Looking for local marketing tips to capture the attention of travelers who are within reach at the moment?
Local travel is expected to pick up first, making it likely that local travelers and travelers from within a country’s travel bubble will be cautiously exploring what is on their doorstep before venturing out further.
Many tour operators and travel companies are responding and developing new products to appeal to this demand. Of course, once your brand-new, expertly tailored local offerings are ready to be launched, the next step is to put the word out about them.
Here are five tips for marketing your product and brand to a local audience looking to travel closer to home. Consider that every action underpinning your strategy should build trust with travelers and develop their confidence in your abilities to lead a safe and enjoyable experience.
Five Local Marketing For Travel Companies To Try
1. Refresh Your Website
Before you begin marketing, take a critical look at your website. How do you think your potential clients feel when they use it?
An attractive-looking, easy-to-use, and professional website is simply a must for travel companies, especially now that the pandemic has sped up digital adoption.
Your site serves many functions, one of the most important being an online window to your business. It is a crucial part of your digital presence – one which your clients will definitely turn to while they get to know you and before they make a booking.
Aside from the usual markers for a great user experience, your website should contain information such as:
- Location-specific COVID-19 updates for your area
- Safety measures you are taking to protect your clients and team
- Details of your flexible booking policies and insurance on offer to put clients at ease
- Listings of your new product offerings, including service pages and blog posts
Your site should also be ready to take traveler bookings directly.
Alternatively, you can offer online booking links so travelers can still book directly and in their own time.
Owning the booking stage puts you in control of the money coming in, eliminating possibly hefty OTA commissions at a time when every cent counts.
With all of this in place, you will be ready to welcome visitors to your site and make a great impression. Now you can kick off your local marketing efforts to attract travelers and highlight your new and exciting offerings.
2. Engage On Your Social Media Channels
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, are places where you can share stories, videos, photos, blog posts, press releases, promotions, hold competitions, and more to capture the attention of your local audience.
Publish your new and visually appealing marketing materials on your social channels to earn shares, likes, comments, and views, all of which broaden your reach online and help you build rapport with potential clients.
Use Calls To Action to drive your audience to perform a specific function. It could be to contact you, direct them to your website, sign up to become part of your social community, or take another action that brings them one step closer to becoming a loyal customer.
If you want to achieve quicker results from your social channels, it could be an idea to go the advertising route. On Facebook, it is possible to closely target people who might be your ideal customer, potentially landing you the opportunity to build relationships, generate leads, and even secure bookings.
We recently hosted a webinar on this very topic – Facebook Marketing. Our speaker, Chris Torres, ran through real examples and shared actionable tips on what is working right now for travel companies advertising during the pandemic.
3. Get Intentional With Local SEO
Another aspect of local marketing is to research keywords that travelers might use to search for tours or travel products such as yours that are close by.
Often, local keywords include words or phrases such as 'best' or 'near me,' for example, 'best cycle tours;' 'national parks near me.'
They can also include geographical places and service names, for example, ‘Costa Rica birding tours;' 'student trips to Orlando.'
Once you have come up with a list of the keywords to target, it is time to put these to use. Take your pick of options to:
- Create service pages on your website that use these words to detail your offering
- Incorporate the keywords into blog posts on your website
- Use these keywords in your paid advertising campaigns
Note that it can take a while for your Google indexed service pages and blog posts to rank highly on the SERPs. If you are pressed to appear on the first page right away, it might be worth looking into paid advertising.
A potential trick up your sleeve and way to meet the algorithm is to ensure that you have set up and optimized your Google My Business profile. Done correctly, your travel company will appear in Maps, the all-important 3-pack, and Google's Knowledge Graph, also known as the Knowledge Box.
To do this, you need to claim your profile, enter your company information such as an address, list of services, operation times, phone number, and link your website.
Also, encourage your past clients to leave you Google reviews, collect relevant backlinks from other local websites, and add a few images to your profile.
All of these actions tell Google that your business is trustworthy. It also helps travelers find you based on your proximity and relevance.
4. Seek Out PR and Local Advertising Opportunities
It is a good idea to scope out local marketing opportunities, both on- and offline, within your community. That way, you can pick up business from visitors already in the area or who haven't explicitly made up their mind yet about what to do on their trip.
You can get valuable press by connecting with local journalists for a feature on your new tour package. Alternatively, advertise in relevant local publications or leave your information with the nearest tourist board.
Another idea is to tap into your local business partner network. Drop off brochures for them to hand out to clients who walk in their door, ask them to link to your website, or create package deals that benefit you both. This will give your marketing a wider reach and act as a great lead generation tool for your business.
5. Go Straight To The Inbox With Email Marketing
Email marketing cuts through the noise to reach travelers directly on the channel where they want to hear from you.
If you have taken the time to build a list, you should have taken the time to segment it. Bring up your list of travelers who are locally based, nearby, or even reside in the state. Craft a great email campaign, personalize your messaging, and you may be able to spark up interest this way.
Each time you market to a new customer cohort, there are different strategies to master in order to reach them. These five local marketing tips should help to set you up on the path to success.
As with any marketing efforts, it is best to try out a few different methods and actively measure the results. This way, you will know what is and isn’t working for your travel business.