Neil Patel

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Travel Marketing: Most Effective Strategies to Boost Business

Travel marketing: most effective strategies to boost business.

In 2024, global travel traffic is expected to reach 9.4 billion passengers. That’s more global traffic than even pre-pandemic levels! 

This means that travel agencies need to get into tip-top shape if they hope to get a slice of that traffic in 2024 and beyond. How? With digital marketing!

In this piece, I’m going to show you why travel businesses need marketing and how to implement digital marketing techniques for your travel business. This will include a look at different marketing channels. I’ll also show you how to build customer travel personas using real data on traveler spending habits.

Let’s dive in!

Top Tips for Travel Marketing 

  • Travel marketing is unique in that it is heavy on the visuals and the target audience is broad and diverse.
  • Your travel marketing strategies can span social media, paid marketing, local content, seasonal SEO, content marketing, and beyond.
  • Customer personas are important for effective travel marketing. For example, our survey data shows that 88% of people either try somewhat (45%) or very hard (43%) to save money while traveling. This kind of data is invaluable to your customer profiles and overall marketing plans.
  • When it comes to making a name for your travel business, a strong brand presence and customer personalization strategies are key.

Why Travel Businesses Need Marketing 

At its core, the travel industry is intrinsically linked to the art of storytelling. From distant landscapes to the promise of lasting memories, travel businesses are selling more than just a product or service—they’re selling a dream.

For any business, marketing boosts visibility and customer engagement. This is especially important for travel businesses, as you need to spin a compelling narrative to a diverse audience.

Moreover, the digital era has transformed the travel industry. With online research, reviews, and bookings becoming the norm, your travel agency requires a robust online presence.

What Makes Travel Marketing Unique? 

Maybe more than any other industry, visuals play a pivotal role in travel and tourism marketing. The goal is to capture the imagination of the traveler, and marketing helps you to do so with captivating images and video campaigns.

Another unique aspect of travel marketing is the diversity in the target audience. There is no singular target audience for a travel agency.

Not only is there a diversity of travel needs, but also a diversity of the travelers themselves. This includes backgrounds, cultures, and socioeconomic classes.

As a result, this diversity will need to extend into your marketing efforts and campaigns. You will need to craft unique messages to fit the needs of all travelers or pick a niche (e.g., business travel, travel to China, etc.).

Crafting Compelling Travel Marketing Strategies 

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for a travel agency. However, a solid marketing strategy will combine various elements, including social media, paid marketing, content marketing, and local SEO.

Let’s dive into these travel agency marketing ideas so you can learn how to implement each of them with ease.

Social Media for Travel Agencies 

Travel marketing is all about getting the client to visualize their dream vacation and social media is a visual platform. It enables you to use enticing imagery and immersive videos to capture attention and spark wanderlust.

So where should you get started?

First, pick two or three platforms where you can stick to posting content regularly.

For travel agencies, I would suggest visual platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest. These help you to hit a wide range of demographics while also allowing the beauty and adventure of travel destinations to speak for themselves.

Liberty travel instagram page.

Next, create content strategically. On platforms like Facebook and TikTok, you can use live videos to provide virtual tours, travel tips, and host Q&A sessions. You can also create interactive content, like polls and quizzes, to engage your audience and learn customer preferences. This is best done on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, where direct engagement between brand and customer is the norm.

The next tip is posting consistently. Consistency is crucial to building a following and engaging your audience. How often you post will depend largely on the platform. For example, it’s recommended that you post three to five times per week on Instagram and TikTok, but one to two times per day on Facebook. Whatever number you pick, though, sticking to it is most crucial to your success.  

Finally, leverage influencers and partnerships to broaden your reach. In an experiential industry such as travel, you must use influencers if you want to deliver a compelling story: 

Jack morris instagram post.

The greatest benefit here is you’re able to leverage the trust and connection that those influencers have with their own audience.

Paid Marketing for Travel Agencies 

While every digital marketer would like to rely purely on organic traffic, that’s just not the norm. That’s where paid marketing comes in.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on search engines like Google is a ticket to prime visibility—bidding on relevant keywords ensures the agency appears when potential travelers are actively seeking destinations.

Resort in puerto rico google results.

There’s paid marketing beyond search engines, though.

Influencer marketing, mentioned above, is one form of paid social media marketing. Beyond that, social media advertising enables you to precisely target your audience based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.

I know that paid marketing can be overwhelming, but my best advice is just start! Here’s how: 

  • Narrow down your keywords. No matter what channel (e.g. Google, Bing, Facebook) you choose to start with, keywords will be a big part of your campaigns. You can use tools like Ubersuggest to narrow your audience’s top keywords and most asked questions. 
  • Decide on an offer. What are you offering to people who click through your ad? A discount? A free travel guide? A complementary consultation? Make your offer enticing.
  • Set your budget. Ad spend is tricky when you’re just getting started. You don’t have any idea of what to expect as far as ROAS. So start small (for example $5 per day) and expand from there as you gain audience insights.
  • Measure your success. To start, you should monitor your ads daily. However, you should also have a plan to measure your ad’s success at pre-determined intervals (after 7 days, 30 days, etc.). Only you can determine what success looks like to you, though industry benchmarks are a helpful tool. 

It will be scary to launch that first advertisement. However, advertising is one of those marketing tasks that you can only learn by doing.

Local Content for Travel Agencies 

If you’re not targeting local potential clients, you’re missing out on a big market! How’s that? Nearly half (46 percent) of all Google searches have local intent. That means the audience is there; you just have to fill the void! 

How?

First and foremost, optimizing website content with local keywords and phrases ensures visibility in local search results, attracting travelers seeking specific destinations.

How do you know which keywords to target?

Head over to a keyword research tool, like Ubersuggest, and enter your domain or a keyword you would like to target:

Ubersuggest keyword ideas.

The keyword ideas report will generate similar keywords and provide monthly search volume, cost-per-click, and SEO difficulty. The sweet spot are keywords with high volume but medium to low SEO difficulty.

Once you have your list of keywords, you can craft blog posts that highlight unique local attractions, events, and insider tips. This establishes the agency as an authority on the area.

Be sure to set up or claim your Google Business Profile listing, as well as any other directory listings like Yelp, Bing Place, and NextDoor. This ensures accurate information is readily available to potential customers. 

Using Seasonal SEO for the Travel Industry 

Though some people travel year-round, there is no doubt seasonality with the travel industry. For example, peak season starts on Boxing Day and goes through March for many travel agents as tour operators and other tourist businesses tend to launch their own selling campaigns. 

In your downtime, why not get a head start on the seasonal travel traffic with seasonal SEO?

An effective seasonal travel SEO strategy involves crafting content and keywords that resonate with specific travel trends, weather patterns, and holiday seasons. You can use the same keyword and contact strategies as outlined above, just with a focus on seasonal timelines for your destinations. 

By optimizing website content for relevant keywords during peak travel periods, you can ensure higher search engine rankings and increased organic traffic.

Content Marketing for Travel Agencies 

In an era where consumers seek information online, creating compelling and informative content is essential for attracting and retaining customers.

Content marketing is a strategy that utilizes content—including blog posts, white papers and downloadable guides, podcasts, videos, and infographics—to connect with an audience. The end goal may be to drive website traffic or increase conversions, and content marketing achieves that with high-quality, relevant content. 

How can travel agencies use content marketing?

Travel agencies can leverage blog posts, destination guides, and multimedia content to showcase their expertise, highlight unique travel experiences, and offer valuable insights.

To get started, you’ll want to perform keyword research as outlined above. You’ll need to decide what platforms you’ll target, whether that’s social media or a website blog. Finally, you’ll want to consider who you’re targeting.

That’s where building travel customer personas comes in.

Building Travel Customer Personas 

No two travelers—their wants, their needs, their budgets—are alike.

That’s why you must think carefully about the demographics you will target. That’s where customer personas can help.

A customer persona is a representation of your target customer’s preferences and behavior.  

If you want to implement an effective content strategy, then you must tailor your content to each of your customer profiles. Here’s how.

Tailoring Content to Customer Profiles 

You want to create a customer profile for a travel agency. How do you get started? With data. Once you have that data, you can then create profiles that will enable you to tailor your content to meet their needs.

The team at NP Digital (my digital marketing agency) surveyed 1,000 people, mostly regarding their spending habits during travel.

In examining this data, we’re going to consider three key demographics: age group, income level, and whether they have children. From there, we’ll consider how spending habits within those demographics will alter the content we create.

Key insights for your travel marketing  customer profiles.

First up is how hard these demographics try to save their money while traveling. Of the 1,000 respondents:

  • 45% said they try somewhat.
  • 43% said they try very hard.
  • 12% said they don’t try at all.

For those who try very hard to save their money, they take advantage of free or low-cost activities, stay at cheaper hotels, and avoid eating out.

So, what demographics are most concerned with saving money while traveling? Of the 88% of travelers who try very hard or somewhat to save their money, the majority (53.1%) fall into the 25 through 44 age group.

Interestingly, that same age group makes up 53.4% of the travelers who do not try to save money.

Does income play as big a role?

Of those who make $100K or more per year, 55.2% of them try somewhat to save money. How? The most common way was by using rewards points to purchase flights and lodging.

On the other hand, those who make under $100K per year either:

  • Try very hard to save money (45%); or
  • Somewhat try to save money (43%).

Since those in this demographic are less likely to have the means to obtain rewards points, they do so by looking for free or low-cost activities to reduce spending while traveling.

Now let’s look beyond age and income level to another factor that can seriously impact financial outlook: whether someone has kids.

Of the survey respondents with children, 45% of them try harder to save money. That’s compared to the respondents without children who either:

  • Somewhat try to save money (45%); or
  • Don’t try at all to save money (13%).

Further, those with children look at traveling as a way to relax and rejuvenate. It also helps them to disconnect from life’s stressors. For those travelers without children, though, the leading reason to travel is to have new and exciting experiences.

How to Create Effective Customer Profiles 

Consider how you might use all of the above information to create customer profiles.

You can create as many or as few customer profiles as you wish. You’ll never hit every nail on the head, but you can try. You may also purposely exclude some demographics from your targeting, and that’s a valid choice as well.

Let’s say you want to create four user personas. Here’s how you might divvy them up:

  1. Age 18 to 24, less than $100K annual income, no children.
  2. Age 25 to 44, less than $100K annual income, children.
  3. Age 25 to 44, $100K annual income or more, children.
  4. Age 45 to 54+, less than $100K annual income, no children.

The messaging is going to vary greatly here based on all demographics.

For example, those in the 18 to 24 range may be looking for more thrill-seeking adventures than those in the 45+ age bracket. If you’re targeting the 18 to 24 age range, then, you might create a video reel highlighting the fun adventures they can find in your target location. Most importantly, remember to post that content on the platforms preferred by that demographic.

We also know that those with children are looking for a more relaxing and rejuvenating experience, while those without are looking for more fulfillment. So if you’re targeting a parent, you may create a content guide on the local resorts that include free on-site babysitting.

Of course, budget plays a major role in your marketing content as well. Are you going to promote yourself as a luxury (i.e., expensive) brand? Then you’re probably going to exclude certain demographics from your larger marketing push.

Creating a Strong Brand Presence 

I spoke briefly about how you promote yourself as a brand. The way your brand is perceived plays a big role in many of your content marketing and strategy decisions.

Your brand is what helps you to stand out from your competition. The stronger your brand is, the stronger your brand presence in the marketplace will be, which will come with a greater market share.

So how do you go about creating a strong brand presence?

Branding comes down to four things: 

  • Purpose
  • Voice
  • Values
  • Culture

How do you envision yourself being perceived by the world, and what can you do to ensure that you’re perceived as you wish to be?

Once you have figured out those pieces, you can begin to spread that brand voice with your audience. One way to do so is with marketing personalization.

Personalization in Travel Marketing Can Improve Brand Presence 

We often think of personalization in marketing as something that is done for the consumer. For example, an algorithm that decides what shows you might like to watch next based on previous viewing habits.

However, personalization is also a way to promote your brand presence. The personalized content you create will leave a mark on the customer and how they view your brand. If done right, it can promote brand loyalty.

So how do you go about personalization in travel marketing? This will rely heavily on your customer profiles.

You can personalize just about any experience for your customers, from the content and copy on your homepage to your email sequences, social media posts, and paid advertising campaigns.

While I can’t give it the depth it deserves here, I do have a helpful post on personalized marketing that you should check out to learn more. 

FAQs 

What is hospitality and tourism marketing? 

Hospitality and tourism marketing is another term for travel marketing. Whereas travel marketing can be used to cover all types of travel, from fun to business, hospitality, and tourism marketing is more focused on the fun and experiential types of travel.  

How do I market my travel agency? 

You need to take a multi-pronged approach to marketing your travel agency. Your marketing strategy should include elements like social media marketing, paid marketing, content marketing, seasonal SEO, and local SEO. These pillars will contribute to the overall strength of your marketing plan. 

What is the target market of a travel agency? 

The target market for your travel agency will depend on your brand persona, your agency’s travel locations, and other factors. You can utilize surveys and website analytics to get a clear understanding of your agency’s demographic breakdown. 

Conclusion 

Hospitality and tourism marketing plans are essential for travel businesses around the world. With global travel expected to rise above pre-pandemic levels, it’s never been a more critical time to ensure your business is getting the spotlight it deserves.

From social media to paid content to seasonal SEO and beyond, you have various channels to promote your business. How you choose to do so will depend on your unique business needs, but one thing is certain: digital marketing must be part of your plans for 2024 and beyond. 

Do you have questions about how to implement marketing strategies for travel agencies? Drop them in the comments below.

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