When you think of travel brands, what comes to mind? Luxury hotels and resorts? Adventure companies promising the trip of a lifetime?
Whatever your first association is, it's no secret that marketing a travel industry brand can be tricky. Word of mouth testimonials go a long way, but in an increasingly digital age, it’s critical that your travel brand have a solid marketing strategy, too.
There is so much competition in the travel business, and many customers are limiting travel or budgeting more fervently due to the pandemic and economic downturn. As a result, it can be hard to know how can you make sure your travel brand stands out from the rest. In this blog post, we'll give you some tips and tricks on how to market your travel brand effectively.
Figure out who your target audience is
Pinpointing your target audience is an important marketing tool and will have a major impact on the success or failure of your travel marketing plan. Understanding who is most likely to buy your product or service will allow you to adjust and tailor your message, images, and content to that specific audience.
To identify who exactly your target audience is, start by thinking about who benefits most from your product or service. Learn what age group, income level, occupation, cultural background, and interests may best fit your offering. It can also be helpful to think of a few ideal customer profiles—these are people from your target demographic that you feel would benefit the most from using your specific product or service.
Then, research even more to gain deeper insight into the characteristics shared by them. Use all this data to create personas for each of these customers that you can refer back to when crafting marketing materials and plans in order to reach the right group of potential purchasers.
Creating a target audience will be different for different types of travel companies. For instance, travel agents who operate solo may be seeking a unique subset of the market, while travel agencies may go more broad with their search.
Influencers are looking for different market segmentation than hotels, and tour operators may have an entirely different goal for their brand awareness campaigns. Be realistic about the sorts of traffic you’re seeking from your tourism marketing efforts and you’re much more likely to be successful.
Do some research on what kind of marketing strategies have worked well for other travel brands
Although there are many different marketing strategies used for successful travel brands, some of the most common ones featured include utilizing a mix of social media platforms, creating content that is engaging and informative, developing powerful visuals, and committing to a consistent email marketing strategy.
Use your content marketing to highlight the travel experiences customers can expect when they choose your brand, and be sure to have pieces of content that will appeal at all stages of the customer journey.
Taking the time to research what others in your specific subset of the travel industry have done well in their marketing strategies can be incredibly useful when planning out your own. By engaging with customers online and staying up-to-date on current trends, you can create an effective strategy that increases outreach and strengthens brand loyalty.
Researching these strategies can give you new ideas on how to best promote your travel brand and open up entirely new possibilities in the process.
Be sure to use analytics and metrics to your advantage. Search engines like Google give you up-to-date analytics on your site traffic, and this real-time data can inform the success of your marketing plans. Other digital marketing apps help you with everything from templates for blog articles to SEO to social media marketing, and some are low-cost. Deploy automation in your marketing strategies whenever possible, using chatbots and notifications to keep response times short and your workload lower.
Decide on a budget for your marketing campaign
Deciding on a budget for your marketing campaign can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. To get started, you need to consider what types of marketing methods you're interested in and then assess the associated costs. It's important to factor in all costs, as some marketing strategies may require additional resources (like hiring a photographer to do a styled shoot on your property, or subscribing to some high-end automation apps and SEO platforms, like HubSpot, MeetEdgar, and SEMRush).
Doing this research beforehand will ensure that you don't exceed your budget down the line. Additionally, having a set budget will motivate you to strive for cost efficiency throughout your entire campaign.
Create a plan that includes various marketing channels, such as social media, email, and paid advertising
When creating a marketing plan, it is important to utilize multiple channels to reach the desired audience. In addition to traditional outlets such as print advertising, billboards and radio ads, modern strategies such as social media, email campaigns and even paid advertising should be incorporated.
Social media helps to engage customers in a more personal way while email campaigns can target specific markets with discounts or special offers. Working with influencers may be an appropriate strategy for your brand.
Listing your property or service on TripAdvisor or the major OTAs, like Expedia, can be a good way for startups to gain traction. You can use the testimonials customers are leaving on these review sites on your own site to highlight your travel products.
Content marketing is an important aspect of digital marketing for travel brands. As marketing ideas go, content offers tremendous flexibility, allowing for an enhanced user experience on your web pages and the ability to provide everything from itineraries to travel plans to storytelling about what you offer. If you work with other providers (like if you’re a hotel that helps guests get car rentals), you can link out to their site (and vice versa) for enhanced search engine optimization and better site traffic.
Finally, paid advertising allows companies to expand their reach further by using targeted tactics like sponsored posts or display ads that reach a wide range of potential customers. Combining these components together can create an effective marketing strategy for any business.
Implement your plan and track the results to see what's working and what's not
Developing and implementing a digital marketing plan is the first step, but understanding how that plan is working out is just as important. Tracking results provides essential data that can help you identify which aspects of your plan are working, as well as which ones could use some improvement.
Making changes to your plan as necessary will help ensure it's as successful as possible. Take the time to review your progress and make sure you're getting the results you want - it will be worth it in the end!