When it comes to building a business, all current advice is centered around building a recognizable and consistent brand. The only difficulty in doing this in the travel sector is that it is a highly competitive market and standing out from the crowd can be incredibly tough. So how can your travel brand punch above its weight in one of the most crowded online business sectors?
Current travel sector trends
People always want to travel, to take holidays, taste new foods, meet new people and experience another country’s culture. This makes the travel sector a potentially highly profitable one to enter into. But perhaps more so than any other sector, the travel industry undergoes almost constant change. This is why it is vital for any company wanting to break into the travel sector to always keep a finger on the pulse of the industry’s current trends and give people want they want.
Niche travel brand
With so many travel businesses already in the sector, rather than trying to compete with them, it can be a wise move to specialize rather than generalize. Offering niche services, such as cheap flights, luxury hotels or guided tours, is a way to identify your target audience and thereby help to build a brand that caters specifically for them. Focusing on a small, easily identifiable goal is also a great way to develop a reputation as an expert in a particular field, making your brand the go-to provider for people who need a reliable service.
A marketing strategy is essential to building a successful travel brand. If a company does not market their services effectively, then people will not know they exist in the first place. The first step is to create a solid, attractive website. Whichever web designer or website builder you choose, it is vital that the site is built upon a responsive design. With so many people browsing the internet from mobile devices, it is vital that your website can be viewed correctly on a smartphone or tablet computer. Even if people do not ultimately book a holiday via a mobile device, it is entirely probable that they will research their holiday on one.
Which marketing channels should a travel brand use? The immediate answer to this is social media. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer a fledgling business free marketing. Social media provides a company with the opportunity to engage with a worldwide audience, all of whom are interested in travel and who could not be reached by a local printed advertisement or other local campaign. Be aware however, that the point of social media posts is to engage and interest potential customers so that they are compelled to visit your full website. For greater penetration and exposure on social media platforms, and if you have a little extra money to invest wisely, it can be worthwhile to take out a paid advertisement to drive traffic to your site.
Blogging is another tool you can use to spread the word about your travel business. Travel blogging is an incredibly popular activity and some people even manage to make a very good living out of travel blogging. You will need to offer something a little different to stand out from all the other travel companies, and your blog will most definitely need to focus on your brand offering. For example, if your travel company is providing off the beaten track vacations, then you need to write a travel blog that features plenty of images of such places. It is also a good idea to write stories of vacations taken in these areas, as this will help your readers to imagine themselves there and also enhance your reputation as an agent. Video is another great tool that can be embedded in your website and, incidentally, is good for SEO. To ensure that you have enough content for your blog, make each post specific, such as covering food in a particular region, clothing or customs, and always vary the type of blog posts to avoid it becoming boring to readers.
A way of attracting custom if you are promoting a particular location or resort is to focus on its unique features. Take the Mohonk Mountain House as an example. This is a location noted for its stunning views of mountain ranges, lakes and forests. Therefore, the company’s website focuses its attention on how good the environment is for people wanting to relax or enjoy nature. It also taps into current health trends by directly suggesting that the location and accommodation are great for promoting mindfulness. Anyone researching mindfulness may well stumble upon the resort’s website and decide to book a holiday on the strength of what they read and see in the blog and news feed.
It was once the duty of travel agents to provide information about destinations, accommodation and things to see and do, but these days, most people source this type of information for themselves, and if you can make your website a font of travel knowledge, you can really bring in serious traffic. To really make your brand stand out from your competitors, you need to think about the kind of things your customers are looking to find out when they visit your site. For example, do they want to read about attractions that are not on most of the top ten places to visit lists? Or do they want to know about out of the way restaurants that offer the best national dishes? Do they want to know when local festivals are being staged or which shows are going to be on when they visit? If you are able to provide this kind of information, the kind that needs to be constantly updated, then it is likely that your website users will return to your site to get updates on the places they are interested in.
The key to building a successful travel brand is to focus on catering to your customers’ needs, and this is achieved by making it as easy as possible for them to engage with you via social media and find out information about the places they want to travel to on your website to keep them coming back for more.