It’s no secret, digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your clients and prospects.
It has taken off exponentially in the last year. Technology became one of the lifelines for many travel businesses during the pandemic, albeit within different contexts.
A digital approach to marketing has proven to be a great advantage in a time when everything is technologically motivated.
That is why we dedicated a series of blog posts to guide travel companies on their quest to build a digital presence.
But, often, with opportunity comes a learning curve.
To keep you ahead of it, we have created a list of five common digital marketing challenges you may encounter in your travel business.
On top of that, we have added a few solutions to help you avoid or overcome them.
Five Common Digital Marketing Challenges Travel Companies Face
1. Differentiate Your Brand
As a travel company, you may find your business is getting lost in the sea of others like it. This is where your unique selling point, or USP, can help to separate you from the crowd.
Having a USP will not only strengthen your digital marketing efforts but also highlight your unique attributes as a business.
Yes, you offer multi-day tours in Costa Rica to small groups. But, what exactly makes your trips, in particular, so great?
Is it your focus on sustainability in every stage of the customer journey?
Or could it be that you have done the research and designed a life-changing tour especially for millennial travelers?
Work out what it is that your clients are going to love about your product or business the most.
Then, put this message at the forefront of your marketing and every touchpoint travelers have with you.
Spelling it out makes the decision that much easier for the clients you want to attract.
Ultimately, they are searching through a busy marketplace that offers a variety of different price points. If your USP jumps out and aligns with their values, it places you in better stead of securing a booking over your competition.
2. Use Technology and Automation To Full Potential
There are many great marketing tools and bits of technology that can streamline aspects of your travel company.
One of the marketing challenges businesses face is not using these to their full potential, subsequently letting competitors get ahead.
For example, do you have automated email or social media campaigns set up?
Do you have an instant online customer chat service where people can contact you and receive immediate feedback to their queries, either from a person or chatbot?
Do you have a comprehensive website that accepts online bookings that travelers can complete themselves?
As much as possible, embrace what technology can do for your business.
Automate where you can through tools and platforms such as MailChimp, HootSuite, ZenDesk, WeTravel, a CRM; and use these to improve your customer service.
The data you collect when using technology will give you fresh ways to reach travelers, personalize interactions, and make your mark in the industry.
3. Keep An Eye On Your Online Reputation
Google your ‘ business name + reviews,’ and you might be met by both positive and negative opinions.
The reality is you can’t win over everyone, but you should continuously monitor what is being said about you online. You will then have some control over the consequences of the interaction.
Your online reputation can have a massive impact on whether or not travelers engage with your travel company.
Many people first look to (Google) reviews before visiting a business. That is why forgetting to manage your online reputation can be one of the fatal digital marketing challenges you encounter.
The challenge here comes in monitoring what is said about you on the internet and then responding correctly. Leave one or two bad reviews unanswered, and it may end up dropping you out of the runnings to win over a client.
The best way to meet this challenge is to understand where people are mentioning your name.
Just as travelers do, Google your name. Monitor your social media channels, own your review profiles, and scan the SERPs.
It is also possible to set up Google Alerts. The service will send you a notification if someone mentions your name online, although it is not 100% foolproof.
If you do pick up a less than ideal mention, respond as fairly and diplomatically as possible. You can ask the person to contact you privately to resolve the issue – the point is to acknowledge the concern publicly and show that you are taking steps to address it.
4. Get The Most From Google My Business
Many businesses are unaware of how useful having a Google My Business Listing can be.
Owning your listing and optimizing it can keep your business on top of the search engines, especially in the context of Local SEO.
You can appear in the Local 3-pack, on Maps, and across Google’s suite of services, including the SERPs.
In short, optimize your listing correctly, and you can reach travelers who are searching for exactly what you do in precisely your area.
As far as digital marketing challenges go, knowing what to optimize can be the tricky part.
Start by claiming your listing. You will have to verify it and add all your standard contact details, including phone number, address, website, working hours, and so on.
Next, write up a business description using keywords that your potential clients might use. Then, don’t forget to add images and video to your listing, all the while building on your review profile.
Lastly, encourage other local businesses in your network to create backlinks to your website. All of this tells Google that your business is relevant, in proximity, and authoritative to the people searching your keywords, essentially boosting your SEO.
5. Stay On Top Of Social Media
Your social media channels have the potential to build conversational avenues between your travel company and existing or potential clients.
However, these platforms can be difficult to navigate as engaging a community is both time-consuming and algorithm-driven. The trick is to use the profiles in small but effective ways.
First, choose which platforms will best serve your marketing efforts through consistent and regular publishing.
Second, make sure the content you are posting speaks to your brand and USP, is visually appealing, and encourages engagement.
If you’re committed to utilizing social media platforms for online marketing, try getting micro-influencers or travel partners to promote your brand.
Putting your product in front of their network gives you extra reach so you can grow your customer base and build trust around your company and its services.
As you can see, many of these digital marketing challenges can be overcome with simple solutions.
A guaranteed benefit for your travel company is investing in technologies and software that will feed into your customer-centric goals. Focus on personalizing your clients’ experience and keeping them satisfied through digital convenience.
As long as your company is pursuing a strong and consistent online presence, your travelers will have a better chance of finding you. Keep monitoring your company’s online reputation so you can control your public image and build long-lasting relationships with present and future customers.