Travel is exciting. There are days of adventure, and once in a lifetime experiences waiting around every corner. The element of the unknown means there’s a lot for travelers to discover.
As a tour operator, you are uniquely positioned to help them do just that. With first-hand working knowledge of the industry, you no doubt have some great stories and travel experience to share with the world. The place to do this is on your company’s travel blog.
There are many advantages to keeping up a regular blog, all of which ultimately lead to giving you a better opportunity to connect with potential as well as your existing clients.
Here’s the why and how of it.
Why Tour Operators Should Keep Up A Travel Blog
Connect With Existing Clients
Your existing clients are extremely valuable. You’ve already put in the time to attract them to your tour operator business and wowed them with your unbelievable travel offering. So the last thing you want to do is to let this relationship fall to the side.
Two reasons. The first being that these travelers already know how great your tour is, and may decide to return for another trip in the future. In terms of maximizing your ROI on advertising and marketing spend, this is the ideal scenario.
Secondly, they become your brand advocates. They’ll let their circle of friends and family know about the great time they had on their trip, as well as leave positive reviews on your website and review profiles. All of these reassure the next traveler of your ability to lead a great tour. Furthermore, you’re not spending anything on reaching the people in this circle – it’s all word of mouth.
So, where does your travel blog fit into all of this?
Well, it’s a tool to stay connected. Publish valuable content that travelers want to read, and you’ll stay forefront of their minds. Sure, you can reach out via email with the occasional new offering or discount promo, but this method of marketing, known as inbound marketing, adds a whole lot of value to their lives.
And what are you publishing exactly? Interesting travel guides, informative how-to lists, entertaining tales from your tour guides. Content that’s not a hard sell.
Reach New Clients
In the same way that you can entertain, inspire, and add value to existing clients, you can do it for travelers who don’t yet know about your travel company or tour offering.
This approach requires that you have a travel blog strategy to reach them.
To start with, you need to identify who these new clients are. Who are the people that you think would have an amazing time on your tour, but they just don’t know about you yet?
Next, you need to consider how are they searching for tours like yours online?
It’s at this point that you need to do some keyword research for search engine optimization (SEO). Quite simply, it’s putting yourself in these people’s shoes, and narrowing down the language they enter into the search bar to discover travel inspiration, whether it’s something specific they have in mind or just broad research.
As an example, if you’re an educational tour operator specializing in leading tours to Boston, your top keywords are going to be along the lines of educational field trips in Boston. Meaning, this search term is what parents or school officials enter into search engines to look for the type of tour that you offer.
Keyword research is infinitely more complex than this, but the short of it is that with a thought out approach to how your potential clients search for your particular service online, you can reach them through the content you publish.
Taking your keyword research and putting it action means writing a blog post and optimizing it for SEO around the keywords you have identified.
Again, SEO is complex, so we won’t go into too much detail on this. What you do need to know is that regularly publishing content optimized around the terms travelers use to search your tours gives you the chance to get your business out in front of them.
You should also know that even though SEO is a valuable traffic driver for your website, the content you write will ultimately be read by people. Therefore, it needs to be interesting and engaging, without being stuffed with keywords.
How To Use Your Blog To Reach Travelers
Unfortunately, writing and publishing content onto your travel blog doesn’t mean that it’s going to be read. People aren’t going to jump onto your website to check on what you have published recently.
Similarly, ranking your optimized blog posts on Google can also take a long time. Depending on the competition you face, there’s also no guarantee that you will make it to the number one spot or even the first page for that matter.
The crux of it is that you have to promote your content to support your efforts.
Channels that you can share your content across include email, social media, on your local tourism industry websites, promote it with travel bloggers or influencers, on the website of one of your travel partners – there are many ways to distribute the blog posts that you write.
Use a Call To Action
Writing, publishing, and sharing content on your travel blog is great. However, you need to include some sort of call to action (CTA) to encourage the person reading it to do something other than close the page once they are finished reading.
It could be to get in contact with your company, find out more about a tour, sign up to receive your email newsletter, click for a discount – an incentive along those lines.
Delight your readers. As long as you add value to their lives, they will keep coming back for more. You no doubt have a lot of competition online, so make sure you are entertaining, engaging, and providing value to the people who you want to attract to your tour business.