How Travel Companies Can Get Ahead in 2020/21

Frida Kops   ● 7 min read
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Traveller sentiment is changing and so is the digital landscape. How travel companies can get ahead in 2020/21 and ensure its marketing campaigns have the greatest impact is by taking into account the following 5 trends happening in the digital marketing world right now.

1️. Search: Google search adds features around COVID-19.

When users search for travel to a particular destination using the Google Flights tab (found next to Shopping, Images etc), it now shows government travel advisory notices applicable to the searchers current location. 

If you’re going to spend money on advertising, it’s worth looking at this section because Google Travel also reveals the percentage of flights that are operating which may impact a traveller’s decision-making process. This will in turn impact the success of your ad campaign.

2️. CRM: Use customer data to enhance the guest experience.

Tour operators are already familiar with the concept of capturing customer data to personalise communication. However, could you take this a step further and use the data to personalise a customer’s experience?

One way to do this is by asking customers to complete a pre-travel questionnaire. Questions could range from asking them what their favourite wine or cocktail is so you could have it ready on arrival, or if they are celebrating a special occasion.

It’s the simple touches that can surprise and delight your guests throughout their trip, which could lead to 5* reviews and a repeat booking.

3. Social Media: Instagram launches Reels.

Instagram has rolled out a brand new feature that rivals TikTok. It’s a 15 second video format with audio, effects, and other new creative tools. Reels can be viewed from your feed or through a new space in the Explore section.

At the moment, advertising opportunities aren’t available but it’s a chance for your tour operator business to experiment with playful organic content that will increase your visibility to the wider Instagram community within the Explore section.

4️. Display: COVID-19 demands creativity from display campaign CTAs.

The way travellers are planning their trips and experiences has changed during the pandemic due to traveller anxiety. As a result, tour operators should experiment with softer calls-to-action. 

For example, go beyond the typical “Book Now” CTA and A/B test softer alternatives such as “Check Availability”, “Find Out More” and “Explore Now.” 

For domestic marketing and impulse bookings, “Get Away” and “Experience Now” focus on the travel experience itself rather than the transaction. 

5. Design: Breaking typography rules.

Designers are creating fresh, visually engaging campaigns by breaking typography rules. This includes using odd font sizing and line spacing. 

If you’re going to try this for yourself, then ensure that the message you are trying to convey is still clearly communicated. 

Image Courtesy Of

What do you think of these emerging trends? Would you apply any of them?

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Here’s last week’s…

I don’t believe that 2020 is a lost year for those in the travel industry. There’s still time in Q4 and going into 2021 for your travel business to make an impact. A strong brand message, a well designed website and adaptive, creative thinking are just some things that will help you achieve this.

Let’s get started.

Here's this week's roundup:

Your Brand: Why it Matters Now, More Than Ever

Source: Arival

This article explains that consumers are choosing brands that have a clear brand message and hold the same values that they see in themselves. 

As a tour operator, what you offer is typically the most memorable part of a trip and those emotional connections begin during the planning and booking phase. You don’t need to spend big money on marketing campaigns in order to have an impactful brand message. 

This article highlights 5 practical tips you can do to build your brand today.

1. Establish the personality of your brand

Your brand is more than just a logo and the tours you offer. It’s your voice, your style, and what you stand for. List out five adjectives to describe your tour operator business and always have these in the forefront of your mind when putting together your marketing campaigns, your blog articles and your website.

Whilst you define what you are, also use this exercise to define what you aren’t. It’s just as important. 

2. Write a meaningful value proposition

This only needs to be one or two sentences but the purpose is to explain how your tours and experiences answer your customers’ needs or improves their life.

3. Create your mission statement

Write your mission statement as part of your brand strategy to ensure it aligns. This is where you voice your company’s purpose. 

4. Create your own style guide

A style guide is useful to ensure consistency across all communications. It doesn’t need to be a huge document. Here are some key things to include:

  • Typography – select a font family
  • Colour palette – primary and secondary colours
  • Logo variations
  • Tone of voice
  • Image presets – i.e. if you edit your photos in Lightroom or if you use Instagram then select one filter that you’ll use consistently for all images.

5. Live and breathe your brand!

Let your brand shine through during all aspects of the customer’s journey –  from a customer’s planning phase to after their trip.

Image Courtesy Of ARIVAL

‘Book Your Bubble’ - New Private Travel Benefits for Groups of Family and Friends

UK tour operator, G Adventures, have asked their audience what they want and responded. A recent survey revealed that “32% of travellers across the UK and Ireland intend to take their next trip with multiple friends and / or family members.” 

In response to this, they launched ‘Book Your Bubble Collection’ – a new 80 tour programme. It allows people to enjoy travel experiences in the safety of their own ‘private bubble’ yet it offers more benefits than a small private tour booking. For example, flexible booking policies, incentives and discounts.

Image Courtesy of Travel Daily News

Thinking of Skipping Vacation? Don’t!

I’ve included this article for two reasons. 

  1. I thought it was valuable advice for you personally. It’s been a rough year so far and no doubt stressful trying to keep your business afloat. But studies show that performance drastically dips when we work for long periods without time off. So you need to give yourself permission to practice what you preach and take yourself on a vacation.
  2. This is an excellent piece of content to adapt, share, talk about with your potential customers. 

Read the full article for guidelines on how you and your customers can reap the benefits of a holiday.

electravk/Getty Images

Here are my top-tip articles:

21 Traits of Poorly Designed Websites

Many tour operators that our team at 10x Tourism have spoken to have used the downtime to evaluate their website’s performance. This article divides the most common website oversights by top, middle and bottom of funnel. 

Tour operators could take a closer look at #18 that relates to case studies. Overly brief customer testimonials or simply copy and pasting a block of text written by a customer won’t stand out on your website. Instead, try using videos, user-generated photos, testimonial quotes, bold text, italics and bullet points to make a testimonial come alive.  Consider traits #13 and #20 too. 

How many of these traits can you identify on your website?

Image Courtesy Of Business 2 Community

Comment: How the Travel Sector Can Navigate Away from Redundancies Amid Covid-19

In one way or another, most travel companies have had to make changes to their workforce, such as salary cuts or putting staff on furlough. If this isn’t enough to keep your travel business afloat, the next logical step may feel like redundancies. This article explores alternatives to this. 

One popular measure is combining a reduction in pay with a reduction in work hours. Or reassigning staff elsewhere in your company if they possess transferable skills. 

Have you found any effective ways of keeping your A-star team?


How to Build a Business That Last 100 Years

Source: TedTalk

This is a TedTalk by strategist, Martin Reeves. I found it interesting that when this was recorded in 2016, he hints at what is happening today. 

Reeves draws on case studies to explain how you should apply six principles that exist in our own immune system in order to future-proof your business. These are:

  1. Redundancy
  2. Diversity
  3. Modularity
  4. Adaptation
  5. Prudence; and 
  6. Embeddedness. 

At the core, is changing the way businesses owners think – from mechanical to biological.

We need to think more modestly and subtly about when and how we can shape, rather than control, unpredictable and complex situations.” – Martin Reeves

Watch the 15 min video and let me know if you agree with Reeves or not?

A statistic I found interesting:

25% of consumers will pay more for trusted brands and 23% will pay more for ethical brands. (Ernst & Young)

A question for you:

What’s your business priority in Q4 of this year?

Share your thoughts and comments on our Facebook and Linkedin page or drop me an email at [email protected] – I’d love to hear from you.

Did you enjoy reading the above?

The 10xpress is a weekly 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.
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  • Tips and tools on how to improve your tour operator business, generate more sales and make your life easier.
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