The digital transformation of the travel and tourism industry has enabled companies and bloggers to connect with customers via a number of different platforms. Gone are the days when the only way to book a holiday was by entering a brick and mortar store, consumers can now inform their decisions with a wealth of online information and connect and engage with travel brands directly. Travel bloggers are in a unique position as they can cultivate more personal and ongoing relationships with their readership using high-quality content, guest posts, competitions, social media and networking.
Travel brand consumers and readers are currently among the best to target as they are constantly producing their own content. There are scores of adventure videos on YouTube, resort recommendations on Twitter and vacation images and photos on Instagram and Pinterest. Tapping into this user-generated content via an effective social media strategy can help bloggers to engage and influence their readers and reach a wider audience. Launching hashtag and photo sharing competitions, for example, is a great way to generate additional social content and boost search engine optimization (SEO). This type of ‘word of mouth’ content is powerful as research shows that 92% of consumers trust personal recommendations more than any other form of advertising.
Travel blogs cannot be all things to all people so try to concentrate on a particular niche, such as practical advice, city breaks, world food, celebrity travel gossip, budget tips or luxury and market to a target audience and readership within the travel industry. However, while content is likely to be generally focused, marketing can be aimed at outside the niche so posts on finance or life-hack sites, for example, might help to reach new outside audiences aligned with that particular niche.
Attracting readers is the number one priority and this requires consistent, high-quality content and a great marketing strategy. The biggest companies in the travel industry now understand the importance of connecting and engaging with consumers on a daily basis. It is important to be visible through as many channels as possible so join networking groups and connect with other bloggers and try to leave comments and share posts. Building personal relationships with readers is incredibly important so make sure to share content through every social media channel available. The rise of mobile devices is also changing how consumers interact with travel brands with recent research showing that 65% of same-day hotel reservations are made by smartphone. Tailoring content for mobile is now incredibly important so bloggers should begin to adopt a ‘mobile first’ mindset for content to improve marketing and SEO.
Travel website World Escape is a leading example of how high-quality content can increase customer engagement. It uses social media channels including Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to help people to “find the perfect place to stay”. World Escape posts regular content on these platforms and shares informative tips from across the web to appeal to its readership. Its core website also uses real accommodation photos and location maps to provide an incredibly accurate representation of Dubai vacation apartments and other hotels while live help and comments enable them to connect with customers and answer their questions and queries.
Many of the world’s biggest airlines use social media to improve their brand image, communicate with customers and gain popularity. Singapore Airlines uses Twitter as a key tool for branding by posting gorgeous photos of picturesque hotels and settings complete with the company logo in the bottom right-hand corner, which dovetails with its reputation as an affordable, luxury brand. Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines uses hashtags in order to build authenticity, focusing on ‘genuine relevance’ when posting key phrases to gain more engagement. This is what sets it apart from the many overused hashtags on the Twitter platform. Emirates is another airline that uses images to engage readers with its own unique ‘theme’ on Instagram, which involves showing people holding up an Emirates flag in different locations across the globe. This is incredibly effective as it is a long-term, evergreen marketing strategy which ties in with the airlines ability to transport people to all four corners of the globe.
Social media is now the cornerstone of an effective marketing strategy for bloggers as it transforms networking activities. To boost social media management, try to offer current information and news to remain relevant, use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and similar platforms as branding tools. It is also important to be a ‘social listener’ so retweet and share insightful posts and use hashtags and content to get people involved and increase audience interaction. Social media can be supplemented other online marketing methods such as banner ads, Google ads and video for the best results.