Since the dawn of the Internet, people have been gradually changing the way they shop for vacations.
Fewer people visit travel agencies now, choosing to assemble their own vacations by buying the different elements separately. This helps them get the best price, and also to read and share reviews of vacation experiences. It means that consumers are more informed than ever before.Of course, there's still a place for travel firms that build the vacation for customers -- but, again, the web has changed the market and they have to compete online if they're going to compete at all.Having worked on many travel search campaigns during the last few years, here are 10 top online marketing tips for the travel sector.
1. Plan Your Paid Search Budget Well
Many companies simply split their paid search budget into 12 pieces and market evenly throughout the year.
Travel is a different area, though, and the web-based traffic isn't equal throughout the different months. You need to manage your budget carefully so that you have more to spend during the summer, particularly at the start of the year when people are planning and booking their trips -- plus you may get some late opportunities in August when you can scoop up last minute bookings.
2. Don't Settle for the Sale Alone, Build Relationships
People value their vacations and they want to know they can trust the company they book with not to go out of business, send them somewhere unpleasant, or gouge them for every extra.
So if you've delivered great travel service, stay in touch with your customers. Send them e-mail offers, welcome their feedback, and remind them to book again the following year.
Chances are that if you served them well once, they will book with you again.
3. Invite Reviews
Again, the web allows people to read more about their specific travel destination than ever before -- and they will search for reviews.
Don't risk losing them from your site before the sale because they go looking for a review elsewhere. Give them what they want. Encourage satisfied customers to post a review of their trip on your site so new customers will be able to book with confidence.
4. Let People Share Content
It's not just reviews that get people coming back to your site. Why not encourage happy travelers to leave photographs to inspire future customers?
You could run competitions for the best travel picture each season and award a prize (perhaps a small discount on their next trip).
Photographs will build a sense of community on a site, encouraging repeat visits and inspiring new customers.
5. Run a Travel Blog
There are some enormously successful travel blogs out there and I've used a few in my time for travel inspiration. They are also great for your organic optimization.
Travel content containing lists and photos always works incredibly well to generate social media traffic and natural links. Here are some sites that will all help inspire a sense of possibility and excitement in your clients: