The value of a web site for a travel professional is real. Many continue to operate without a web site and even if they have one, without due consideration for basic design and marketing principles. However, consumers expect business operators to have a web site and the real question is more often the role the website will play in the overall marketing plan of the travel agency. An ASTA report titled Technology & Website Usage revealed some travel professionals using a Facebook page in lieu of a website indicating a degree of confusion about the role of both a Facebook page and a website in a marketing strategy. It's worthwhile to again consider the role of a website in marketing your travel practice.
People have always shared their travel dreams and adventures with others. Early on, travel magazines, brochures, home movie projectors and Polaroids were the media of choice. Now, the game has gone digital, but the themes are largely the same: “I love to travel and I know you do too. Where should I go next? What should I do? What should I see?”
In fact, travel appears to be one of the six most discussed topics on social media. This tells us if we do our marketing well we can generate thousands, even hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic followers, evangelists all. Of course, if we do it poorly we can spend a lot of money and time only to decide marketing doesn’t work.
A web site is a great marketing tool for your travel agency – if anyone can find it. Let's discuss how to drive traffic to your site and how to properly cross pollinate with your other marketing efforts, combine it with a bit of search engine marketing and throw in some good social media techniques as well. Soon, you will be driving more high quality traffic to your website and getting a better return from your website investment.
Travel professionals choosing to use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to market pretty quickly learn what works in their favor and what does not. I am more often hearing success stories from travel consultants who are finding social media an excellent way to stay “top of mind” with their clients. Unfortunately, I am also seeing an increasing number of posts many in the social media world would deem socially unacceptable.
In many ways, Thanksgiving is the greatest of holidays, a reminder of the debt of gratitude we owe to everyone and everything around us. It is always tempting to magnify our losses and minimize the ordinary, daily miracle. We long for big, outrageous fortunes and forget the small, mundane but truly astonishing gifts. One day of the year, however, is a reminder to contemplate the undeniably interdependent nature of our existence.
Everything is connected. Not one of us is truly "self-made." We don't have to look far to find people and institutions deserving of our thanks. Every success we enjoy, every small achievement, is the result of an interplay of grace and circumstance.
The relationship between you and your clients reflects the temperament of your travel practice. The more open you are, the more easily you encounter your clients and the more gracefully you carry your industry knowledge, the better your relationships. The travel professionals with the happiest clients did not win their approval with pricing or vague notions of customer service, but with the power of a relationship.
It is important to your digital marketing plan to consider incorporating a blog into your travel agency’s website. However, with so many blogs vying for attention, you need to take steps to ensure your blog will stand out and speak with an authority that captures the attention of your readership. As a professional travel consultant, you have a real expertise on a topic of interest to the public. The key to delivering blogging articles that truly engage readers and eliciting comments from them is to generate content that is lively, unexpected and fresh. Making sure that your blog is communicating on both an intellectual and an emotional level will keep your audience returning to your blog for new information.
Deliver original content to your readers and avoid hashing over the same materials that every travel blog covers. “Original” doesn’t mean that the topic has never been discussed, it simply means that you relate the topic directly to your readership in a way that provides them with new insight into the importance of the topic to them. For example, if you discuss how to safeguard a passport when traveling internationally, don’t just lay out “the facts” – infuse the article with a personal anecdote that happened to you or to a client. Use your “voice” to establish a rapport with your readers. Relate to them in an original way. Importantly, it is this original content having the greatest impact on Search Engine Optimization which is what makes your agency more visible on Google and other search engines.
I once had a travel professional take me to task because I provided them with an article in USA Today which also contained advertising for other travel programs. That would never do, she assured me, because like so many other papers and magazines, USA Today was “filled with travel advertising.” Likewise, many agents will not link to travel articles that include the contact information of hotels or tour operators.
I believe many travel professionals sometimes work with an over-broadly image of their competition because they have failed to properly define their customer base and their proper relationship to their clients. To these few, the landscape is filled with competition. This perspective is informed by the idea that the travel consultant is “selling” travel. That is what Travelocity does, just as suppliers do. They sell travel with few frills, often based on price alone.
Wondering how you might get more engagement to your Facebook social media postings? As an experiment, Voyager spent $20 to boost the posting below to a Facebook audience of people who:
Greetings from the Voyager Support team!
We wanted to do a quick update on some new features for your Voyager Websites and Social Media Manager.
1. New Content - Did you know we are continually adding new content to our existing Content Library categories? Weekly, new content is added and you can use it to freshen up your website and for social media postings.
2. Video - We are now adding video to your social media feeds, if you participate in the Social Media Manager program, and the response has been excellent.