5 Useful Tips To Use Internet Marketing for Tour Operators and Travel Agencies
No matter if you’re a travel agency or a tour operator, internet marketing is proven to be very effective. Internet marketing is the most inexpensive way to reach your target market, regardless of the size of your business.
- Go live with a great website
- Follow the SEO essentials
- Use a Global Distribution System
- Get Recommended by Real Authority
- Get Savvy with Social Media
1. Go live with a great website
The website is a crucial starting point. Every travel agency and tour operator should have a website. And not just any website, but one that amazes and entices the customer to book. According to a recent industry report and trend forecast from Destination Hotels, 72% of planners get most of their information about a potential venue from its website.
People are spending a huge amount of time on tourism websites because it requires a lot of time to decide upon destination, budget, type of activities, documentation regarding political and economic issues of the country of destination, the required documents, and lots and lots of other factors. That’s why a website carries so much value. Plus your website should also have information about your business, travel license, team, contact details to prove your agency is trustworthy.
Since we are talking about the travel industry, it is essential to have visually attractive photos and high-quality pictures that are optimised and load fast. Below you can see an example for a tour operator. You can see the eye-candy picture, with just the right sized piece of content; only the essentials.
More and more users are extending their online experience on mobile; your website needs to be optimised for mobile. Also, the website should load fast and be responsive. We are in 2019, so if you’re not responsive, you don’t exist.
Below you can see the same website displayed for the mobile users.
2. Follow the SEO essentials
Not only tour operators and travel agencies should follow the search engine optimisation factors, but all the businesses should. Now, if you have a website and it nice and pretty, people need to find it, and SEO is the “tool” for that.
- Optimize each for a focus keyword. Make sure you differentiate commercial keywords for travel packages from brand keywords for your business and information keywords for your blog content.
- Optimize your title tags and descriptions and avoid having duplicate content.
- Optimize each picture by having alt description and compress them to load faster on site without losing quality.
- Test your website performance with Google Page Speed Insights and fix any related issues.
- Check your internal website architecture and see if your internal links and ok as well as your external links. There are dedicated tools for running site audits.
More than that, you need to ensure relevancy through your content, making sure your content is rich and has strong focus keywords, following contextuality and topical SEO with keyword clustering. These are the most important on-site SEO actions you need to take. Now, in regards to off-site SEO, you must earn links that are qualitative and relevant to your business. Avoid any black-hat SEO and unnatural links acquisition.
3. Use a Global Distribution System
The Global Distribution System (GDS) allows travel agencies to enable automated transactions with other travel providers such as airlines, hotels, car rentals. The GDS carries lots of advantages and gives you higher visibility and increase your chances to get new clients.
Being a tour operator, there are lots of other aggregators with online marketplace and internet booking facilities, where you can register your travel packages and get booked. One of the biggest and most popular travel fare aggregators is Expedia. Tourists can choose from lots and lots of trips and travel packages.
To get featured on websites like Expedia, you need to submit your tour operator contact information, then update your prices by including the website’s fee, and add all the travel information.
4. Get Recommended by Real Authority
Any travel agency that has a long-term strategy should think of partnering with local tourist offices. It could be good for both parties and bring lots of benefits in the future. Being visually present in the city where your headquarters is, can attract more people to look on your website, to visit you.
For example, you can create printed posters for different hotels’ entrances or arrival halls from the airports so that tourists can see information about you just in their time of arrival, or get a prominent link on a local tourism website.
You can partner with authorities in your city and start an awareness campaign. You can even talk to the tourist information centre to see if you can collaborate in any way.
5. Get Savvy with Social Media
If you’re not using social media in your marketing strategy, you’re losing a lot. Internet marketing includes social media. Spy your competitors and see what are they using to communicate and share information with their audience. Could be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
Use social media to share information from your site/blog, share news or new travel opportunities. Establish a program and keep posting. Don’t forget about it. The best choice would be to have a person responsible for this, that has a schedule and everything is organised.
Internet marketing provides a full spectrum of opportunities for tour operators and travel agencies. No matter if you start from scratch or wish to continue with a new strategy, you need to include a visually attractive and user-friendly website, follow local SEO, use a Global Distribution System, collaborate with a real authority to get recommended and promote your business through social channels.