What Story Does Your Data Tell?
This article forms part of a weekly newsletter series that’s sent directly to travel industry professionals every month.
Want to be the first to receive it straight to your inbox?
This month I want to focus on deep diving into your analytics, and how to fully harness your metrics when planning a killer future campaign strategy. Whether your tourism business is running on organic growth or paid ads campaigns, everyone has the ability to implement data storytelling for success.
Let’s get started.
- Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment (4th October 2021)
- Is it Time to Hit the Refresh Button on Your Paid Search Strategy?
- Staffing Challenges on the Road to Recovery
- Data Storytelling: The Path From Insights to Customer Success
- The 8 Best Instagram Analytics Tools for Measuring Your Metrics
- 7 Steps to Create a Stellar Niche Ads Campaign for Your Tourism Business
Here's this week's roundup:
Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment (4th October 2021)
Source: Destination Analyst’s
While Americans’ travel marketability continues to gradually recover, this report published on 4th October shows that there has been a slight decline since June in travel demand due to external factors such as financial worries, politics, and seasonality.
Here are 7 key takeaways from the report:
- Only 33.5% of American travellers think it’s a good time to spend on travel, down from 41.3% in just 2 weeks.
- Now fewer than half (48.7%) say that leisure travel is a budget priority, down from 55.0%.
- In terms of planning dream trips, 68.2% of Americans reported planning their dream trip as opposed to 78.7% back in June.
- A positive point to note is that 30% of all American travelers—and nearly 57% of those who travel internationally—say this announcement of reopening the U.S border to international travellers makes them more interested in traveling in the next six months.
- Over half (53.6%) of American travelers continue to say that what’s recently happened with the Delta variant makes them less interested in traveling.
- Also, the recent progress towards COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 have made 32.9% of American travelers more interested in traveling in the next six months.
- Similarly, while 73.3% remain in a ready-to-travel state-of-mind, this was at 82.8% in June.
I want to emphasize, however, that although these statistics seem negative, they should not be a cause for panic and are nuanced by many other factors.
For example take the valuable resource – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which has been keeping real-time tabs on the traveler throughput against the same day in 2021, 2020, and 2019.
What we clearly see is that in October 2020, traveler throughput was 30% of pre-pandemic travel levels in October 2019. Devastating, but a huge improvement on just 3.6% back in April 2020.
However, October 2021 has now rebounded to more than 70% of pre-pandemic levels – so you can see how close we now are to a total tourism recovery in Q4 2021.
So there’s some real market confidence in the USA right now.
If you’re a U.S tour operator, how is everything going right now?
Is it Time to Hit The Refresh Button on Your Paid Search Strategy?
Source: Travel News Daily
Despite predictions that European travel spending won’t fully recover until 2024, 7 out of 10 frequent travellers are expected to pack their suitcases once again for 2022 (if they haven’t been doing so already). Now is the time for your tourism business to hit refresh on your paid search strategy.
According to Statista, 51% of holiday plans originate from online searches globally, it comes as no surprise that paid search should be a popular advertising avenue for your tourism business. However, paid search advertising strategies are often not well executed by businesses, with nearly half (42.3%) reporting they have no system in place to track the efficiency and progress of their campaign. Therefore, at a time where tourism businesses are focused on investing wisely, it’s vital to work out how much of your paid search advertising budget is delivering a return and how much is going to waste.
The solution lies in the following;
- Acquiring a 360-degree view of your customer
Having a full understanding of your typical customers’ behaviour and triggers by segment will make it easier to pinpoint which stage of the customer journey paid search will be most effective for you. Many tools are available to help travel marketers, however, we all need a little help sometimes – click here to find out how we helped Nick Hathaway, from 45 Degrees Sailing with our 10x in-house support system.
- Monitor your traffic
Search campaigns are a powerful strategy, but part of the problem with many PPC campaigns is that they aren’t executed to target the 3% of your audience looking to buy, focusing on the quantity of traffic and not the quality. Since a lot of traffic for online travel content will be organic, your tourism business could be wasting money by bidding your name to searches who were already looking for them. Understanding who your buyer personas are will go a long way in running a successful paid search campaign.
- Keep a weather eye open
Keeping up to date on travel trends, and being open to adapting strategies in order to optimise your campaigns for the current market isn’t just vital – it’s necessary. Customers’ travel behaviours have undergone drastic changes since 2020 and will continue to do so. We’ve all had to learn to remain agile and open-minded to change, this applies to your paid search strategy.
Still not convinced?
Here are 3 benefits of paid search campaigns
- Can be extremely targeted. Paid search is different from many traditional marketing channels because it allows potential customers to come to you as they’re seeking out the specific product or service you provide.
- Quick to execute. Unlike SEO, you’re able to see results from paid search campaigns much quicker. It also only takes a few hours to set up an effective paid search campaign, as there are creative assets to design and upload. However, they do require long-term care.
- Measurable results. Key to data storytelling, and making effective business decisions for the future. Google Ads allows you to measure results for each ad, each keyword, and even each user. Connecting a Google Analytics account to your campaign helps to establish effective monitoring of your campaign, and identify what’s working and what’s not working.
Staffing Challenges on The Road to Recovery
Source: Adventure Travel News
Since 2020 the travel industry has been operating on a turbulent and unsteady road to recovery. With so much financial consternation from negative cash flow, furlough confusions, and staffing supply versus consumer demand yo-yos, tourism businesses have weathered a particularly bad storm, and continue to do so in many regions and sectors.
If you’re one of the many tourism businesses that had to streamline and let staff go in 2020, then a cycle of travel demand peaks and troughs have probably left you asking the question “how should I staff right now?”.
While there is no definitive answer, here are 5 questions for your tourism business to consider.
- Are your current resources properly aligned with the demands of today?
This is an excellent time to realign your tourism business and evolve – for example, reconfiguring any roles of active staff, or minimizing areas producing little to no ROI. Your sales team may be more efficient working as a collaborative sales and operations team for instance.
- Will an increase in staff ensure growth?
If you’re concerned about expanding your team, delve into other opportunities first, such as how powerful your marketing is at attracting new customers. Measuring this data will allow you to identify demand more accurately.
- Do you have enough staff to manage a 10%-20% increase in bookings?
Look at your team’s capacity, if they don’t have the ability or time to increase their workload, consider dropping daily tasks that don’t contribute towards sales growth.
- Do you have the liquidity to hire any staff right now?
If the answer is no, but you desperately need to expand to serve customer demand then consider a creative financial model such as a commission model or hybrid. Bonus tiers can work for individual staff when making revenue milestones.
- Is there the ability to job share with another company, or hire a temp?
Perhaps you have a complementary tourism business or vendor where you could share staffing resources. This can be a great way to minimise expenses while gaining new insights and time from a part-time member. You can define the time required and the expense for the project without a long-term commitment.
While we can be sure that the industry is on the rebound, it won’t operate the same as it did. In many ways, we may be better for it. Now is a time to move forward, utilising more sustainable principles so the next time our industry is shaken to the core, we’ll be able to take the hit softer than before.
Want The 10xpress delivered straight to your inbox?
Don’t miss important news, reports, opinion, and case studies in the travel industry!
Join our community of tourism businesses who are the first to receive this curated quick-to-read email series every month in their inbox.
Data Storytelling: The Path from Insights to Customer Success
Source: Marketing Insider Group
If you want to craft compelling content for your target audience, the story can be found within your metrics.
We already know an emotional connection with your audience is essential. For instance, the emotional part of the human brand processes information ⅕ of the time that the rational side requires. Furthermore, ads that target an audience’s emotions trigger a 23% boost in sales.
But while an emotional connection with your audience is essential, you could be missing out on huge opportunity gaps by neglecting to utilize your data effectively.
A recent Deloitte study found that at the top of the sales funnel, “rational considerations…dominate.” Therefore, organizing your data with a focus on your target audience will give you an idea of what kinds of content resonates with them most.
With this in mind here is a step-by-step guide to data storytelling.
Firstly, take a look at your…
- Internal data – Gather data from your social media, and content analytics to paint a picture of the prospects and customers you’re trying to reach. Don’t forget to gather key insights from one-to-one conversations you’ve had with guests either in person, by email, or over the phone.
Often these interactions provide a sentiment from your target market on what their key interests and pain points are.
- External Data – While internal data provides a unique data story from your side of your travel niche, it helps to have supporting data alongside. Keep up to date with travel industry insights as well as your competitors, what’s been the clear stars and strikes of their content and social media marketing campaign? Could you take lessons learned and apply them to your content?
These sources could include:
- Academic papers
- Government publications
- Research firms’ publications
- White papers
- Industry organizations
- Well-researched news stories
- Well-researched books, films, and videos
- Quotes from interviews with industry experts
Always include links to relevant sources so your audience can read the information themselves.
Then it’s time to…
- Use Rational Arguments to Connect the Dots
Unless there is a rational argument that underpins your content, your target audience won’t book a tour with you. Be as specific as you can with itineraries, and blog articles. Connect the dots in a way that’s heartfelt, but also shows you to be the authority on the subject.
- Now, Blend Your Data and Storytelling Skills for a Killer Brand Story
Start by searching your data for the story. What do your metrics tell you about your audience’s interests and anxieties while planning their dream trip?
Organizing your data with a focus on your target audience will give you an idea of what kinds of content resonate with them most.
Beginning, development, and Ending: The elements of data storytelling
Create a rough draft
It can be useful to take a visual approach by creating a storyboard to sketch out each part of your idea or write out a rough outline to guide your thinking.
Data is what makes the data story. Do extensive research to support your storyline
- Focus on your target audience’s needs and challenges. What will they glean from your storyline?
- Search for supporting data via internal and external, secondary and primary if necessary.
- Consider contradictory data to ensure you’re prepared for the opposition.
Writing your story
Now you’ve found the story to run with from your data, it’s time to make a start on your first draft – This video below gives 10 insightful tips on how to overcome the fear of creating that first draft.
Don’t forget the heart to the data, delivering a healthy dose of empathy in your story will draw your audience in and give you an extra edge.
Utilising your visuals
The nature of the tourism industry is based on visuals, from aquamarine waters lapping up against beautiful white sandy beaches, to mesmerizing rainforests, you already know the power visuals have on your potential customers in the buying process.
Opting for infographics to accompany your data story will evoke emotion from your audience, it also helps them to remember your content more, thus returning when they’re ready to plan their dream trip.
Fun fact: When you hear information, you’ll only remember 10% of it three days afterward. If you show a visual along with the spoken word, they retain 65% of it.
In terms of adding video content to give your data storytelling an essential pop, a recent HubSpot survey showed 54% of the consumers they interviewed wanted to see more video content from the brands they follow.
Fill the gaps and filter out the noise
Fleshing out your content with convincing arguments and supporting references will ensure you maintain your E.A.T principles to enhance your Google ranking.
While filtering out the noise by eliminating wordy sentences and tangential references, allows for your story to become more targeted and specific.
Data storytelling encompasses the best of both worlds. Tapping into emotion while offering your audience rationale for buying. It’s a lot of hard work but you’ll reap the rewards from putting in the extra effort.
The 8 Best Instagram Analytics Tools for Measuring Your Metrics
How is your Instagram game going? From tracking engagement to the minefield that is hashtags, gone are the days of posting to Instagram and hoping for the best.
Monitoring and benchmarking your Instagram data will help you address concerns regarding your content marketing efforts. But, you need to dig deeper than simple vanity metrics. The best way to achieve this is through dedicated tools that help you understand how your Instagram efforts are paying off.
The 3 goals you want to achieve when deep diving into your analytics through the native tools on Instagram are;
- Knowing whether your followers are actually engaged
- If your content is reaching your audience
- How your competitors are matching up against your tourism business profile.
Here are the ultimate 8 tools for measuring and tracking your Instagram analytics:
First up is Instagram’s native tool itself found within your business Instagram account. This free analytics tool app provides you with basic insights into your account performance, including reach, engagement, followers and Instagram ads. Although this app covers the fundamentals of your analytics, it may not be the best tool if you’re serious about Instagram marketing. For longer-term tracking, more in depth analytics or to export your data for a social media report, you’ll need to look at other tools.
2. Hootsuite Analytics
A level up from Instagram native tools, Hootsuite Analytics will allow you to;
- See your data from the distant past
- Compare metrics over specific time periods to get a historical perspective
- Show you data from the distant past
- Compare metrics over specific time periods to get a historical perspective
- Show you the best posting time based on past engagement, reach, and click-through data
- Generate downloadable custom reports
- Look at specific post-performance using your preferred metrics
- Monitor your account’s response time in customer service conversations
- Rank Instagram comments by sentiment (positive or negative
3. Hootsuite Impact
If the above wasn’t enough, for an even more in-depth overview of your metrics performance, then perhaps this tool is the ticket. Hootsuite Impact provides valuable ROI analysis for both organic and paid Instagram activity, as well as allowing you to compare metrics for different social accounts. Going beyond just measuring metrics, Hootsuite Impact can also deliver custom recommendations for tweaking your strategy based on the gathered data and on your specific goals.
4. Creator Studio
A desktop-based native Instagram business analytics tool to have under your belt. Creator Studio gives you access to most of the same metrics as Instagram Insights, but unfortunately only for a 7-day window. However, the nifty calendar view enables you to see exactly when you’re posting to Instagram and can help with your feed layout strategy.
The Instagram audit tool is a great place to start with Iconosquare. This free tool enables you to see data on your reach, likes, saves, engagement, and more just like Instagram Insights. It also provides valuable insights into how your Instagram metrics stack up against the average rates on the platform.
This tool specialises in Instagram hashtag analytics and keyword tracking. You can use Keyhole to measure how branded hashtags perform, track promotions and user-generated content through Instagram contests in real-time – a great tactic for your tourism business to raise engagement with your profile. You can also use it to track analytics when you work with influencers on your trips.
With this tool you get access to a free, easy-to-use Instagram engagement calculator, allowing you to check your own account…or someone else’s. The main objective of this for your tourism business is to be able to pre-screen potential influencers and brand ambassadors that you could work with to promote your tours.
8. Facebook Ads Manager
Facebook Ads Manager is a key resource in your analytics toolbox if you’re running paid campaigns on Instagram. Here you can find all your performance and cost information for all the ads you place within the Facebook portfolio of products, including Instagram. Although you can get performance information for your Instagram promotions within your Instagram Insights, you’ll need to incorporate Ads Manager if you want to perform a thorough cost analysis.
A basic sales funnel structure follows the AIDA structure;
- Awareness: the prospect becomes aware of a company
- Interest: They are interested in what the company sells
- Decision: They compare various solutions
- Action: They make a purchase
How should your tourism business use sales funnels?
Taking a closer look at your sales-funnel will improve your marketing decisions for your tourism business. The questions you should be asking yourself are;
- Am I getting enough prospects into each stage of the funnel?
- Are the leads converting?
- Are they converting fast enough?
- Are the leads valuable to us (quality vs quantity)?
- Are they repeat booking tours?
Of course, we at 10x Tourism have our own secret ingredients we like to mix in to make the magic happen for your tourism business. Starting with targeting the 3% looking to book a tour with you, instead of reigning in empty traffic that’s of no benefit to anyone.
If you’re ready to take the next leap with your tourism business, but are in need of a reliable support system to guide you through the process click here to book a call now and learn more about our Get More Bookings® System.
7 Steps to Create a Stellar Niche Ads Campaign for Your Tourism Business
Source: Neil Patel
How does your tourism business stand out from the crowd when everybody else (especially the big guns) are running competitive ad campaigns?
The Answer: By targeting the 3%, just as we do with our campaigns here at 10x Tourism.
When you finally realise that targeting everyone is not an effective strategy, finding your ideal target audience and beaming your content towards them will have a much greater impact on your tour inquiries and sales.
If you’ve been reading my blog posts, emails, and content for a while then you’ll know I love to talk about buyer personas, and for good reason. Creating your ideal buyer persona/personas is key to targeting with precision and creating a stellar niche paid ad campaign.
But, where do you start?
Paid Media Vs. Owned Media Vs. Earned Media in Niche Markets
Firstly, it’s important to understand the terminology of marketing ads, as it’s easy to confuse the terms.
Here’s a quick glossary of terms to get acquainted with;
Paid media – When you pay a third-party channel like a magazine, or social media page to advertise your business
Owned media – When you post your own content on your own social media channels
Earned media – When people organically feature your content without you paying for it.
How to Create a Successful Niche Paid Media Campaign in 7 Steps
Identify/Research Your Target Audience
As I mentioned above, identifying your target audience and creating your buyer persona takes precedence when successfully implementing a paid ads campaign.
Consider questions such as their age? Which social media sites do they use? Why do they want to buy your product? What challenges and anxieties do they have about travelling? The key to creating a buyer persona is understanding their pain points, so your tourism business can be their solution.
Determine a Campaign Budget
After deciding which platform you want to focus on, look at the hard data when deciding on your budget, be specific with the amount. Ask yourself questions such as;
- What were your sales in the last few months?
- What is the return on investment from previous niche paid ad campaigns?
- What is your company’s financial position at this moment?
Here are factors to consider when setting a budget for your niche paid media campaign.
- Cost per click/view/conversion on different platforms
- Typical return on investment for every dollar spent
- The percentage of your target demographic using the particular platform
Identify Your Paid Media Goals
Setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) helps you track your niche paid media campaigns and improve their performance.
Choose Your Paid Media Format
Choosing the right paid media format for your tourism business will depend on your target audience, budget, brand, and campaign goals. Tourism companies, being in the business of visual experiences, often use display ad campaigns to showcase their business. Another option for your tourism business’s niche paid ad campaign could be influencer partnerships. These (especially with micro-influencers with more targeted audiences) can be effective because they can be personalised, and they increase brand awareness through word of mouth.
Create Your Paid Ad Campaign Copy
It doesn’t matter how much your budget is, if the copy isn’t captivating, you won’t reap the desired results from your niche paid ad campaign. Your copy needs to be appealing, engaging and leverage the fear of missing out for your target audience.
Here are the essential elements to include, if you’re stuck for where to start:
- What your business is about
- Pain points of your customer
- Why or how your business is a solution
- Why you and not your competitor
- What action the reader needs to take (subscribe, share, etc.)
- What is the time commitment (for example, download in one click)
Get Very Specific With Targeting
Now you have your platform, format, budget, audience, ad copy and your campaign is ready to go, you need to get specific with your targeting – Find those 3% actually looking to buy.
Most advertising platforms such as Facebook, offer detailed targeting options for your niche paid media campaigns. Use these options to set targeted settings based on your buyer persona.
Target High-Intent Keywords
The last step is to delve into high-intent keywords and make them an important part of your marketing strategy. Start by looking at your competitors, what are they using? Could any work for your tourism business? It also helps greatly to look at online tools such as; Ubersuggest, Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, and Moz Keyword Research for better results.
Are you currently running a niche paid ads campaign, how is it going?
A statistic I found interesting:
According to ForwardKeys’ data for May 2021, issued tickets from the US to Croatia (+0.5%) and Iceland (+22.7%) have surpassed 2019 levels, while Greece is just 10.9% behind.
A question for you:
Will you try data storytelling for your tourism business content strategy?
Did you enjoy reading the above?
The 10xpress is a monthly series curated exclusively for travel companies like you
Every month, I provide you with:
- 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.
Want The 10xpress delivered straight to your inbox?
Join our community of tour operators who are the first to receive this newsletter series every other Friday in their inbox.