Travel Industry Digital Marketing, PPC and SEO

The digital age has well and truly arrived when it comes to travel. Time spent flicking through brochures has been replaced by ‘Googling’ destinations or holiday types, and bookmarking favourite options for the family to a have look at on the laptop or tablet.

Statistic Brain figures show global internet bookings have increased 73% in five years, with 143 million customers now choosing to book a holiday online. What’s more, the ABTA Travel Trends report shows 96% of customers use a desktop computer at some stage of the booking phase. The device is also the overwhelming choice for the final transaction.

Along with highlighting the changing face of the travel agent, changes in technology also brings SEO and PPC for the travel industry into focus, because these elements paired with a strong website complete the travel agency storefront in the 21st century.

The foundations of an online store lie within content, responsiveness, and a well formulated SEO plan. From here a strong PPC campaign, and brand exposure, play a huge part in the successful management of a travel website.

Knowing your market is important, particularly when you may never physically meet. Mobile and tablet usage on travel websites in 2013 was an average 11% and 9% respectively, with the former rising to 29% for the 16-24 age group; if a travel website isn’t mobile responsive, then three in ten of your customers may miss out and never reach the checkout stage.

What’s more, a Mintel report shows that 52% of consumers find booking a holiday online to be better value for money.

Commenting on the report, Victoria Bacon, Head of Communications ABTA said “The important lesson for travel businesses is that they need to understand their customers’ needs, and build an integrated sales and marketing strategy to ensure they meet these needs, whatever stage of the researching and booking process customers may be at”.

Much like a travel agent in the 20th century would need to build a strong store front; the travel agent of the 21st century needs to build a strong infrastructure – websites are brochures, and brochures are customer’s gateway between looking for information and booking a holiday. The benefits of technology allow customers to complete this entire process with minimal fuss and inconvenience.

A well prepared SEO strategy will aid a website in improving its standing in SERPs (search engine results pages) and increase the chance of sales through search. From working on key landing pages, such as destination guides, to expanding a website to include new holiday types, there is underlying work that needs to be completed.

HTML page titles, meta descriptions, page tags and creative content form the basis of this, but Schema tags for reviews and local places searches also have their benefits. Social media management and content marketing also aid in building brand exposure and future proof backlink profile.

Effective PPC campaign management is essential as well; if competitors are ranking higher AND have a PPC setup that is driving more people to their website then it’s likely a travel website with less of a presence will struggle to convert. In the 20th century this was the difference between a travel agent with plush office on the high street benefitting from foot traffic and one that decided to save money and time by parking themselves in a side road with only a few passersby potentially looking through the window.

At the core of both of these is a strong keyword strategy, one with business objectives at its core and with an appeal to users across your target demographic.

Overall, the ABTA Travel Trends report highlights that across age-groups desktop usage for holiday preparation does not drop below 90%, with an increase to 98% of holiday planners 45 and over, the same number as 25-34 year olds. The 35-44 year old age group sit just below at 96% and 16-24 at 90%.

Taking these figures into account, without the right online strategy for a travel website, a travel agent could be missing out on 98 out of 100 customers.

Polaris is a PPC management company in London and Kent. If you would like to know more about our PPC services in London, give one of our friendly team a call on 020 3475 6799.

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