Online marketing has dramatically shortened the distance between you and your customer, yet it comes with a new set of challenges.
Today it is easier than ever before to pour money into direct marketing which can deliver little in return.
The onus is now on us, as business owners and marketing strategists, to decide which are the best digital marketing strategies to use – a decision that is far more complex than it first appears.
Particularly when the list of options is so extensive.
Yet, with 83% of adults now choosing to book online, we all know that digital marketing is something that none of us can afford to ignore.1
In fact, in 2018 82% of all travel bookings were made online via a mobile app or website.
With figures set to rise to over 700 million online bookings by 2023, understanding how to use digital marketing to increase bookings is of growing importance 2.
To make the decision easier, we have compiled a list of the top online marketing strategies to increase bookings because having an online presence doesn’t automatically deliver a return on investment.
Here is your practical guide to effective digital marketing strategies for travel and leisure brands:
ROI is the key issue when it comes to digital marketing. With such easy access to a vast array on online marketing, whether it is Facebook ads, video marketing, Instagram promos or Google ads it is easy to feel that you are achieving much, when in reality your ROI is little to none.
Use this guide to ensure that you choose solid marketing strategies that will deliver a strong ROI and increase your bookings long term.
How to use internet marketing to boost bookings
How will you best reach your target audience and convert them into paying customers long term?
The difficulty with internet marketing is that for marketing to be effective it needs to reach your target market and convert.
This entails effective segmentation.
To market with purpose it is crucial to understand how your target market use the internet, including their digital marketing tools of choice.
Hone your brand voice and consider how it will connect with your target audience.
Identify your marketing goals and purposes to ensure that your budget is spent wisely on the right tools for your target audience, leaving room to test, evaluate and adapt your approach over time.
Image credit: medium.com
With focused planning, monitored implementation and the right marketing strategies it is possible to harness all of the brilliant opportunities that digital marketing brings.
Let’s take a look at the best online marketing strategies to boost bookings.
Social media is one of the fastest growing digital marketing tools for the travel and leisure industry.
Social platforms provide a rich variety of exciting and fresh ways to reach your target audience and build a better understanding of your brand.
According to Khoros.com 37% of the world’s population, that is 2.8 billion people, use social media.
However, the first step is to understanding how to gain a ROI is to understand the differing potential that each social media platform holds.
The five biggest social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat each attract a different audience and offer varying marketing capabilities.
Attempting to target all of the biggest platforms is a waste of resources, instead, identify the platforms that are favoured by your target market and assess which of those offer the best marketing tools for your brand.
Sproutsocial.com have an excellent overview of the differing ways that the global market use each of the top social media platforms:
Image credit: sproutsocial.com
As these statistics and more show, from gender to age, income and interests, the social media platform that you choose to use is integral to your success in connecting with your target market.
Facebook retains the largest spread of users and an exhaustive range of marketing tools for businesses, although Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat offer highly competitive features as well as large market shares for their niche users.
Once you have the right platforms secured, the main areas of focus are creating high-quality, targeted content that:
- builds a clear and enticing picture of your brand
- attracts and connects with your target market on an emotional level
- sets you apart as an industry leader/ authority
- gives your target market a reason to keep coming back to your page long-term by using a mixture of inspirational, informative and entertaining content
- draws your target market on to your website to eventually make those bookings (or for some platforms the bookings can be made directly on the platform itself).
Secondly, actively find and engage with your target audience using likes, follows, hashtags, exciting competitions centred around your customer base (see example below), exclusive offers, personalised comments and more.
Image credit: Shortstack.com
The next tier of social media use for businesses is to use paid advertising. The market leader by huge strides when it comes to paid social media advertising is Facebook.
According to Hootsuite.com Facebook is the third most visited website in the world.4 With the largest spread of users and biggest chunk of the social media market, Facebook is the obvious place to start for paid social media marketing.
Let’s take a look at how to use Facebook ads to increase your bookings.
Facebook ads enable anyone to turn Facebook into a powerful marketing tool at what appears is a click of a button.
Image credit: blog.hootsuite.com
Yet in reality, to obtain effective ROI, your Facebook ads need to be as carefully targeted and well-planned as any other ad campaign.
A point of growing realisation to many. Facebook ads require a budget, solid strategy and marketing expertise.
Sending Facebook ads across the globe with the potential to reach millions feels great, until your insights show that a wide reach does not translate into more website traffic or bookings.
To increase your bookings with Facebook ads you will need to first allocate a realistic budget with a planned daily spend that can deliver results.
Secondly, you will need to harness a range of tools to identify and reach your target market, using criteria such as location, interests, previous website visits and more to locate potential buyers.
Next you will need to create, launch, evaluate and re-test a range of targeted ads to find the ones that work best.
Additionally, there are a range of marketing tools on Facebook that you can use in conjunction with Facebook ads.
For example, you can speed up the customer journey with direct booking from Facebook your Facebook page as demonstrated below by Fareharbour.com:
Image credit: Fareharbour.com
Meanwhile, paid Instagram marketing comes as a free add on to your Facebook ad campaigns.
Instagram is a highly visual and aspirational lifestyle social media platform that is a perfect fit for the travel and leisure industry. Owned by Facebook, Instagram is another great marketing tool that you will want to exploit.
Instagram and Facebook are the two biggest players when it comes to paid social, providing a wealth of marketing opportunities at a low cost that you won’t want to miss.
For the travel and leisure industry video marketing remains a relatively untapped area of online marketing that it is well worth exploring.
With video marketing rapidly growing in use, it is a digital marketing tool that you won’t want to ignore.
According to Smartinsights.com 83% of marketers believe that video is growing in importance. 53% of consumers and 66% of millennials, engage with a brand after viewing a video on social media. 5
Thus, any solid marketing strategy should make use of the rich potential that video creates, particularly when used in conjunction with social media.
Like Instagram, YouTube is a highly visual, aspirational and informative lifestyle medium that is perfectly suited to the travel and leisure industry.
From ad campaigns to guided tours, testimonials, snapshots, tutorials and more, video marketing provides an ideal space to bring to life a multi-sensory experience that connects with your target audience on every level – crucial factors for any travel or leisure brand.
When creating your video marketing strategy it is essential to build in the following elements:
- Choose the right the type of targeted ads for your purpose.
There are a wealth of different types of video ads available so review the best match for each ad campaign according to your campaign goals.
YouTube enables you to target things like location, interests, lifestyle and more to launch targeted ads that reach your target market specifically. Don’t forget too, to take advantage of the opportunity to optimise your videos for SEO.
- High-quality content
Use a clear brand message that is easy for your audience to understand and a brand story connects with them on an emotional level. F
or example, take a look at Artifact Uprising’s brilliant use of a brand story for their custom photo gifts ad campaign.
- Embed persuasive call to actions
At the beginning of your videos and make use of the YouTube’ Join Now button to capture your target audience quickly.
- Face of your brand.
Understand who will be the face of your brand. You may even decide to use a influencer to really capture your audience’s attention.
Google Ads and SEO
SEO is an extensive digital marketing strategy with many elements that all hold enormous potential to significantly boost your potential to be found online by your target market.
Google Ads too, provide an unmissable opportunity to build a more profitable online presence.
Using techniques such as keyword optimisation, targeted Google Ads, Google Business, reviews, Google Analytics and more it is possible to stand out in the sea of competition that search listings create.
With a mobile-ready website and structured use of well-planned email marketing to ensure that your customers and website visitors remain with your brand long-term, you have a concrete set of marketing strategies that are specifically suited to the travel and leisure industry and guaranteed to increase your bookings.
As we begin to fully uncover the potential that digital marketing brings for travel and leisure companies to boost their bookings and build their brand, it is increasingly clear that a ROI requires a significant amount of time and expertise.
At Apollo , we deliver a complete range of digital marketing services to increase your bookings. Working solely for the travel and leisure industry, we have a deep knowledge of how to utilise online marketing for travel and leisure brands.
Whether you need social media marketing support, video marketing, SEO, online advertising or something else, give us a call on: 01730 239858 or contact us to have a chat about how we can help you.