It’s all fun and games for the holidaymaker, but for the marketers behind the world’s biggest travel companies, holidays are serious business -- and digital is more important than ever.
Unfortunately, it can also be a minefield of new channels and old tricks. That’s why cruise companies, holiday comparison sites, and tour providers come to us with a variety of questions about their digital marketing strategy.
Here are 5 of the questions we get asked a lot, along with the answers we give to them:
1. I’ve been given a bad TripAdvisor review -- what can I do about it?
The internet has levelled the playing field. We know longer simply broadcast our marketing message to customers, we engage them in conversation and they talk to each other about us too.
Unfortunately, we don’t always like what they have to say but with the help of a good digital marketing agency, a bad review doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
It’s impossible to please everybody, but it’s not impossible to reach out to them and try to repair the relationship. In web communities like TripAdvisor, the response to a bad review can become good PR.
In some instances however, it might be possible to get the review removed altogether if they do not adhere to TripAdvisor guidelines. This is something we’ve done for all of our travel clients in the past.
2. How can I promote my brand through social media?
If the web allows us to join a global conversation with our stakeholders and peers, social media is one of the best ways to be heard.
Like TripAdvisor, it should be used be used as a customer satisfaction tools and positive or negative comments about your brand can be responded to in a constructive way. But social can also be used as a valuable broadcast or publishing tool.
All of the major networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have paid posting models which can be used to reach extremely targeted audiences. Using original imagery and especially video, you can ramp up the viral potential of your content and encourage users to share it on your behalf.
Find your brand’s USP (unique social potential) and then find your audience.
3. Where should I spend my marketing budget?
There are so many way to promote your business online, it can be tricky to know which channels are right for you.
Attribution modelling is the process of giving value to each channel in your marketing mix, so you can decide which are worth the money and which are using budget which could be reallocated elsewhere to ensure a better return.
Depending on your business and your target audience, you may benefit from greater focus on organic search, or PPC. Your call to action might be better served by programmatic display advertising (highly targeted banner ads), or you could clean up via social media.
The key is to analyse all traffic sources to your company site and assess the value of each aspect of the campaign.
4. How can I get more bookings through our site?
You can drive as much traffic to your site as you want, but if the site isn’t set up to provide a positive user experience, you won’t generate as much business as possible.
Conversion rate optimisation, or CRO, is the process of improving the sites ability to convert, with better calls to action, simpler functionality and shorter load times.
Another major aspect of CRO is mobile optimisation. More people are booking holidays on their smartphones than ever before and if your site doesn’t look good on that phone screen, these potential customers won’t convert.
As if that wasn’t enough, websites which aren’t mobile friendly are set to lose out in Google rankings, so mobile isn’t just a conversion issue, it’s a search issue too.
5. When will I rank for the term ‘holiday’?
The travel industry is amongst the most competitive in search and typically, the first page of search results for generic terms like ‘holidays’, ‘cruises’ or ‘flights’ are dominated by the biggest global brands.
Challenger brands stand the best chance of organic visibility through longer tail phrases which reference specific resorts, countries, and holiday types. How do you do that? With content!
You could create a network of landing pages for each destination, each excursion, each holiday package. Keyword inclusion is as important as it ever was but content can’t simply be chains of words. It has to have meaning, but more than that it has to be useful to the user.
That’s what Google’s trying to do: put the most useful information in front of people. If you’re a useful resource, you should enjoy visibility in search.