The travel industry is worth billions; it promises excellent returns for anyone who can penetrate the market. But becoming a successful travel agent is no picnic.
There are so many travel agencies and websites online that standing out enough to gain a solid array of clients is a considerable challenge. You stand a better chance if you employ the right marketing tools to your advantage.
According to research, social media is currently one of the best avenues for converting curious consumers into paying travelers. Furthermore, social word-of-mouth has a major impact on potential clients’ travel decisions.
About 92 percent say they trust word-of-mouth and online recommendations from friends and family beyond all other types of marketing. In addition, 52 percent affirmed that they changed holiday travel plans based on travel-related posts they encountered on Facebook.
These numbers clearly indicate the advantages of using social media for travel marketing. If you want to see the benefits of social networks first-hand in your business, here are some tips you might try.
- Post content that potential clients actually want to see
People won’t follow a link to your blog or website if you haven’t caught their attention immediately with something that speaks to their plans or desires. Travel tips, budgeting suggestions, top travel destinations, current trending keywords, and other travel-related content are always of significant interest to travelers and can be used to spread the word about your services.
For a great example of this, consider this review site that has a strong emphasis on travel. The owners have published several blog posts on finance tips and credit card ideas for travelers. That kind of content can be incredibly appealing to wanderers who are hoping to save a little on the side.
- Engage as often as possible with followers and fans
This tip follows naturally from the preceding one. Maintaining social media accounts and posting a little content now and then isn’t going to be enough to gather a strong social following that will convert.
You’ll also need someone to monitor engagement on a fairly continual basis. You might even reach out to customers with special offers and FAQs through messaging apps.
To do this, you might have to outsource your social media management to a freelancer who can post regularly on your behalf and make certain that consumers who reach out are answered in a timely manner.
- Manage your accounts proficiently
Management will require constant attention and a few tools. Buffer, Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and IFTTT are a few of the many tools that will enable you to control all your social accounts in one place with a variety of analytics tools. The goal is to make your engagement with current and potential clients more meaningful.
- Make your posts irresistible to scrollers
If you don’t do this, people who are accustomed to the daily exercise of Facebook scrolling, when many news and commercial posts flash by, won’t stop for yours. Irresistible travel posts can be achieved first and foremost through the use of excellent images or a video of a hot travel destination.
A cleverly worded caption for each of your chosen images will help to attract leads. As a great example of this, look at Expedia’s Facebook page. The social content there sparkles with images and enticing captions that make the company’s posts almost irresistible for people who surf the Web.
- Use current events and hot spots to fill your content
You can never go wrong with trending content. Every year, sites such as Travelocity publish pieces about the hottest destinations of the year. You’ll also want to create and promote your own list of hot travel destinations, based on the experiences of past clients.
Use this information and other analytics to create blog posts, videos, and other intriguing content with which to fill your social sites. This is a solid way to attract organic search traffic.
- Host tempting social media contests
You’ve seen these on social media because they work. Travel agents constantly offer free trips or discounted airline tickets in an effort to spread brand awareness and attract more customers.
When you’re starting out, you might not be able to offer an all-expenses paid trip in your contest or sweepstakes, though that can be the quickest way to raise brand awareness. But perhaps you can offer something like a discount on airfare, a free night in a hotel, or another small perk that would make a trip more enticing for a prospective client.
- Encourage and use client-generated content
If you get clients, that means they’re headed for a trip. Their testimonials and photographs can add tremendous value to your business.
As mentioned above, word of mouth is by far the most effective form of marketing. Your clients will not only make other people yearn to travel, but they’ll also make them interested in doing business with you. It’s a potential win-win for lead generation, brand awareness, and conversions.