If you want to stay competitive in the travel industry, it’s extremely important that you take advantage of every tool you have at your disposal, and nothing is more effective than social media. Most consumers are active on various social media platforms and are spending more time than ever on them. This gives businesses the opportunity to reach out to a lot of people at once and at many different touchpoints. Read on as we discuss how tour operators can increase bookings through social media:
1. Decide What Platforms to Use
There are many social media networks that you can use to promote your travel business, but Facebook is by far the most effective. There are more users on Facebook than any other social media platform, giving you a better chance of reaching high numbers of potential customers. It really is simple to set up a page using your business name and make the page look attractive by using a good quality profile picture and a cover picture. You can then start posting some of your special offers and travel inspiration tips on your page. The beauty of this industry is that it’s fun and appealing, meaning people actually pay attention to what you post.
Instagram is also a great choice for travel agents and once again appeals to the visual nature of users interested in travel. By posting beautiful, high-quality images, you can generate lots of engagement on your page and try to direct people to your website. User generated content is a great way to grow your brand awareness – by asking past customers to upload their travel pictures using a special hashtag for your business, you get free publicity and a huge reach.
2. Put Money Behind Your Campaigns
After you have created a page on whichever platform/s you’ve chosen, it’s well worth considering promoting it. In such a competitive market, unless you take some steps to stand out from your rivals, no one will be even able to find you. All of the platforms have multiple ways to advertise with them and make it very easy to do, it’s in their interest of course! The reach you can get from putting a small amount of money behind a campaign may just surprise you.
We must mention that it is important that you consistently monitor the performance of your ads and how much you’re spending, otherwise, it could work out pretty expensive.
3. Create Engaging Content
It’s one thing to draw lots of visitors to your page, but the most important thing is that you don’t disappoint them. Your posts should be very entertaining and fun to read, which, in fairness, shouldn’t be too hard for travel! You can write about interesting places to visit, articles offering tips such as “10 things you should know while visiting Australia”, the list is endless!
4. Ask Help From Your Previous Customers
Nowadays, reviews play a massive part in the customer buying cycle. Consumers are relying more and more on peer to peer information and are more likely to book with a company that someone similar to them has booked with. Hence, having a good rating will give you an edge. A simple way to grow and improve your score is to request all your previous customers to share their experiences on your Facebook page and/or Trust Pilot/Trip Advisor and give you a good rating. Request them to post some of their pictures or even videos if possible.
5. Employ the Help of Travel Bloggers
There are plenty of travel bloggers online who are more than willing to help travel companies grow their online presence. The successful bloggers will have very popular Facebook pages and websites with thousands of viewers every day. As most of their followers are travel enthusiasts, it can prove to be a great place to promote your business. However, the bloggers may charge a fee, or you can also give them a special offer such as a discount rate or trip away.
6. Be Active
Unfortunately, using social media for your business is not something you do once and reap the rewards. You need to consistently post interesting content in order to grow your presence and bookings. The aim should be to become the ‘go-to’ resource in your specific niche.
If you really want to increase bookings, it may be a case that you need to make it someone’s full-time job to manage the company social media. If it’s done correctly, the return will be well worth the initial investment.
7. Organize Contents
Contests are a great way to engage your audience and are easy to conduct. The competition can be as simple as asking people to caption a photo or guess the destination. You’ll often find that if you add some form of initiative to enter that you can reach new potential customers, especially if you couple this with some paid promotion.
About the Author
Rita Marsden is an experienced travel professional and especially loves visiting new destinations in the US and Canada. She loves to write about her experiences in the hope of inspiring others to get out and explore.