Travel Agency marketing is something that I’m passionate about, and I’m pretty good at it too. It’s also how I really started in marketing in 2009, working on my mom’s niche travel agencies.
In this guide, I’m going to explain some tactics I use. I hope you can implement some of the ideas below.
- Marketing for travel agents Tips
- Travel agency advertising ideas
- Travel agent marketing plan
- How to promote your travel agency
It wasn’t easy to start; I had to learn quite a lot and didn’t have someone to really help me, and the internet was very different back then. But I practised, learned, and tested. I grew to love it. It’s kinda why Travel Tractions Marketing was born 🙂
This guide details how I helped my mom to market her sites 10 years ago and what I do to market my own and client sites today.
My mom had one main business called Webtours, and then she decided to make niche websites for each service offering.
I thought this very silly at the time, but little did I know this was one of the smartest things we did.
It enabled me to learn much quicker than normal (because she had 3+ sites – I could test, try and dabble).
Not only did it allow me to test, but the agency position was also so niche; it gave access to different markets and appeared as a “specialist”.
Becoming or positioning herself as the “specialist” was a no-brainer and her niche agencies grew so much faster (in traffic and clients) than the general brand.
In this article, you will get:
- The best way to stand out
- Travel marketing ideas
- A travel marketing plan
- Travel agency ad examples
And leave a marketing ninja, not really. But you will be wiser. 😉
Marketing for Travel Agents Tips
Have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Know where you differentiate and sell that. This could be customer service, affordability, quality, or speed. Anything that sets you even more apart.
I know it seems like laser focus, but sometimes that’s key. Especially with data-based digital marketing today. If you can zero down on your perfect customer, your cost of Return On Marketing Investment is much lower.
Find What Works
Different things worked for different businesses. Bridal conferences worked well for honeymooners while ranking for school holiday specials worked for the beach holiday agency website. Ranking for “all-inclusive ski holidays” worked great for selling Club Med ski holidays.
When you find out what channel, gap or method of marketing works for you, double down on it! But don’t give up on the other channels – consistency is key.
When she first started her business, it was general travel, but when she specialised, things really took off. Being known as an expert and having more experience/knowledge sets you apart from most of the competition.
Travel Agency Advertising Ideas
There are many methods to market your travel agency. below you will find the ones that actually worked.
Search Engine traffic accounts for 68% of the traffic, and COVID has drastically changed how consumers spend money online. So if you are not investing more than 50% of your marketing budget into SEO, you are doing yourself a disservice.
SEO does involve many different aspects that assist other channels
Creating long-tail content is KEY to surviving in the travel industry!
Google your area and “hotel” or “tour” it’s probably taken up by one of the big 5 behemoth sites like Viator, GetYourGuide, Booking, Agoda, Trip Advisor or some other monster…. You might find your site/page somewhere on the bottom or maybe on the next page, but no one will know because no one goes to the second page of Google.
By creating content that is more long tail and niche, like “best family resorts in Europe for a ski holiday”, you’ll find a lot of blogs and sites that you compete with, and beat.
My calculations for an average ski holiday for an average family (4 people) costs start at 10k USD. Sell one holiday from this piece of content, and you’ve paid for it 3 times over. The best part? It stays on top of Google until someone outranks you. Another win, you can use this content for social over and over again.
Content is king. Even 10 years ago, when backlinks were the bee’s knees in SEO, I got the majority of my wins/leads, if not all, by great content.
Invest in SEO. Ok, I’m biased here, but I wasn’t taught SEO in my marketing degree, but it isn’t rocket science to figure out where most of our enquiries and new customers were coming from. That’s why I specialised.
Links and PR
Links (other websites linking to your website) is one of the top 3 ranking factors. A few years ago, it was undoubtedly the number one ranking factor.
Links serve two purposes:
#1 They help you get higher in Search Engines.
#2 If you get a link in a good publication to the right audience, you could get referral traffic and maybe a booking.
So do what you can to acquire publicity, exposure and links as much as you can.
It’s important to build credibility, especially in the travel market, so building a brand and appearing to be a trustable business is key here. If you don’t, you will lose many customers.
Putting money behind average campaigns is how I see most business owners lose faith in online marketing.
Use your social media to remind and be top of mind.
Set up your social media so that you are continuously in your PROSPECTIVE clients’ faces as often as you can. It is important that you spend money only on people who have shown interest in your business.
My view (and many others since Apple gave less targeting data to Facebook) is that social is a branding tool more than anything else, and only when you drill down into your customer insights and have amazing targeting. During the Cambridge Analytica scandal they also limited some targeting (like targeting people who recently got engaged with honeymoon ads).
But if you can get in front of your potential clients at the right time, this is gold. But branding, attention, and social proof has the ability to convert customers and keep you top of mind.
Touchpoints and a well-created email funnel is one of the most powerful items in your arsenal.
A monthly newsletter goes a long way but keeping in touch with your customers is key to this. Again, consistency wins here.
Travel Agent Marketing Plan
This is how I had to market a website in 2020+ It includes small steps on creating different avenues for getting customers and then tracking them and managing your leads effectively.
Set Up a Website
This can be done on almost any platform, and I will always recommend for hundreds of reasons I won’t list here. If you are going to spend money on a website, you might as well make it SEO friendly and hire a professional before you make it live. I see sooooo many businesses make this mistake, so please get an external SEO to check out your development agencies website.
List Yourself in All the Local Directories
Once you have a website or somewhere to direct your potential customers, you need to start listing with all the directories in your local area and online. To be honest, you won’t get many leads from here, if any, but if you could rank in your area, it would be the easiest route to go from the start.
It’s important to build connections. I know in the 2020s, even passed COVID days, trade shows and conferences are a great way to make connections and learn about new developments in the industry,
Often the main pages of the website are not targeting long tail keywords. Your blog is where you get to write about the “best family resorts in Europe for a ski holiday” and many, many, many other opportunities. This also feeds into your social media and media strategy if done correctly.
I think this is really a place where businesses can excel. Make sure that you are pixeling all users (tracking who they are) that come to your site and marketing to them effectively.
Customer Relationship Software
If you have a CRM system, you will know their past consumer history and will appear more as a friend than some stranger off the street. Also, if tied in with email is gold in the holiday season.
How to Promote Your Travel Agency
There are various ways to promote your agency, and some work better than others. You can often ask your clients how they found you and then double down on that channel. All I know is that customer service and delivering what you promised is the best way to promote yourself, but below are some of the best ways that can be amplified.
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth or friends’ referrals is still the best way to get new customers – this is INCREDIBLY difficult when you are just starting out. So let any and everyone know what you are starting.
Have great service, I’m in the online game, but word of mouth is still one of the best ways to ensure your agency has some longevity increase your marketing falls flat.
Send an email to your friends. Nothing like a personalised email to a friend letting them know what offers you could have and if they would be interested. Try capturing emails on your website, an email list is an extremely powerful thing.
Don’t just start it and then invite all your friends to like the page – if you do this often enough; it’s one way to reduce your Facebook friends without unfriending anyone.
Write about offers and news, and try to write about evergreen topics with SEO in mind.
Make specials for particular times of year like school holidays, Christmas, New Year, and Easter. Promote those holiday times the most and try to have a special running.
Search Engine Marketing
There are two disciplines here: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) advertising, often called organic, or PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, often called paid ads.
It is imperative that when someone is searching for you, your business, or the problem your business solves, they find you! If not perhaps the most important thing.
SEO is more long-term. It’s an investment to be placed higher in Google or search engines naturally – think about it as buying a house (website) on Google pages; it takes a lot of time but is there for a very, very long time if done correctly.
PPC is way more short-term. Once you stop paying, you vanish from Google places you have “rented”. Like renting, it can become very expensive long term but a way quicker way to get to the top of Google or search Engines.
I hope these ideas and plans help you with your marketing, and if you ever fall a little flat or are struggling to get real traction, give us a try. It’s what I’ve done for a decade, and we’d love to save you time.