, VR can help you save time and costs because you can work remotely without having to be physically there to showcase a destination.
Creating VR Video content is not that difficult. All you need is a current iPhone and a 360 camera app like the “360 Panorama app by Occipital, Inc” (available at the App Store or directly from Occipital for $1.99). Simply download the $2 app and you have turned your iPhone into a 360 camera capable of taking VR worthy 360 content. It is super easy to use. Of course, there are dozens of 360 camera apps for every smart phone out there.
Using a smart phone with a 360 app will get you going in the VR world, but if you see VR as a tool you want to use in your business you should purchase a stand alone 360 camera. Since their introduction well over a decade ago, todays 360 cameras are inexpensive and extremely powerful while being super easy to use.
Creating your VR content from 360 camera content is also extremely easy. You simply use video editing programs such as Adobe’s Premier Pro and import your 360 content for editing. The editing process is very similar to editing regular video but when exported it is ready to be viewed in a Virtual Reality headset.
Try Artificial Intelligence
Gone are the days when Artificial Intelligence (AI) is only seen in science fiction movies! Now, you can utilize AI in your daily life as a Travel Professional, and help make your tasks easier. For instance, if you have a Facebook business page or Website you may use AI chatbots to help you provide instant customer support and answer common questions, freeing up your time and allowing you to focus on more complex tasks. Furthermore, AI can analyze data and market trends to predict future prices for flights and hotels, helping you to optimize pricing and increase sales.
If your website is built with WordPress, there are dozens of chatbot plugins so that you can take advantage of AI. There are also several companies that are in the business of selling chatbots, normally on a month to month basis. Many travel companies have integrated AI into their functionality. Kayak, Trip Advisor, Hopper, Sabre, IH, Smarter Travel and Hyatt are all examples of AI applications in the travel industry.
Content creation is another great AI application that a travel professional can use to generate content for their website and social media platform. AI content creators are known as “AI Essay Writers”. These AI tools are fantastic for creating blog posts, social media content, writing ebooks and so much more. They all contain an algorithm that guarantees that the content created by AI Essay Writers is completely unique content and that nothing has been plagiarized. While there are a ton of them out there (just Google “AI Essay Writers”), there is one that I would suggest you to try for free. Go to essaygenius.ai and create your first essay. It is super easy and you will not believe the results. While virtually all AI Essay Writers have a free version, it is best to find the one that you like best and subscribe to it.
Utilize Voice Search Optimization
With the rising use of Alexa, Siri, Google Home and other smart devices, you must include voice search to your marketing strategy as a Travel Professional. If you are not yet familiar, voice search is a technology that allows you to search the internet or perform other tasks on a device using your voice instead of keyboarding. Voice Search changes the syntax of a search as compared to a keyboard driven textual search. Voice search strings are generally more specific and longer than textual search keywords and unless your content is optimized for voice search, you run the risk that your content may not be delivered in a voice search result.
Think about the way that you use your smart devices. Just about everyone will ask a specific question that might go something like this “Find me a pet friendly, 2-bedroom rental within 2 miles of XX”. The long tail keyword string you would want on your website might be “We offer a pet friendly, 2-bedroom rental within easy walking distance of XX” You can see how voice search requires several long tail keyword strings in order to place in the top results in voice search queries.
A great way to find good long tail keyword strings is to use Google’s search tool. Simply put your main keywords and Google will suggest 10 long tail search strings. If one, or more look appropriate, don’t hesitate to use it. Voice search optimization is all about conversational long tail key words.
Personalize Your Marketing Strategy
Being personal is still one of the most important trends in the travel industry. Personalized marketing is about being familiar with your audience, and speaking to a specific group of people. You may divide your audiences into specific groups based on their demographics, behavior, interests, and preferences. By understanding these factors, you can change your marketing campaigns that are more likely to appeal to potential customers and improve their chances of making a sale. For example, through email marketing you can send a specific email to a specific age group like Bucket List Travel for the older generations while you may send an email about Workations to working millennials who love to explore and work at the same time. Since you personalized your marketing strategy, it is much easier to target the ideal audience that you would like to talk to. Be sure to set up your CRM so that you can identify as many elements as possible. Also, do not forget to use a quality email server so that you can use the recipients first name and location right in the email itself.
Knowing the latest marketing trends, helps you attract and retain customers, increase revenue, and establish brand awareness. Try these trends out and see what works for your business.