Digital marketing has marked its presence in almost all sectors. People are literally living in the digital world. When the digital tide came, it swept away everything with it. And of course, how could the travel industry be not hit by it.
Since the trend is changing and travellers are relying more on the digital platforms, of course, the travel agencies had to change their pitch. And if taken positively, every change is for the good.
The way that the travel marketers interact with the travellers has dramatically changed over the past few years. And this has opened doors to many opportunities to expand their brands in many ways.
Unlike earlier, travel marketers can reach out to travel enthusiasts and satisfy their wanderlust quench from any part of the world. Isn’t this amazing? While earlier you were limited to a particular area, now you have the entire globe at your disposal. Reach out to as many travellers as you want.
All thanks to, life practically shifting online and all the digital marketing techniques that help you expand indefinitely.
Today I am going to list down all about the digital toolkit that every travel marketer should have in 2020.
Like I said earlier, even the travel industry was swept away in the digital tide. So, when we plan to travel or take a vacation, we do not open the maps and find locations. We open the browser, look for travel agencies and dive through the packages they have to offer.
So, practically, we decide to travel, we search about destinations, plan out everything and finally book it. All done online.
Like I say in all my blogs, the customer is everything. If your customer is online, you cannot be sleeping in your brick and mortar outlet. You need to brush up your skills and drop the digital bomb to clear up space for you and establish your brand.
Ok, that was a little too much. Just get online and include the digital toolkit in your strategies. But here comes the challenge. You will not be the sole player online. There will be millions out there to compete you. So, you really need to play smart and stand out from others. Establish your identity and spread your brand awareness, in a better way than what others are already doing.
So here is everything that a….
The travel industry can be challenging sometimes. You need to give lots and lots of inspirations and some extraordinary reasons for the seekers to travel to any destinations and take your deal. To add to the challenges you have to beat what everyone is doing on the social media platforms.
When we talk about digital marketing, you need to be really prompt and updated with all the latest trends if you wish to defeat your online competitors. Now the first question that troubles your mind may be – ‘Why travel marketing is important?’
Doesn’t matter if it is online or offline, marketing is an integral part of any business. No marketing, no business. Well, this rule applies to the digital world as well and probably hits a little harder too. For instance, it is not necessary that every person visiting your social media page or your website is looking to buy any deal.
According to the numbers:
* 55% of the travellers planning for a leisure trip only go on vacation, once or twice in a year. But they spend a lot of time online planning for these trips.
* 37% of travellers think about a weekly trip, several times in a month.
* Two-thirds of the travellers between the age group of 18-34 believe that before deciding about any destination, “Instagramability” of that place plays an important role.
* 71% of US travellers plan their holidays online.
* 79% of them do online shopping for the trip.
* 83% book their vacations online.
These numbers are just the beginning and are soon going to shoot up in the near future. I guess, you now understand why having a strong digital presence is important for travel marketers.
Next question is how to do that? Now, there is a difference between, just following the trends in the market and picking up the trends that suit your niche and build your way up. Do not just follow, analyse and understand properly what will be best for you and then implement it.
Keep reading and you will learn all about the digital toolkit.
1. Digital Destination with Artificial Intelligence:
Majority of the digital budget is taken up by the media plans, dividend between social media, paid promotions, online travel agent, videos, paid search, etc. If I talk about the strategies used in Northern America, they are moving way technologically advanced.
With the coming of Connected TV, which shows the fusion of traditional TV and video on demand, marketing ways have completely changed. With the help of the CTV, identifying the customers interested in your niche has become very effective and efficient.
By superimposing the destination visitor data and doing a segmentation analysis, you can actually get to know in great detail, which of your visitor has already visited which destinations. This helps you to plan, whom you have to attract to the destinations you want to sell and what to offer to the other customers. It was predicted that the budget spent on CTV will be up by 70% by 2019.
Using this technology, not only saves your budget from being spent where it is not required but also provides you with a very filtered data of where and what you should focus on.
Obviously AI is an integral part of this toolkit. With the help of artificial intelligence, you can easily understand who is the real audience you should target on, with the right activities and packages. Keep your message personalised and based on the nature, behaviour, interests, etc of the area you are focusing on. This audience segmentation with the help of AI, allows you to narrow down the niche activity and be only where you are supposed to be.
With this level of accuracy, of course, your engagement and conversion will multiply. I mean sell candies only to the ones who are interested and not force it on someone who wants to buy cookies instead.
2. Role of Virtual Reality:
If there is artificial intelligence, adding a little virtual reality will do no harm. Though there is a huge debate regarding including virtual reality into the travel industry will be beneficial or completely tear down the industry.
Questions like “Will travelling completely become virtual?” are being raised. Well, people can have different opinions about this. But personally, I feel that if it becomes virtual, what is the whole point of travelling?
You travel to take a break, get out of your daily routine, experience new places. Doing it virtually will only give you a virtual experience and not the real one. So, according to me travelling should not be completely virtual.
But then again, there are two sides of a coin. You can definitely use this technology to your advantage. How? By giving a virtual tour of the destination your client is interested in. If they have a glimpse of the place they want to visit, it will be easier for them to decide.
Imagine you take your client on a virtual tour of Switzerland, with beautiful snow-covered land everywhere. And next, you take them into the middle of the African Jungles, closely observing nature and wildlife. I mean this will be an amazing experience for them and what more? They can easily decide if they want to enjoy the snow or the adventures in African jungles.
3. Video Visions:
Ok, AI and VR can be a little too technical and also out of the budget for some. So the next thing that you can or rather should do is play around with videos. And when I say videos, I am talking about real authentic videos.
Everyone knows that beaches are beautiful and have tides hitting the shore with a mesmerising view. So don’t capture what everyone knows. Show them something that they don’t know. What lies beyond the beaches. Use the obvious part as a backdrop, not the main content.
Make creative, interesting and inspiring videos about the destinations you want to sell. Looking at the video your audience should be fully convinced that they want to visit this place no matter what.
Another thing that is really helpful, when it comes to videos is posted by peers – ‘real people with real experience’. Or in other words, post testimonials. Testimonial videos are more genuine, authentic and people feel connected with them rather than the picturesque view you want to show.
According to the numbers, 89% of the millennial’s travel decisions are based on the videos posted by their peers. User-generated content plays an important role and has a higher impact on the audience.
But this does not mean your social media pages are overstocked with such videos. This might seem a little fake. Include promotional videos like ‘How to’ videos or ‘What to do’ videos in your video calendar as well.
In short, your video content should be creative and attention grabber. Because social media is nothing without great content. Make sure you show what your audience is interested in seeing.
4. Creative Content:
Like I said in the above point, everyone knows what a beach looks like. So how much more creative you can get with this? I mean you cannot do about much about how any destination looks right? It is going to be all about the ubiquitous sweeping panoramic shots.
Well, not necessarily. You can add interesting stories about the destination in your content. Do some hard work, dig in a little deeper and talk about the unexplored places of that destination. Tell your audience about the culture, the food, share about a famous place for dining out or take a little adventure. You can add details of popular hotels, budget hotels, hotels best for couples or family. Add maps in your content.
In short, it has to be something different from what everyone else is doing and still be creative enough to make your jaw drop open. Think beyond normal content, think about creating interactive stories.
And, of course, whether it is a video, a post or simple blog content, do not forget to add a call to action. Provide all the relevant information about what the viewer has to do if he wishes to go further with the bookings.
5. Ensure Mobile Presence:
Your digital presence is equally important on all devices including the mobiles. Since the majority of the viewers are moving to the smaller screen, you need to make sure your presence is equally active on all types of mobile devices.
It is imperative that your website is responsive. If you can go for a mobile application that is supported both by Android and iOS all the better. Keep a cross-platform marketing approach.
Again, you need to be different. Mobile devices have limited space so you need to give a strong reason for the user to keep your app or bookmark your site over others.
Last but not least, the most basic and important part of a travel marketer’s digital toolkit is the stronghold on your digital platforms. Whatever you go forward with, AI, VR, Video, etc it has to immaculate and up to the mark. When you really understand your audience you will not have to put in a lot of effort or go an extra mile. Your content will reflect it.
Once they see what interests them, they will automatically go up the next step of conversion. Do not forget to keep a hawk-eye on the analytics. Because that is what is going to show which strategy is working. Mend all the loopholes that can drive away from the customer just before booking.
Plan your strategies keeping the toolkit in mind and you can thank me later when you start seeing a rise in your conversion. If you want to learn more about how to convert your leads and what best digital marketing practices you should use to take your business to another level, visit DigiHunts Academy and have a look at the course we have to offer.