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Jul 03, 2018

Digital Marketing in Travel and Tourism Industry

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Digital Marketing in Travel and Tourism Industry

There is no doubt that Digital Marketing is used by so many businesses of different industries and has proven its worth in delivering many more leads to them. And of course, more leads mean more business, and more business means more profit. The travel industry is no different and has adapted well to the realm of the digital world to increase their brands' awareness and be able to reach more possible customers as much as they could.

The internet has revolutionized how we consume information and communicate with others. Recent advances in 360-degree photography, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, as well as the rise of travel and food blogs, have completely changed how we approach travel.


With the Internet, travel deals and offers can now reach more potential travelers than traditional marketing could do. In this article, we will tackle Digital Marketing in the Travel Industry and how this industry made use of Digital Marketing’s prowess in delivering more business.

The Travel and Tourism Industry

Traveling in this age is truly different from way back then. Do you remember when you were a kid, your parents once planned a family trip somewhere but instead of getting all hyped up for the trip, you see them all stressed out and tired from all the things to do beforehand? Truly, the digital world flipped the table and made everything so easy that you can settle things with just a few clicks.

In the advent of today’s digital age, the importance of Digital Marketing for businesses has grown and the travel industry did not let this opportunity slip away. By going online, the travel business agencies can now implement different activities to make them known, reach a lot of people all over the world and tell them exclusive offers and post ads that will make every person watching want to head out and start planning for a getaway. Truly, the influence of Digital Marketing transcends borders which allowed the travel sector to entice people from all over the world to the different places they can visit.


The travel and tourism industry is undeniably one of the first that was affected as the world migrated to digitalization. The competition was all about coming up with the best strategy and utilizing it to make a successful trip and worthwhile experience for all their patrons. The better they do it, the more loyal patrons they can have and the more the profit increases. But of course, Digital Marketing does not only stop at making sure travelers can have the best pre-trip experience, it also covers in-flight and destination marketing. Digital Marketing is a guide for travelers to get the best of their travel experience.


Digital Marketing in Travel and Tourism Industry

Why the need to make use of Digital Marketing


This is something that could easily be answered just by looking at the person beside you on the bus, by looking up in the middle of the streets, or by simply looking around you. If you do, you will see the person beside you holding a gadget, as you look up you see LED billboards and as you look around, you see people getting more engaged with the digital world each and every day.


Real results from various statistics have shown that a majority of businesses in the Travel and Tourism industry are doing much better than those that don't. A recent report showed that there are currently 3.2 Billion smartphone users all over the world, which is around 50% of the world population. Just imagine getting the attention of these people and letting them see your travel deals. Isn’t this a great number to kick-start everything?

Here are several reasons why the Travel and Tourism Industry should make use of Digital Marketing.

#1 Information Transfer at the Click of a Button

Unlike the early days, when there were no tangible or quick ways to share information worldwide. With the advent of social media, sharing information around the world has become much easier. Travel and tourism information can now be accessed by everyone using various social media tools. Planning a trip has become simpler, but informed decisions have also been made thanks to it. Many tour companies also benefit from that because they can better understand their customers.

#2 Increasing Customer Engagement

Engaging with customers has never been easier. You can get in touch with them no matter where they are in the world. You can learn about what your customers expect even before they utilize your services, you can engage with them during the service duration and after the service as well. Happy and well taken care of customers will later become returning customers and will tell others about you.

#3 Sharing personal experience

Travel reviews are being generated, consumed, and shared on social media at a rapid pace. It is easy to post reviews of hotels, restaurants, or other travel destinations with tools like Facebook reviews or Google Business. In the travel industry, especially, feedback like these can make or break a business. Travel businesses, whether they're hotels or agencies, need to handle online reviews with great care and take steps to improve their services. It is not a game that you can opt out of because if you don't play, your competition will gain a significant advantage.

#4 New and efficient marketing channels

Tourism marketing used to take the form of word-of-mouth, TV commercials, car ads, etc. With the rise of the Internet, we now ask Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines "where is the best place to travel?". As a result, it is only fair that people in the travel industry invest in SEO and SEM techniques to get their website on the first page of search results. Getting your products and services in front of as many visitors as possible could boost the number of new customers. For many businesses, Search Engines' search ranking plays a critical role in their success.

Digital marketing gives businesses the chance to start advertising with a much smaller budget. Digital marketing provides much more accurate user information and behavior tracking with the ability to continually optimize marketing campaigns in real-time. Furthermore, many travel agencies and companies can now reach a global audience, which they were not able to do before.

#5 Usage of Social Media to communicate

Unlike before, you can now handle customer queries faster and more personally through the use of social media. This does not only include answering queries, but you can supply information even before they ask. Through the use of social media, you can upload ads of different good places to visit and show potential customers your exclusive travel deals. When you do, you are actually helping your customers gain more travel ideas.

Posts in social media contain reviews and comments from travelers who have already visited the featured place. Through their comments and reviews, you can also gain a lot from the exchange of information. The good feedbacks are testimonials for your services and constructive critics can help you to further improve your service quality and serve future customers much better.

#6 Growing number of experience-hungry consumers

Traveling has never been easier and cheaper in human history. Distant lands that could be seen only in movies can now be reached within hours of flight. More and more people are traveling to discover other cultures and to see things that they have never seen before, and to have the experience of their lifetime. Have you heard of vlogs and live-streaming? The advancement in technology has made it possible to record and show the real experience of real travelers in real-time. People can now stay in their bedrooms and watch a guy eating Pho in Vietnam or doing Bungee jumping in Canada and that inspires them to go and immerse themselves in the experience.

#7 Use Data to create a personalized travel experience

Digital Marketing and Digital tools, in general, allow you to better collect and analyze your data. With a streamlined channel, you can collect all the customers interact with you through the sales pipeline and the service duration. The collected data can be analyzed to allow you to offer a personalized experience for your customers on a larger scale as well as identify patterns that could negatively affect your services. You will then be able to understand your customers better and give them what they are truly seeking for their next travel getaway.

#8 Simple bookings and instant transactions

No longer did we have to wait several days for a hotel or travel agency to respond to our inquiry about room availability. Now users can easily search through a number of properties, applying specific criteria to make sure the search results match what they're looking for. Travelers can read reviews, compare prices and services before making an informed decision. Rooms can be reserved instantly without back and forth communication.

How to properly do Digital Marketing

Successful Digital Marketing in the Travel and Tourism Industry should not just stop enticing guests to buy travel deals. To create a successful one, you should include the strategy in

the three phases of travel so that you can bring your guests back to you and gain their loyalty. Remember, taking good care of your guests is the key to keep them on your side.

Phase 1: Destination Marketing

Digital Marketing in Travel and Tourism


In this phase, always remember that giving your guests the best travel experience is your main goal without having them go through so much hassle. Being in an unfamiliar place can bring in a little stress. You do not know where you are going and how to get there and you do not know where some basic commodities can be bought. These things can easily freak us out.


One good example of this solution is from Hotel Indigo. Hotel Indigo’s Neighborhood Guide will give their guests a good map of their surrounding neighborhood. This way, they are actually helping their guests go in and out at ease by having a good and specific guide with them. This is one good marketing effort on the side of Hotel Indigo.

Phase 2: Booking

Digital Marketing in Travel and Tourism Industry


The first phase covers you giving your guests a good online booking experience. Giving a hassle-free and fast booking option for your guests is one good way to take care of them. Make sure you do not miss any details that might bring your guests to trouble upon arriving at the terminal.
Also, this phase should include you introducing good places to be on your website, page, or channel. This covers your Content, Video, and other marketing efforts to help your guests book a good travel destination that can surely help them relax and be stress-free.

Phase 3: In-Flight Marketing

Digital Marketing in Travel and Tourism Industry


No matter how excited we get for our getaway, traveling from one place to another is a tiresome experience. What you can do as a travel service provider is to help alleviate the stress and hassle during the in-flight phase of your guests. Airline companies are now investing in an offline website that their traveling guests can browse through featuring their current and latest deals, good places to visit, and other exciting offers. With more and more airlines making free Wifi on board available to passengers, reaching the visitors that are flying to your location and offering them the exact services they want is becoming a possibility in the very near future.

Current Digital Marketing Trends in the Tourism Industry

Many businesses have enjoyed great success by investing in Digital Marketing. Whether you are a ticketing office, a hotel reservation company, a booking company for restaurants and bars, or a travel package provider, we assure you that you can make use of Digital Marketing in a way or two. Whether or not you will be successful depends on the way you plan and implement your strategy. An experienced Digital Marketing Agency can certainly help you to properly plan and get things up and running, but in the end, everything relies on your effort and commitment to making Digital Marketing work for you. To give you an idea of how some travel and tourism agencies are making use of Digital Marketing, here are the top five current Digital Marketing trends that are being used by many.

#1 Social Media Marketing

The world is becoming more and more inclined in their digital lives almost every day. In 2019, an estimated 2.77 Billion social media users will be accounted for. If you have a social media marketing campaign in place you already have an upper hand in the game. Social media can be your digital front office. You should engage more with your audience and inspire them with travel ideas and tips. With social media, you have an outlet to leverage your brand’s name and tell the world about your company.


#2 Travel from home

Those who cannot afford the time, money, or simply don't want to leave their homes, opt to travel from home. The recent years have seen the boom of travel, food vloggers who go around the world and share their experiences with the world on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other channels. We cannot sit back, relax, watch others eating strange food, meeting new people, exploring new places without leaving the comfort of our homes.

The launch of Amazon Explore and Airbnb Online Experiences has started a strong virtual experience trend in the digital marketing industry. In 2020, "virtual experience" seem like the number one buzzword. Thus, we would be remiss if we did not mention virtual experiences in the digital marketing of tourism.

vr-travel-digital-marketing
Source: NEWS Airbnb

As the economy suffered due to Covid-19, operators used this strategy as a means of making a profit or, at the very least, creating buzz around their brand. Why not reach out to travelers via their screens if they can't come to you? The tour company Your Friend in Reykjavík for example has created a The Reykjavik virtual walking tour that attracted more than 40,000 visitors last Christmas, showing that video is still viewed as a viable alternative to real travel.

Last year, TikTok became a "lockdown" sensation as young people made the most of staying indoors by lip-syncing, dancing, piling on, making pranks, and retweeting viral TikTok videos and 15-second stories. The social media tool currently has over a billion monthly active users making it the second-most popular. On the other hand, Facebook now leads Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat in-app downloads.

traveling-hashtag-tiktok
Source: https://tiktokhashtags.com/hashtag/traveling/

Dubai, Japan, Seoul, and Thailand can all be found on the hashtag #tiktoktravel,

#traveling. TikTok is a great place to create a platform and make suggestions for future vacations for young travelers. In addition, TikTok's algorithm shuffles through relevant content to followers and non-follower alike on the "For You" page. As a result, which makes obtaining views relatively easy.


There are some tricks you can use for travel content on Tiktok:

  • Interactions Are Key, Not Followers: The algorithms of Tiktok favor those posts that generate a lot of interactions in the first hour. So, with relevant and engaging content, you might achieve tens of thousands of views even you only have 100 followers. In Tiktok, the number of interactions is more vital than the number of followers.

  • Don't forget trending hashtags: Utilize relevant hashtags to show up in the search results just like on Instagram. No specific hashtag is sure to have the best impact, but hashtags like #fyp, #foryou, and #foryoupage can increase your visibility in For You feeds. Along with high-traffic hashtags, you should always include hashtags related to your content. TikTok's algorithm will be better able to understand what your content is about, and who might find it interesting.

  • Add your location to your profile: geo-location is a huge factor in the TikTok algorithm. For example, users' location determines which videos to recommend on the For You pages.

  • Post a challenge trend: Join the Challenge trend by creating a unique challenge related to your tours and using a branded hashtag.

#3 Influencer / Affiliate

With Vlogs and Live Stream becoming very trendy these days, people are no longer satisfied with the traditional marketing materials. We want to see with our own eyes, hear with our ears, and listen to comments and feedback from people that we trust and feel connected to. In these days and age, people can simply go online to find more reviews and comment about a specific location or service before they decide if it's worth their time and money. Working with influencers and affiliates allows you to tap into their audience base and gain trust by associating your brand with their image. Obviously, this should be done with caution as your brand name may also get damaged if the person you work with gets into trouble.

#4 Multimedia Marketing

Nothing beats good visuals. Pictures, videos, virtual tours, 360-degree videos. People need to see and feel, and businesses are quick to utilize the latest technologies to capture these sceneries and show them to visitors. Nowadays when people visit a travel company website they expect to be wowed and captivated by the multimedia they see on the site before they decide to stay on the site and discover the products and services you have to offer.


You can start by uploading stunning images of places that best fit the current season and entice guests to go there. Also, with better internet connection speed and cheap data plan people nowadays are more into looking at videos.

#5 Content Marketing

Content Marketing is a wide term that actually covers things such as pictures, videos, etc. When we talk about Content Marketing in this scenario we actually mean the whole Content Marketing strategy with everything well planned to connect with the visitors from the first discovery stage to the end. For example, if your business is a hotel, you can start by providing useful information such as a list of the different bars, forests, or beaches near your location or tips on how to make use of their time while they are there. Content Marketing is fun and a great way to show that your business is legit and that you truly care about your customers and are good at what you do.

Digital Marketing in the Travel Industry in numbers

To make you see more the importance of Digital Marketing in the Travel and Tourism Industry and why you should invest in one, we have listed down numbers to back up what we said.

#1 More reasons to go online

  • 600 million reviews and opinions were written in Trip Advisor last year, 2017.

  • Almost 95% of travelers prefer using the online channel for searching and booking travel places.

  • Digital travel sales have a projection of 755.94 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.

  • 55% of internet users in the UK used it to book online travel services.

So what?

Given these figures, we encourage you to bring your travel and tourism business online and benefit from the growing opportunity of what online platforms can bring to your business.

#2 Go mobile

  • An expected 48 million growth of tablet travel bookers in the United States by 2018.

  • Online travel agencies are the most preferred channel of the United Kingdom in getting on-flight and hotel booking deals.

  • In 2016, there were 50.4 million smartphone travel bookers in the United States, and is projected to grow even more worldwide.

  • In 2014, booking via the mobile app was most common in the UK for those who booked for attractions or activities.

So what?
It's essential to ensure that your website can be accessed on mobile devices since people are constantly on the go and expect to be able to interact with you seamlessly on their mobile devices.

#3 Social Media in the Travel and Tourism Industry

  • More than half of travelers from the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK search for social content that features deals and promotions which they use to influence their decisions.

  • 96% of travel respondents lean on Instagram to fantasize about being in exciting places.

  • 52% of Facebook users say that travel photos posted by friends inspired their travel plans.

  • 55% of respondents shave liked and followed social media pages featuring travel content and deals.

So what?

These numbers are telling you to hurry up and spend more time managing your social media accounts and make sure to create a varying online experience for all your patrons. Social media can be your vehicle towards letting many people from all over the world know about you and your exciting travel deals and offers.

#4 Invest in visuals

  • 3 in 5 travelers watch online videos to narrow down their travel choices.

  • Vlogs are considered to be the most viewed and engaging means of travel videos to entice watchers to go and travel.

  • 73% of travelers’ travel itineraries and plans are being influenced by photos from other travelers.
    So what?

Making sure that you can provide stunning photos and exciting videos on your website, channel or page is one way for you to get more visitors. Working with Vloggers and interact with your own customers is also a great way to generate authentic and inspiring visual content.

Future of Digital Marketing in the Travel Industry

What do we have in store for the future? Several sources have listed the following upcoming trends that will dominate the Digital Marketing scene for the Tourism and Travel industry in the near future.

#1 Video Marketing

Video marketing is a branch under Multimedia Marketing that is making a storm in the travel Digital Marketing competition. By providing videos, you can create a more personal experience of the featured place for your guests to savor even before going. This can raise their excitement to go there as soon as possible. Professional videos can show the best side of your location and services but people also expect to see personal videos captured by Vloggers and fellow travelers to give them a more balanced viewpoint.

#2 Content Marketing

Content Marketing is on the rise but it is nothing new. Just think about your audience and then consider the type of content that can be useful to them and the delivery approach that can be convenient for them. Content Marketing is all about showing interesting, useful information to your audience at the exact time that they may need it. Do it right and you will attract a huge flow of new leads to your business.

#3 Virtual Reality Marketing

Virtual reality devices have emerged for quite some time now but have not fully flown in the mainstream because of their past lapses. But now that the technology is a little bit mature, Virtual Reality is creating noise in the travel industry as well.

This is one good way to let your guests experience almost the real thing before getting there. It is like introducing a “try before you buy” campaign, as they say. And this way, it gives your customers more assurance of what they are about to get after striking a deal with you. We suggest you invest in this marketing strategy and be ahead of the rest.


Digital Marketing in Travel and Tourism Industry

Digital marketing has helped the tourism industry keep up with the latest trends and technology in an ever-changing world. New technologies are constantly being developed to help both the travel agent and the customer do their jobs more efficiently. Google Trends, for instance, helps marketers identify trends based on keywords and related metrics. As the impact of the 2020 pandemic is still felt, it will be crucial to learn to adapt quickly to new technologies in order to stay in the game.

About the author

estelle

TELLE

I am TELLE. Tolerant to challenges. Engineer by profession. Loves all my cats. Listens to music daily and enjoys writing. I am an engineer by profession but a writer and a music enthusiast by passion. I have written about various niches but am currently more inclined with marketing and pop culture.