Then Covid-19 happened, and many travel plans were either canceled or put on hold indefinitely. Before the pandemic, hesitant travelers mainly worried about the language barrier, running out of money, or having an unpleasant experience. Now, they are most apprehensive about contracting the virus while on vacation. Indeed, the coronavirus has drastically impacted the tourism industry worldwide, including accommodations, attractions, airlines, food and drink services, and travel companies. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development predicted that tourism could lose over $4 trillion in revenue for 2020 and 2021.
But despite the uncertainty, some travel companies continue to thrive by optimizing their online presence to reach their target audience. Yes, the internet is a powerful tool, and here are three effective ways travel companies are using it to promote themselves.
Creating Inspiring Content
There was a time when glossy travel brochures, catchy radio jingles, and ubiquitous television commercials were the main methods of attracting customers. But the rise of the internet, specifically social media, has changed this. According to a survey, 52 percent of Facebook users plan their holidays based on recommendations and photos posted by their friends.
And while social media seem to be the to-go site for people looking for vacation inspiration, blogs have become a vital source for travel advice and opinion. Research shows that people planning their trips often “lend greater credibility to blogs than to traditional marketing.” Another study reveals that 70 percent of customers discover a company by reading articles instead of viewing ads. Travel consumers find blogs more trustworthy and relatable because they reflect real people’s experiences and insights. About 329 million individuals read blogs each month. On the other hand, the growing cases of cybercrimes make customers generally suspicious and hesitant of clicking on ads. Google reported that 56 percent of digital advertisements are never even seen.
Maintaining a robust presence on the internet by developing a creative and comprehensive blogging platform gives tourism businesses a substantial opportunity to influence people’s travel plans. Regularly publishing fresh and quality content increases SEO and search traffic, attracts more inbound links, and enables companies to build consumer trust and establish their brand.
But keeping up a blog site with entertaining, informative and polished content can be exhausting and time-consuming. For this reason, many marketers of travel companies prefer to create engaging content around their offering, such as Oliver’s Travels, to build a dynamic presence on the internet. Apart from keeping their target audience engaged, it also allows them to reach more potential customers.
People leave all sorts of digital footprints when they travel, from online purchases to destination searches to hotel bookings and itineraries saved in electronic calendars. The travel industry can gain endless opportunities for growth using consumer information. Without a doubt, big data is crucial in market research. But how are travel companies utilizing this to stay on top of the competition?
Data helps companies make better decisions, from keeping up with the technological advancements in tourism to offering the latest vacation trends. It does not only help tourism businesses improve their marketing strategies but also provides insights for enhancing customer experience. Data allows them to adapt well to the ever-changing landscape of the tourism industry. For example, many companies shifted their focus to bespoke services and customized packages after statistics reveal that 90 percent of travelers prefer personalization over standard processes.
Moreover, the information available from various trusted websites enables travel companies to create engaging and instructive content which aids their audience in choosing the best vacation options.
For instance, the award-winning site Cool Camping collects data from different online sources to create a list of the top campsites in the UK, France, and other parts of Europe. It also recommends camping activities that suit the interests, abilities, and needs of its audience.
Online reviews are vital data that travel companies should never ignore. A survey shows that 93 percent of customers check out online reviews before purchasing a product. The same applies to people planning a trip. That is why most, if not all, travel agencies ask for online reviews from customers. Negative feedback helps them improve their processes, while positive ones serve as valuable promotional tools. Lastly, companies that respond to each review and are honest and transparent have higher trust ratings.
With the growing concern about the environment and the impact tourism has on it, many travelers are finding greener ways to spend their holidays. But not only that. As people’s behavior shifts towards environmental consciousness, many look for ethical options in their trips. And so, we witness the rise of responsible tourism. However, responsible tourism isn’t just another niche tourism or merely a travel buzzword. Numerous experts believe that it will be the standard of traveling in the years to come. But what exactly is responsible tourism?
The Cape Town Declaration 2002 characterizes responsible tourism as one that “minimizes negative economic, environmental and social impacts.” It is culturally sensitive and promotes respect between visitors and hosts, helping preserve natural and historical heritage by embracing diversity. More importantly, it allows tourists to enjoy more meaningful connections with locals and delve deeper into the cultural, social, and environmental aspects of the place they are visiting.
Some companies are using their online platforms to educate individuals about being responsible tourists. Nature activities and off-the-beaten-path spots are rising in popularity as tour agencies try to steer masses away from the usually crowded attractions. Companies are starting to endorse clean-up drives, ecotours, and cultural immersions. Rainforest Cruises, for instance, does not only offer cruise services but also educates its audience about cultural diversity and environmental concern.