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Travel’s return is firmly on the horizon, so today I want to focus on making sure you’re not just targeting your ideal customers, but making the type of impression that has scroll-stopping power.
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Here's this week's roundup:
How Travel PR has Changed Since COVID-19
We’ve seen how storytelling has evolved throughout the pandemic from aspirational stories to nostalgic reminiscing to stay-at-home experiences.
This article provides valuable insight into the ways in which travel PR will continue to change. It’s largely a result of consumers seeking to engage with the world (a new travel mindset) rather than escape it (an old travel mindset).
“The pandemic and other recent world events have taught us that we can’t turn a blind eye to the issues this planet faces, as much as we may want to. Travel that illuminates the world and motivates us to make it better will thrive. Media will be on the lookout for stories related to this.” – Norie Quintos, independent editorial consultant and editor-at-large at National Geographic Travel
Deeper press coverage of sustainability, the environment, and diversity are predicted as detailed below.
The logistics of press trips will be more complex
The future of press trips is still unclear as international travel struggles to recover and logistically, there’s a lot to consider.
- What happens if someone from the press gets COVID whilst on a trip?
- How do travel companies manage resources when the likelihood of cancellations can be high and last minute?
- Will a writer be critical when reporting on health and safety measures?
Travel companies must also be sensitive to the fact that not all travel writers will be keen to travel internationally immediately. Underlying health conditions, age, weighing up the risk to their family and the rate at which people are vaccinated are factors that each writer will take into account based on their own personal circumstances.
Social media will continue to skyrocket as a form of press coverage
Consumers are placing greater trust in social media platforms as educational resources when making travel decisions. Therefore tour operators may want to consider media partners who are highly engaged on social media and weave this into their strategy.
In-destination writers gain popularity to provide a new perspective
Using local writers solves the issue of the uncertainty surrounding international travel, plus it’s cost-effective. Consumers are also seeking authentic, local experiences so choosing to work with a local media representative is a great strategy to add credibility.
“In consideration of climate change and our planet, this strategy makes more sense. Journalists will be able to stay closer to home, taking fewer flights, and will be able to report on their locations with a greater sense of depth,” says Michaela Trimble, a freelance writer for Departures, New York Times, and Conde Nast Traveler.
It is hoped that diversity across travel media will become prevalent
In 2020, the absence of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) being represented in tourism and travel media came to a head.
“It’s estimated that the United States will become a non-white majority population by the year 2045… If we’re not successful in attracting, retaining, and expanding the number of people of color who represent the fastest-growing segment of our population, what happens when these emerging communities grow beyond the current white majority of the United States?” – James Edward Mills, journalist, and author of the book The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors.
Writers can play a role in representing BIPOC in travel media by choosing to capture a more diverse database through their photography and including this in their storytelling – both in written word and via visual representation.
How Attitudes Towards Travel Have Changed Since The Pandemic
Source: Travel Daily News
There are many interesting statistics contained in this article which reports on the latest findings by comparethemarket.com. These findings are in relation to consumer attitudes towards travel, segmented by age demographic.
If millennials are your audience, then did you know that the majority (63%) don’t find last-minute deals appealing? They’d prefer to book a trip in advance. This means showcasing your payment options could be a better strategy.
Conversely, 24% of 35 to 44-year-olds will opt for last-minute getaways to secure the best possible promotion.
Taking out travel insurance that covers COVID is without a doubt the greatest shift in attitude since the pandemic, with 40% of respondents saying this is a top priority when booking a trip. Travel companies could utilise this insight to their advantage by adding educational resources to their website that offer guidance for travellers.
Oyster Travel Enjoys £125,000 Surge In Bookings
Source: TTG Media
In case you’re not seeing the surge in bookings you’d expect following the vaccine rollout, UK tour operator, Oyster Travel reveals the booking trends they’re experiencing.
- Large groups – the majority of group bookings are coming from people rebooking from last year but increasing the group size to accommodate family and friends.
- Higher budgets – blowout holidays as a reward for all of the money saved during lockdown. One family spent £27,000 on a trip to Kenya with Oyster Travel.
- Family bookings – with so many families forced apart during the pandemic, a strong desire to spend quality time together whilst enjoying new surroundings has emerged.
- A focus on trips from September 2021 onwards – Oyster Travel has seen just one booking for a trip to the Maldives that departs on the 18th of May. Most bookings are towards the end of 2021 where there are hopes of greater certainty around travel restrictions.
Could you adapt your offering to jump on these trends too?
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Stop Doom Scrolling: 10 Strategies to Engage Your Audience On Their Phones
Source: Marketing Insider Group
It’s no surprise to learn that thanks to the pandemic, we’ve formed a habit of being on our phones all the time. Why is it then that so many travel companies neglect mobile marketing?
Smart travel companies realise that phones provide a direct line of communication to their ideal customers. It removes the need to work on optimising reach and impressions from ads or deciphering algorithms.
Here are the top 10 mobile marketing strategies to engage your target audience:
- SMS Marketing – SMS marketing can work extremely well for businesses when the copy is personable and conversational instead of spammy. One topic per text is plenty.
- Mobile-first social media strategies – Most people scroll through SnapChat, TikTok, and Instagram on their mobile device. Instead of using these platforms to promote an offer, share things that you know your target audience will like. Keep content light-hearted and fun.
- Create your own app – It enables you to engage your audience anytime with timely push notifications. This may not be appropriate for SMEs, however in terms of investment.
- Video content – In 2021, 63% of all mobile traffic is from video, and by 2025 that figure will rise to 76%. Before creating any video content, ask yourself what your audience cares about or finds interesting. For example, could it be the local community, sustainability, wildlife, food, or arts and culture? Use this as a basis to create a video series.
5. Rethink mobile-first content strategies – This article recommends allowing your readers to browse content freely without gated lead forms and avoid pop-ups on mobile content.
6. Personalise – Building a personal relationship with your audience is the key to securing travel bookings, rebookings, and recommendations. First name personalisation is a great start, but consider going a step further by customizing your marketing efforts by interest, location, and any other customer data you may hold.
7. Optimize your email campaigns for mobile – The best way to begin is by segmenting your database by type of mobile device so you can drill down into the details such as how much content will appear on each scroll.
46% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. (Hubspot)
8. Offer tangible value – Offer value over promotions. This strategy will create engagement which leads to trust, and then comes bookings. Suggestions: offer solutions, teach your audience something new, inspire them, make them laugh, or answer their questions.
9. Create incentives – Incentives such as referral schemes or user-generated competitions provide your target audience with a reason to talk about your travel company.
10. Promote reviews – In 2020, 60% of consumers read reviews on their mobile devices. However, the key to actually receiving a review is about timing and tact according to this article. An element of urgency combined with the right language to grab the attention of your reader is what’s needed to push your past customers to leave a review at that moment.
What mobile marketing strategies will you adopt for your tour operator business this year?
How to Get 88% Open Rates and 56% CTRs Using Facebook Messenger Bots
Source: Neil Patel
Facebook Messenger bots are “a mashup of social, mobile, and instant messaging power, which is exactly the direction that marketing is going” according to Neil Patel.
This in-depth article answers why you should have a Facebook Messenger Bot, how to increase your open rates by using one, and the question we all want to know the answer to – what’s the easiest way to create a Facebook Messenger bot?
What Facebook Messenger Can Do
Facebook Messenger Bots are a very similar tool to email marketing. You can:
- Deliver messaging sequences to your target audience inside Facebook Messenger.
- Create a sales funnel.
- Send resources and lead magnets downloads via Messenger.
- Have automated conversations with real Facebook users by adopting AI.
How Facebook Messenger Bots Work
One way to use Facebook Messenger Bots is to embed a link on your travel business website that looks very similar to a CTA button. For example, you could offer a lead magnet that is sent to a web visitor via Facebook Messenger. See the example below.
When that person clicks through onto Facebook and writes a message, this will trigger a response that you have pre-programmed based on keywords.
A different option that travel companies may prefer is to write out a list of multiple-choice questions and compile pre-written responses to each question. This feels more like a conversation and works particularly well with initial enquiries and customer service.
Based on responses, the bot might send the Facebook user a travel brochure, link them to your FAQs, point to your website’s landing page, or escalate the enquiry to your sales team to follow up on.
How to Increase Open Rates Using Facebook Messenger Bots
Here are some tips:
- Use a hook for your opening message to ensure your reader is engaged. Some ideas: ask a question, talk about one of your tours that you think they’d like, help them figure out an itinerary.
- Want to send multiple-choice questions? Make sure they’re engaging so the reader remains in the conversation.
- Give your Facebook messenger bot a persona. This may be your CEO, for example.
- Ask guiding questions. Carefully steer your leads closer to a conversion.
Why Should I Use Facebook Messenger Bots?
- 88% open rates and 56% CTRs are persuasive statistics to at least try a Facebook Messenger bot.
- The likelihood of your ideal customer using Facebook Messenger is high because there are 2.6 billion Facebook Messenger users every month.
- It removes email fatigue (yes, this is a thing).
- It’s less work to create a list of Facebook Messenger leads than it is to create an email list. It’s a one-click subscription module as opposed to entering your email address, clicking submit, then confirming your email, and so on.
- A Facebook Messenger bot can have a sequence just like an email campaign can, but these sequences are much faster. They are instant responses as opposed to waiting a day for another email.
- Responses are instant and in real-time. This will help close sales faster.
- Since your leads are already on Facebook, you can create retargeting campaigns very easily.
- Facebook Messenger is optimized for mobile and desktop.
How to Create Your Own Interactive Facebook Messenger Bot
There are two ways to create a Facebook Messenger bot – the easy way or the programmer’s way.
The full article goes into detail on both these options, but if you have no coding experience then the easy way is simply using a third-party platform such as MobileMonkey.com, ChatFuel, or ManyChat.
If you don’t already use a Facebook Messenger Bot, has this article persuaded you to give it a try?
Google My Business Report Shows How People Found Your Business
Source: Search Engine Land
The new release of Google My Business’ performance report has added a section that analyses how people discovered your travel business, whether they found it from Google Maps, Google Search, desktop, or mobile. It also shows you a breakdown of what search terms returned your travel company’s profile in the results. This will enable you to learn how you can improve your ranking.
Here’s what the report looks like:
The updated GMB help document explains the changes that Google have made to the Insights section and some caveats to the data:
- The metrics represent unique users so if a user lands on your page more than once a day, they will only be counted once.
- Since the metric focuses on views of your Business Profile, rather than overall views of your Business on Google, it’s worth noting that the number of views may be lower than on Google My Business and in your email reports.
Did you enjoy reading the above?
The 10xpress is a monthly series curated exclusively for travel companies like you
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- Reports, opinion, case studies, and key findings that directly impact the tours and activities sector.
- Educational articles to guide you through the changing world of online sales and marketing from industry leaders.
- Tips and tools on how to improve your tour operator business, generate more sales and make your life easier.
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