[Beginner - 105] Creating Your Travel Agency's Online Marketing Plan

With the emergence of the digital age and the switch from traditional marketing means to online marketing, the travel industry has been forced to compete fiercely for online booking opportunities. However, because attracting customers using a great online travel agency marketing strategy can yield profits and build customer relationships, a marketing strategy is well worth the time and costs.

In order to create a travel agency marketing plan that appeals to customers and increases a travel agency’s return on investment (ROI), a travel agency needs to know its niche and target market, and how to plan around that. For help on putting together a great marketing plan for your travel agency, refer to the following tips:

Personalize Your Website, Content, and Services

If you want to draw attention to your travel agency, then creating a unique persona is essential. Doing something different than what’s already being done, and creating a website, content, and services that are unique and personalized is the first step. You can make your travel agency stand out by offering personalized services, one-on-one customer interaction, and unique recommendations.

Use Social Media

It today’s digital world, the importance of social media should never be underestimated. If you’re not already using Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you need to start today. Social media can give you a huge business advantage by connecting you to more people than ever before. Plus, social media provides you with a forum to share content, promotions, information, and more about your travel agency.

Create Great Content

The truth is, if your website isn’t loaded with great content, then it’s not going to generate the traffic that it needs to make your travel agency successful. Not only does content need to be interesting, original, creative, informative, personal, and engaging to be great, but it also needs to be well-written. If you’re not comfortable in your writing skills, consider hiring a copywriter to create high-quality content for you, or take some time to improve your writing skills.

Rely on Reviews

Review websites, like Yelp or Google+ Local, are great for building up your reputation online. If you’re not on a review site, it’s time to be. As you start out, make an effort to reply to both negative and positive reviews – showing your customers that you’re willing to listen and care about what they’re saying can greatly improve your customer relationships, and can be monumental in growing your customer base.

Have an Awesome Website

While content is king, a great website on which the content is featured is pretty important, too. A great website will be easy on the eyes, simple to navigate, provide a unique and interesting design, and will load text/images/videos quickly. A great website – and great formatting – will also make use of different fonts and text styles, headers, great graphics, and an interesting layout.

As part of your website, make sure that your business information is listed on each and every page. At the bottom of each website page, contact information – including phone number, email address, and address – should be listed.

Go Mobile

With more and more people relying on smartphones and tablets rather than desktop or laptop computers to access websites, having a site that’s mobile friendly is extremely important. Your travel agency has two options for going mobile. First, you can create a mobile-optimized site, which means that when your site is loaded on a smartphone or tablet, a smaller, simpler version of your regular website will appear. Or, you can consider creating an app for your business. An app usually provides a more personalized user experience, and can be beneficial in that regard. However, creating an app takes a lot of work, and is more expensive that creating a mobile-optimized version of your site.

Blog, Blog, Blog

You’re a travel agency, which means that people want to hear about your experiencing traveling, planning trips, the ins and outs of finding the best deals, and more. As such, your field of business has an obligation to the consumer to share knowledge and insights. The best way to do so? Blogging. Through blogging, you can highlight personal experiences, talk about different customer interactions, tell stories, make lists of great places, provide tips for traveling in comfort, and more. A blog serves as a great way to hook in your audience, as well as advertise your own personal skills and travel know-how. Again, if you’re not comfortable in your writing, make sure to practice, and always have someone edit for you before posting.

Use Images and Videos

While you may be able to tell a great story about your hike to Ushguli, the highest inhabited village in all of Europe where you were exposed to a language that’s known by less than 80,000 people in the world and milked a cow, nothing tells it quite like a photo. Or, better yet, a video. People love to see pictures, and often skip the text in a blog to focus on images alone. As such, make sure you don’t deny your audience the value of photography, and always choose great photos or videos to accompany your blogs and other pieces of website content.   

Set Goals, Monitor, and Improve Your Travel Agency Marketing Plan

As you begin to put in place your online travel agency marketing plan, you’ll probably start to notice a change in your business. After some time has passed, you’ll begin to start collecting data on what really makes your audience tick. Are the blogs that tell a story receiving the most attention? Do people prefer “top five…” style lists? Is your app getting a lot of downloads? Are you getting very little response to your social media efforts? Have you received any negative reviews – if so, what about? All of these things are aspects of your travel agency marketing plan that should be assessed and analyzed. After doing so, appropriate changes should be implemented. For example, if one style of blog is completely dominating over the other, then you should considering adding another similar post type each week. Or, if your followers on Twitter are numerous, but Facebook hasn’t been nearly as advantageous, you should think about re adjusting your social media strategy.