By Chantal India, on 7 December 2021
When was the last time you went more than a few hours without checking your phone? Whether it's a message from WhatsApp, your favorite brand’s latest tweet, or breaking news from your favorite digital newspaper, as consumers, we want to make sure we aren't missing out on a single thing that’s happening in the world.
While this offers incredible opportunities for marketing, it also makes it that much more difficult to create a connection with your target audience.
Social networks are where your potential clients are open to listening and seeing anything to do with travel, and the travel and tourism market is the fourth most followed on social media.
This is why we are sharing this practical travel marketing guide.
A New Consumer Profile: The Multi-Traveler
The first thing we need to realize is that conventional segmentation strategies may not be so useful when advertising to the travel market on social media. Travelers these days want as much variety as possible in their travel experiences.
One minute, they may be looking for a backpacking adventure through Norway to spot the Northern lights, and the next, a resort for a romantic getaway in Paris.
That's why you need to be careful when filtering data for your campaigns.
You should know how long in advance different kinds of trips are planned, and how to cross this information with your users' behavior patterns. By doing this, you will know how to offer them exactly what they need, when they need it.
3 New Online Traveling Patterns
Although travelers may be looking for a range of different experiences, they have important characteristics in common. Use these 3 behavior patterns to help direct your social ads campaigns for this market.
1.“Lowxury”—The Affordable Luxury
Low-cost traveling, which boomed during the economic crisis, left its mark on the travel industry. "Lowxury" refers to a significant portion of travelers who aren't content with the bare minimum, but also don't want to empty their pockets. They want luxury experiences for affordable prices.
2. The Technology Revolution
Today, travelers are more connected than ever before. They share their experiences in real-time with their networks. They also know that they have a whole world of options to choose from, and want to make the best choices they can when it comes to their trips. So, they are constantly researching options from different devices.
3. Reviews Are Everything
When it comes to researching destinations and travel options, other travelers’ opinions are extremely influential.
All kinds of review websites and mobile apps have popped up over the past few years. Years ago, travelers made decisions based on word of mouth, magazine recommendations, or travel agencies. In today's world, the consumer holds the power.
Different businesses in the travel industry (hotels, excursion agencies, restaurants, landmarks, etc.) are increasingly more concerned with travelers’ opinions and reviews, paying more attention than ever before to ensure the customer has a memorable experience.
Businesses can capitalize on this trend in social media campaigns by encouraging satisfied users to leave positive reviews.
4 Winning Techniques for Travel Marketing on Social Media
1. Multimedia Content Marketing
The travel sector can benefit heavily from content marketing. Users enjoy sharing interesting lists about monuments, must-see places in cities, or the best places to eat. To make the most of this trend, use social media to promote your content and attract users to your website.
2. Social Selling
Social media has evolved to become a space for direct selling. Both Facebook and Twitter have introduced a “Purchase” button for users to make purchases directly from the platform on whatever device they are using.
This is a great opportunity for brands in the travel industry to improve their conversion rates.
3. Social Ads
For your social ads campaigns to be successful, you should use these ads wisely so that you can stand out in an endless sea of advertising.
Every day, over 500 million tweets and 300,000 photos a minute are shared on Twitter and Facebook, respectively, meaning your images, copy and segmentation choices have to work together to make your ad stand out as much as possible.
4. Travel Communities
To triumph in the travel sector with advertising on social media, you shouldn't forget all of the communities designed especially for travelers. The possibilities are endless–from families interested in traveling with kids to backpackers, you can find communities for a range of destinations and budgets.
Communities are also a great way to keep in touch with your potential users and build a relationship based on trust. Instagram and Facebook are the networks with the most potential to share videos, content, and images.
The Best Social Media Channels for Travel Marketing
Social media has become an essential part of most companies' marketing strategies, especially if they are in the travel industry. When advertising in this industry, inspiring, motivating, and gaining your users’ trust is incredibly important. In fact, it is one of the most important tools in travel marketing.
Why Should Your Travel Brand Be on Social Media?
You may be asking yourself if investing in social is worth the effort. The answer is yes! Part of being a marketer in the modern world is being exactly where your audiences are. Social networks give you a priceless and unique opportunity to place yourself at the forefront of your users' minds.
The majority of consumers trust earned media above any other form of advertising. Earned media is user-generated content, rooted in real experiences and opinions, that users value greatly. According to a study by TurnTo Networks, 90% of consumers say that user-generated content holds more influence over their buying decisions than promotional emails and even search engine results. Social networks are unique platforms because they allow your audience to publicly engage and interact with your brand.
Travelers are not impulse-buyers. They investigate almost all aspects of their journey before deciding what to book. The process involves choosing a destination, a means of transport, accommodation, duration, and activities. It's important to stick with them every step of the way to be able to stand out when they decide to make a booking.
So, let’s take a look at exactly how each of these social media channels can help with advertising in the travel industry.
Facebook: The Social Media Giant
Zuckerberg’s network is a force to be reckoned with. According to 2021 data, Facebook has 2.89 billion monthly active users. That's 37% of the world’s population! This means that no matter what kind of audience you are reaching out to, you are bound to find at least some of them there.
Travel and tourism play a very large role in the Facebook world. According to the Social Times, 52% of users admitted to dreaming about vacations and traveling when on Facebook (without even having any trips planned), and 76% of social media users post vacation-related status updates and photos. It is a great place to make people fall in love with your pictures and brand, and encourage them to share these components with their friends. 52% of users also said their friends’ photos inspired their travel plans.
Facebook has another significant advantage for travel companies that shouldn't be overlooked: the ability to leave official reviews based on a user's experiences. Once you have created a Facebook page for your brand, be sure to invest in organic reviews and content in addition to paid advertising. Connect with people who have already bought your product or service and watch your community and sales grow. According to Smart Insights, 80% of people are more likely to book a trip from a company “liked” by a friend than through a conventional Facebook ad.
Don’t worry about receiving some negative feedback–as counterintuitive as it may seem, it can actually help you to an extent. It gives your page and reviews more credibility, showing that they come from real customers' opinions and are not being spun by the brand. In fact, according to Hospitalitynet.org, customers who see negative reviews are significantly more engaged and likely to purchase–spending 5 times longer searching for information on the website. Just make sure to address the issue straight away by responding to the user's review apologizing and politely explaining the situation.
Twitter: Timing Is Everything
Twitter is the platform people go to stay up to date with everything that happens in the world. It is about as real-time as it gets. As advertisers, we can use this to our advantage. While it may not be as visual and dreamy as other social media platforms, it is a place where people go to learn and communicate, and is considered a professional, trustworthy source.
It is where people will talk about the amazing (or terrible!) time they are having in a hotel or on a train. This is important because according to Social Insight’s study, 51% of people said that Twitter content influenced their consideration of a travel brand. What your users tweet about you matters. Travelers are 44% more likely to learn about a new travel brand on Twitter than on other social networks, so make sure your presence in the Twitterverse is known!
There are also tools you can use to help you create real-time ads that insert dynamic fields like product price and imagery information into your tweets. With these, your tweets will dynamically change to match any current pricing information. Historically, dynamically priced ads have been able to double conversion rates.
Instagram: Dazzle Users With Your Images
Instagram is a visual and creative platform with 1 billion monthly active users globally. SocialMediaToday has proved that 48% of users rely on Instagram to find a new travel destination.
It is also a great tool to promote your brand and services through user-generated content. You can prompt and encourage user-generated content by initiating contests and giveaways and asking users to post their content using specific hashtags you have created.
With the right budget, you can also get in touch with Instagram influencers and get them on board with making your brand known among their devoted followers. Bear in mind that people are on Instagram to be swept off their feet by content and imagery. Be sure to inspire your followers rather than advertise to them!
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the incredible potential travel marketing has to boost your brand! It can be quite overwhelming, so feel free to reach out if you need a hand.
The Top 5 Travel Marketing Trends to Succeed
Every day there are new technologies, gadgets, and tools being launched. Most of them seem to go just as quickly as they came, leaving us wondering which ones are here to stay and which are just hype.
1. The Three Most Important Ingredients: Mobile, Mobile, and Mobile
Mobile is no longer a “marketing trend” – it has become an intrinsical and vital part of our everyday lives. Mobile internet access has taken over desktop access and shows no signs of slowing down. According to Statista, 90% of Internet users use smartphones to go online. In the travel industry, 700 million people will be booking their hotel rooms online by 2023.
Whether it’s to research a destination, make a booking or connect with a brand and leave a review, there is no denying the importance of travel brands needing to be mobile. This goes far beyond just having a website optimized for mobile, however. A user’s digital experience with your brand has to be easy, intuitive, responsive, and fluid. What’s more, users spend 89% of their time using mobile apps as opposed to mobile websites– meaning that if your brand does not yet have an app, it is the time to launch it!
2. Content Marketing: Out with Outbound, and In with the Inbound
Marketing for the travel and tourism industry has become less about selling, and more about inspiring users. People want to be swept off their feet by the beauty, incredulity, and adventure of a destination. Enter Content Marketing–the marketing of the future. The truth is that travelers aren't impulse buyers; they will do thorough research before picking a destination. Offer people what they want to know and see, and show them how your product or service relates to that need and can help them achieve their goal.
Whether it’s through writing inspiring blog articles about travel destinations, or posting breathtakingly stunning photographs–make your goal to draw users in rather than pushing yourself on them.
Take Renfe-SNCF en Coopération, for example. In an effort to promote its high-speed train routes that link top destinations in Spain and France, they invested in a Content Marketing strategy. Each month, they publish articles on their blog that tell users about the incredible things they can do in the cities they travel to. Currently, the Content Advertising campaigns contribute to around 20% of their total website visits and 85% of those are new users who discover the brand every month.
High-quality photography also plays a very important role in the travel world–there are few things that will inspire users more than an amazing photograph of a destination they are dreaming of.
The best part is that you don’t even have to take the photo yourself! Try launching contests or giveaways on social media for the best images and photos of certain topics or destinations, use a hashtag, and let the magic unfold! Not only will you be promoting your brand and generating buzz, but at the end, you can award the winner and feature their stunning pictures on your account and on your website.
3. In Social Media We Trust
Social Networks are a great place for you to reach out to your users and for them to engage with you. By having them add you as a friend, follower, or fan, you are guaranteeing your brand a spot in their daily lives. How you use it and take advantage of it, is up to you. Whatever your social marketing strategy may be, be sure to engage with your users, and let them know that you are there for them! Creating social media contests or giveaways, games, or other interactive activities will not only strengthen your relationship with your current users but will also create buzz around your brand.
It is also a great place to make the most of User Generated Content. 92% of consumers trust earned media more than any other forms of advertising–and with all the scams out there, who can blame them?
4. Reviews = Bookings
The hard truth is that positive reviews from real people are almost as important as competitive pricing. According to a poll carried out by Webcredible, when the time comes to make an online booking, 29% of users consider positive online reviews to be the most likely influencer, compared to 38% of consumers who consider it to be prices and special offers or promotions. What this means is that if you are looking for a way to boost your sales without reducing your prices, investing some time and effort into building a user review log can significantly improve your conversions. And that’s not all: positive reviews can also significantly increase the amount of time people spend on your website.
User reviews are something you should definitely be encouraging, and the great thing is that achieving this isn't hard: 76% of travelers share their experiences through social networks and consider them an extremely reliable source of information. In fact, 49% say they consider travel reviews to be the “most useful” source of information when planning a trip.
Remember that bad reviews are not necessarily bad for your business–arguably, they can be positive (to a certain extent)! Some bad reviews give your website a lot more credibility, and your reaction to these reviews is an opportunity to show users how you will treat, help and take care of them when something goes wrong. Just be sure to answer them and do your best to rectify the situation.
5. Personalization: Each Customer Is Unique, Treat Them as Such!
Let’s face it–the amount of information and content on the internet is overwhelming, and it becomes easy to ignore information simply because it is too much to take in. This makes it imperative to tailor advertising and marketing to the individual consumer. The “one size fits all” approach is a thing of the past.
Whether it is through email marketing, retargeting, promoting related content, or highly segmented campaigns, the digital age offers endless possibilities for automation. Use personalization to let your users know that you are there for them, that you know them, and that you have made something especially for them.
The digital marketing trends of today offer unique opportunities to see the world through your users' eyes–leaving you with endless possibilities to connect with them and provide them with exactly what they need when they need it.