By Chloe Parker
With the popularity of travel on the rise again following the pandemic, many travel companies are looking to up their marketing game to make sure they’re at the forefront of everyone’s holiday planning.
If this sounds like you, you might be wondering what you can do to help you stand out within the marketplace.
We’ve pulled together some insights on what travel companies should be thinking about within their marketing for the year ahead.
1. Plan your marketing well in advance
Over the last five years, Google Trends reports that searches for the term “flights” sees peaks around the following months:
As such, it’s not surprising that many travel companies plan their big sales and offers around these times. When going abroad, travellers will often spend time extensively researching holidays and deals, and this usually happens well in advance of when they actually want to travel. In fact, over 28% of people in the UK book their main holiday 7 to 12 months ahead of travel. With that in mind, it’s important for travel companies to consider this and plan their marketing ahead to get in front of these people.
However, people are researching trips all the time, so you should also consider an ‘always on’ approach to your marketing. This means that your company will always be visible during critical search times and you are also considered when it comes to that moment of purchase.
AB’s takeaway travel marketing tip:
Before you launch your next campaign, conduct some research into keywords around your desired travel topic. Look into what people are searching for by considering using words such as ‘when, can, what, how, why and where’ in front of the term you’re aiming your content at.
Consider how you could phrase your content slightly differently; for example, could you target keywords with lower competition and lower search volumes? Whilst these different phrases or keywords with lower search volumes may seem to go against what you’re trying to achieve, targeting terms with lower competition and search volumes stands you in better stead of featuring at the top of the page.
Try taking a look at https://answerthepublic.com/ as a starting point.
2. Consider those added extras
Having had two years of travel and holidays being impacted, many people are desperate to escape abroad in 2022. However, The Guardian recently reported that the number of scams and fraud related to flight bookings has increased 13% compared to 2021, meaning that this increase in demand is being taken advantage of.
We’re also now seeing the aftereffects of Covid-19 and job losses, with flights around the world being cancelled yet again, but this time due to staff shortages. So, it’s no surprise consumers are spending even more time researching holidays and now also heavily considering extra holiday protection to ensure they are covered should anything impact their time away.
Whilst holiday protection is unlikely to be the starting point in a holiday decision, having this as an option could be a deal breaker for those searching for holidays now. It’s important to consider what protection and reassurance you can offer your customers within your messaging, but also within your imagery and content outside of your main campaigns.
AB’s takeaway travel marketing tip:
Consider what you can offer your customers to give you that additional edge in influencing a customer that will ultimately lead to a conversion. Incorporating subtle nods to protection within your marketing messaging, whether that’s ATOL or ABTA protection, free cancellation, insurance as part of the package, or even just linking to your Covid-19 policies so customers can have peace of mind knowing what to expect if they encounter any issues when travelling.
3. Prioritise video content
Video is everywhere, so if you’re not using video in your marketing, it’s time to start.
It is becoming easier for marketers to create engaging video content. You no longer need lots of expensive equipment to incorporate video into your marketing strategy, and immersing prospective customers into your offering via video is a much stronger way to connect with them than traditional still images.
The great thing about video too is that it can be used across all your marketing channels. For starters – Google loves video, and we have seen it place higher importance on videos affecting your search rank in recent years, especially if it’s uploaded to YouTube. From here you can incorporate videos into your responsive display ads or repurpose the content for Instagram Reels. The possibilities are endless!
AB’s takeaway travel marketing tips when working with video:
- Don’t be put off by video and take that leap of faith into incorporating it into your strategy – it’s not as scary as you think. But make sure you have figured out what you want from video too.
- Brief your video content for the ad first and then adapt per platform – this helps you understand what is needed from your ad. For example, if you’re planning to use your video in a YouTube ad, you may brief in a six second clip with a logo on for a bumper ad, rather than having to adapt it at the end to fit the platforms you’ve decided to advertise on. This then helps it to fit into the campaign naturally rather than feeling like an add on to the campaign.
- Whilst we mentioned it’s becoming easier for marketers to get involved and create video content themselves, if you require a video for a big campaign or important brand messaging it’s always worth investing in working with a professional company to help you do this.
- Optimise, optimise, optimise! Don’t forget to write those interesting titles and descriptions for SEO, and if embedding into your website, make sure you incorporate the content into written copy too!
- Finally – accessibility. Think about your audience and who will be watching. Do you need SRT (Subrip – which is supported by Youtube) or burned in captions? What font do you need? What colours are used in your video? Check out the full principles in detail here: https://www.accessibilityoz.com/factsheets/video/video-factsheet/
4. Use social media platforms that are right for your needs
Leading on nicely from video content is that age old question: should I be on TikTok?
If you’ve found yourself asking this, it might be time to turn the question around and instead ask: is TikTok right for me and my business?
While the power of TikTok for paid advertising should not be underestimated, there are a few things to consider before deciding if this is the platform for you:
- What is your targeting strategy? Currently TikTok only allows you to target the whole of the UK and not specific locations, so if you’re a small regional travel company who wants to target a local audience, then this is not likely to be the paid ad platform for you.
- What age is your target audience? TikTok is more popular with the younger generations.
- Is video your main content strategy? The sky is the limit when it comes to creating video on TikTok.
AB’s takeaway travel marketing tip:
While TikTok is a fantastic platform that makes it easy to share content that can help promote authenticity (for example, sneak peeks or employee insights), there are other platforms out there that will offer you the same opportunity to a more relevant audience base.
Just make sure you ask yourself if you have the time, working capacity and content to keep up with the demands of yet another channel before jumping on the TikTok bandwagon.
Remember, the marketing world is an ever-changing landscape and there are always new platforms popping up. However, just because they’re there, it doesn’t mean you have to use them.
We love trying new channels with our clients, but the first thing we always recommend asking is: what am I trying to achieve with this channel? If it aligns with your marketing objectives, then amazing, we can’t wait to work with you and help you thrive on this new platform. However, if you just want to use it because it’s another way to get in front of people, but it doesn’t fit your ongoing strategy, then we recommend re-looking at what you’re already using and strengthening these platforms.
If you’d like to have a chat with us about your marketing strategy and platforms you’re advertising on, get in touch by emailing [email protected] and a member of our wonderful team will be in touch!