Travel is an industry of contradiction – it’s equally the most wonderful and challenging thing to market. Everyone in the world loves to travel, wants to travel and dreams about travel. Easy job, right? But travellers are overwhelmed by so many prospects and more information than they can process.. And there’s a growing number of regular folks out there who believe they can make their own travel arrangements, with their Internet connections and willing credit cards.
The challenge for the trade
One thing we don’t need is the archaic thinking and methods of some travel professionals who still believe it’s them versus the world, inadvertently sabotaging our collective efforts. Travel marketing needs to ruffle their feathers of innovation and move decisively into the future. So you’ve got these fabulous products to sell and here’s the challenge: the journey you take from your raw product to becoming a traveller’s first or preferred choice of travel brand.
The road towards tourism marketing success starts with a quest to produce, present and promote the right content. Lucky for us, the traveller is a glutton for good content.
At the risk of sounding like a parrot, is your content built around the traveller? Your research needs to be on point. Identify who your client is, what they want, like and dislike. It’s an opportunity to personalise those offerings and match with the traveller’s bucket list experiences. Produce the experience, then produce the content that touches the traveller on an emotional level.
Understanding the digital imperative throughout the travel buyer experience means your business practices and travel products must evolve as travellers evolve.
Take advantage of some impressive tech innovations making waves in the trade – the right travel technology can help you address the traveller’s needs better with apps and integrations.
Real-time messaging, like the feature offered by Umapped extends that personal attention from travel professional to traveller.
Your content has to be relatable and authentic to make a solid connection between your product and the prospective client. Tell the story the traveller wants to live!
The discourse is about moving your audience, inspiring them, seducing them, and of course, educating them.
Your content needs more than a pretty face, it also needs substance. So be mindful of the content you source – it needs to be a vivid, sensory onslaught. Your preferred suppliers are best-placed to give it to you. Communicate and collaborate with them – get them on board your mission to win travellers’ hearts. It’s content that inspires the sale.
Use the best available content to showcase your product and feed the need:
- photographic works of art instill trust
- 360° images and virtual tours
- high definition, full-screen imagery
- accommodation, destination and activity videos
- concise, descriptive text in the client’s own language
Visual imagery is too important in the story-telling of your experiences to do halfheartedly. It’s the fabric that clothes the product you wish to sell, that your client wishes to purchase. So dress it well.
Some people still love paper, but the tide is turning strongly in favour of digital. Hence my parroting on about the importance of a mobile strategy. By now it’s a given that everything must be mobile-friendly with a user-friendly web presence. Here’s a frightening statistic: according to Amadeus, 20% of Australian tourism providers have no website. That’s travel business suicide..
67% of smartphone users said they were more likely to purchase from a business’ mobile friendly site, while 61% said they’d most likely leave a site that wasn’t optimised for mobile.
Tourism Research Australia
Judge your website and its competency from the traveller’s perspective, and invest in an objective review of your site by a reputable web designer.
Your brand lives here – you’d better believe travellers will judge a book by its cover.. and how well it reads on their mobile device.🧐
It doesn’t end there. The traveller expects you to follow through with technology that makes travel buying easier and more convenient. People are keen to consume travel content in innovative, novel ways.
Virtual travel is already part of our reality. Travel previews just got more vivid.
How do you deliver your content? Does it address client expectation? Is it user-friendly and efficient at servicing re-sellers and end-users? Travellers want to see what they’re going to experience. As you present the experience, consider the questions foremost in their minds.
I want to know what I’ll be seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and learning..
I want to access this info quickly, easily, anywhere, at any time. I have special interests and I’m price-conscious. I prefer to book immediately and directly as soon as I’ve found an offering matching my bucket list experience – it must have a secure, easily navigable payment facility and provide immediate booking confirmation.
A beautiful digital presentation with access simplified by clicking a hyperlink, says about a brand: count on us to keep pace with changes in the travel trade. Trust us not to spam you with overloaded emails and reams of paper with grainy, outdated images.
We won’t leave you guessing, waste your time and force you to research destinations yourself.
Nope, we’re invested in covering all the bases and servicing all your needs.
We’ll consider your tech savvy sensibilities and present your travel details, maps and docs on a handy itinerary app.
We know experiential travel is here to stay and that technology forms part of the experience. It’s our job to make the puzzle pieces of your journey fit together and connect it with you.
The way to a traveller’s heart is through their stomach. Just kidding. Content feeds the traveller’s imagination and promoting it is the final push towards travel marketing. Here’s where digital distribution really shines, especially given that everyone’s got a smartphone and they’re very busy on them. FOMO has the world in a tight grip on social media and travellers are watching closely..
Make your content visible on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and whichever other social sharing sites your target groups frequent. Manage your own account and post links to your presentations for the world to view, follow and share.
Social Media is one of the most successful ways to market your travel services, with more than 50% of direct bookings coming from social media accounts.
Try linking your content to staff email signatures and promote your product content at lightening speed with minimal effort. Assuming it’s mobile-friendly, that means every single prospective travel consumer accessing your content can comfortably view your offerings online on their digital device, wherever they are in the world. The sales potential is mind-boggling.
The spin-off from having a social media presence is that you can actively engage both existing and prospective clients who happen to be shopping around. The latter will read and potentially be swayed by reviews written by the former.
92% of consumers say they trust earned media, such as social media, word of mouth, recommendation from friends & family, above all forms of advertising.
It’s an opportunity to do any necessary damage control and to acknowledge positive reviews from satisfied clients. Bonus: supplement your consumer data with the feedback you get and keep that happy wheel of personalisation turning. It amounts to real-time relationship marketing that keeps happy clients returning and referring.
Promote your brand as one that values the views of travellers by inviting their recommendations, and give them pride of place as the hero of your experience.
Like any good puzzle, this is a fun, multifaceted one to assemble. The Law of Attraction suggests that what we put out into the Universe comes back to us. Produce, present and promote content you’re passionate about and proud to share with the world – your content will bring the world to you.