Perhaps it was the third reading of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ or a recent trek up through the local hiking trails that did it, either way you are now ready to launch a travel service business. Like many entrepreneurs before you, the allure of combining your love for travel with a lucrative business model has proven impossible to resist.
Whether your particular travel services niche caters to families, business executives or digital nomads, the core business activity will probably consist of a strong marketing strategy and execution. So what is the best strategy to get the right audience? For most small businesses, digital marketing is key to developing a strong online and offline presence. The first step is to identify your ídeal customer. Once that is sorted, the next step is to send customized content via various digital marketing tools and platforms.
An email is not only a formal way to communicate but also easier to track and personalize. The trouble is that we receive billions of unsolicited emails in our inbox on a daily basis.
Something must be done to make your particular email campaign more ‘clickable’ and captivating compared to the competition. You can try out a few brief yet witty subject lines via the A/B testing option on the email campaign manager. Another option is to send out a 20 second embedded video clip that lists the upcoming weekend getaway deals. In recent years, video-based content has consistently proven to be more effective than text-based content. Build relationships with clients by sending short, engaging and informative email campaigns that appeal to their travel tastes and budgets.
An oft-ignored communication medium is ironically the one we use the most: SMS or texting. SMS alerts work best for those reaching out to millennials, as according to a recent Nielsen study, close to 98% of people ages 18-24 own a smartphone. Research suggests that texts are more likely to be read in the first 10 minutes of the recipient receiving it, so be deliberate about your broadcasting schedule. Resist the temptation to bombard your audience with sms alerts. SMS alerts, like email marketing campaigns, should be concise, and provide all the critical information without causing an information overload.
LIVE CHAT SERVICE
Businesses actively looking for online leads should consider installing live chat software on their website. Live chat combines the immediacy of a phone-call with the ease of an email conversation for real-time assistance. Globetrotters exploring your travel website can find out everything they need to know via the live chat window. They can get answers to their questions and get help with making reservations in real time. Depending on the type of business you run, live chat agents can even book appointments with your customers. This appointment-setting feature can come in handy when planning more complex itineraries.
SPECIAL OFFERS & DEALS FOR REFERRALS
A tried-and-tested tactic that we can borrow from traditional marketing is the incentivization of word-of-mouth referrals. Social media platforms work best for offering special deals to customers. It can be as simple as your clients tagging your tour company and five other friends in an Instagram photo. They can win a tote bag, a free photoshoot or a flat 50% on the next trip they book in advance – you get to decide!
In 2018, Americans are expected to spend an average of over $6,000 on summer vacations alone! Turn your love for travel into a booming business by applying some or all of these digital marketing strategies.