Want To Make Your Travel Business Shine Where It Matters? Then Focus On These 3 Platforms

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The travel industry is the 2nd fastest growing sector in the world, which means that the competition is fierce and travel brands need to be on top of their game to convert leads into actual customers. 

If you’re wondering how your business can thrive in such a crowded environment, it starts with communicating very clearly your unique value in the places where your ideal clients are looking for you and want to interact with you. 

We recently talked about how to clarify your message to truly stand out, but with the wide diversity social media platforms, booking sites, review sites, blogs and other places where your ideal audience is looking for you, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost about where to focus your energy. 

Don’t panic and take a deep breath. In this article we’re discussing the 3 platforms where you need to focus your brand awareness & marketing efforts in order for your travel business to stand out and convert your audience into paying customers! Let’s start with the obvious.

Your website

Think of your website as your canvas to tell your business’ story in its brightest and most amazing light. Unlike other platforms, you get to tailor it’s appearance and overall feel as much as you want so that it can truly reflect your brand.

Today, your website isn’t likely to be the first place that your potential customers will land on when they first learn about you. This is especially true in the travel industry where websites like Tripadvisor, Kayak, and Booking tend to dominate the search engines. 

Accordingly, keep in mind that people will get to your website when they’re already intrigued by what your business offers, and they want to know more to make a decision about whether they should choose you over someone else. Your mission is to keep them there, establish a connection, and get them to make a decision.

This is also your opportunity to go in-depth about your products and services, direct your own story, put your audience in awe of your offers, and answer people’s most pressing questions.

Walk your potential customers through your full travel experience by appealing to their senses and deepest desires. Make sure to use high quality pictures, powerful words that really embody your unique value-add, and video content that highlights your most amazing features that solve customers’ specific problems. 

If you can tailor your restaurant’s menu to specific dietary restrictions for example, be explicit about it and showcase pictures of a delicious vegan meal. If you’re a family-friendly hotel, have a video featuring a family enjoying their time in your facilities. If you’re a low cost and fun tour operator, maybe display pictures of young college students participating in your most popular activities. You get the idea. 

Show people what your experience looks and feels like very clearly so that they can get to know you better.

Bonus tip: one thing you should also consider is to showcase some members of your staff as it humanizes your business and establishes more trust with your potential clients who we’ll feel like they know who’s going to take care of them during their trip. 

Instagram:

Travel is a sensory experience that heavily relies on visual appeal, which is why Instagram is such a crucial platform for your travel business. 

This is where you get to show off how incredible your travel experiences are to your audience through high quality photos, videos and graphics that will get them excited about what you have to offer. Your words also have an importance, don’t just use pretty images without saying anything about them. Come up with fun captions that either 1. educate, 2. entertain, 3. or engage with your audience. Ideally, you’ll do all three.


Notice how well  Spice Island Beach Resort  does this? Educating, entertaining and engaging, all at once.

Notice how well Spice Island Beach Resort does this? Educating, entertaining and engaging, all at once.

Your brand’s reputation is also at play depending on how you respond to comments and private messages on Instagram.

We had a client this year who had more than 20 unread messages on their Instagram page when we took over, most of which were very important leads (like someone wanting to feature them on a national TV show, or a couple of people wanting to have their weddings on their site!). Makes sure you’re keeping with comments and messages and respond to EVERY SINGLE ONE of them. Your brand’s reputation is at sake.

Now some of you may want to dismiss Instagram altogether and think of millenials as irrelevant to your business.  However, I’d like to challenge you on this idea because of two simple facts: the millennial generation will represent 50% of travel spending by 2020, and a study revealed that 40% of millenials choose their travel destinations based on their “instagrammability”, or how good a place will look on Instagram. 

(Yes, my generation is that dedicated to visual aesthetics… I find it weird sometimes too, but it is what it is.)

From a business point of view, millennials represent A LOT of money in the travel industry, so choose wisely before you dismiss them.

A smarter move would be to adapt to the new trends and start appealing to this generation now, and Instagram is a great place to do so. So, start gathering your best visuals and build an Instagram page that is highly attractive and will make people want to spend their travel dollars with you. 

Bonus tip: use the Instagram Story Highlight feature to showcase the most important and most amazing features of your brand.

Booking and Review sites

Last year our agency started working with a restaurant in the Caribbean and the owner looked at me in disbelief when I told her that there were negative reviews about her business on Tripadvisor. She said they didn’t sign up on Tripadvisor so it didn’t make any sense.

Newsflash: you don’t need to have signed up for a review site to get reviews written about your business. On Tripadvisor specifically, anyone can create a listing about your company, and if you don’t check on it like my client, you’ll find yourself with hundreds of reviews that you aren’t even aware of. No bueno.

I noticed that a lot of businesses actually fear these types of sites because they’re afraid it’ll ruin their reputation. I get it, it’s scary to find yourself exposed in front of millions of internet users for mistakes or bad performances that you did or didn’t commit (some customers are impossible to satisfy and will always have something negative to say, I know). However, the worst thing that can happen is for you to stay silent and a victim of bad reviews. 

Instead, take back control of your brand’s image and be proactive. Set up your profiles yourself, add your best images and descriptions. Highlight specific features that make your hotel extra special. Respond to reviews, both good and bad. Especially the bad ones. 

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go silent when someone calls you out through a negative review. Instead, control the damage, apologize, make a move to help them forgive you, and show future readers that you really care, that you are open to feedback, and that you are seeking to improve your services.

And when people write amazing reviews about you, make sure you to nurture this relationship and let them know they’re appreciated through a special thank you gift or discount the next time they come around. A simple thank you is also appreciated, but I tend to go overboard when it comes to clients that take the time to give positive feedback.

Bonus: encourage people to leave you positive reviews, especially when you see that they’re loving their experience with you. Oftentimes, travelers need a little extra motivation to write positive reviews as compared to the negative ones. Find ways to give your customers a gentle reminder when they’re about to checkout or through a follow up email once they’ve left.

By focusing on these 3 platforms and getting them in top shape, you’ll be able to attract more people towards your business organically and start seeing a rise in your sales!

And if you’re unsure of where to start, our team at Global Island Girl Agency can help, so feel free to get in touch.