The world of travel has evolved, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Travelers are valuing their time off more and researching more heavily before making travel decisions. Additionally, brands are competing to drive bookings and increase revenue to make up for the large losses the industry took in 2020.
Utilizing new and unique marketing strategies can help travel brands separate themselves from the competition, reach new audiences, and increase bookings. Take a look at our top 12 marketing strategies that can help travel brands stand out and out-market their competitors.
What Is The State of the Travel Marketing Industry in 2023?
The travel industry took a huge hit in 2020 with the emergence of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Both domestic and international travel stopped almost overnight, leaving the travel and tourism industry with little-to-no business. However, over the past three years, the industry has steadily increased to semi-regular rates, though still slightly lower than 2019.
According to the International Air Transport Association, global air travel is expected to make a full recovery by 2024. Additionally, the IATA expects domestic air travel to increase by 3% in 2023 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. With that being said, many travel companies are looking to dedicate time and resources to out-marketing their top competitors and return business to pre-pandemic levels.
12 Travel Marketing Strategies For 2023
Using a combination of tried-and-true marketing strategies and unique ideas will offer a fresh foundation for travel destinations to attract new tourists and increase bookings. In 2023, the way consumers make travel decisions has changes. People are valuing sustainable travel options and relying heavily on social media and video content to make their travel decisions.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of 12 key marketing strategies and tips to help travel companies increase bookings and drive consumers to their destination.
1. Create A Seamless Website Experience
All of your marketing channels will be driving traffic to the same place – your website. If the user experience is lacking, it could drive away potential customers or have them book a stay with a separate OTA.
As direct bookings become increasingly important for travel companies, a seamless user experience on the website is of the utmost importance. A travel website should showcase all of the best things about the destination to really show consumers what their vacation will be like. Additionally, users should be able to seamlessly book travel experiences directly from the site.
2. Publish Blog Content on a Regular Basis
Blog content is a great way to capture the attention of untapped audiences and focus on search engine optimization. By creating content that targets highly searched keywords in the travel space and keywords specific to your destination, brands can dominate the search engine results page.
Not only does long-form editorial content help put a brand in front of new audiences, it also showcases the beauty of your travel destination. Consumers want to learn a lot about a destination before traveling there. According to TripAdvisor, consumers will spend an average of four weeks researching their travel destination. With blog content, brands can create a high quality resource for consumers to turn to throughout their research process.
3. Lean On Your Customer Reviews
Consumers are spending more on travel now than ever before. According to the ASTA, 40% of consumers are spending more on travel now than they did before the pandemic in 2019. However, consumers also want to be sure that their money is being spent in the right place.
Traveler reviews are some of the most valuable pieces of content that brands can use in advertising. Sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are growing increasingly popular and can make or break a travel destination. By showcasing positive experiences that other travelers have had, brands can increase social proof and gain trust with new customers.
4. Upgrade Your Social Media Game
Social media is an integral part of any marketing strategy for 2023 and beyond. With the growing popularity of platforms like TikTok and Instagram, travel companies can leverage their social media following to increase bookings and drive traffic to other marketing channels. Regularly posting content and engaging with your audience is incredibly valuable for companies in the travel industry.
Influencers are also a key part of a social media marketing strategy. Utilizing influencer content allows you to reach completely new audiences and showcase the best parts about your brand and vacation destination. If you are looking to increase your reach with photo and video content, social media marketing is the best way to do so.
5. Rely On Data for Key Insights
Data is everywhere – you just need to know how to track it properly. Between websites, social media, online advertisements, and more, there is an abundance of consumer data that can be used to optimize your marketing strategy.
Travel companies can track user behavior, see where high-converting consumers are coming from, and see what marketing strategies are currently working. Using this data to further improve and optimize your marketing efforts will provide unbeatable insights and deliver quality results. However, you need to be confident that the data you are using is trustworthy and accurate.
6. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Remarketing
Remarketing is a powerful tool that can help direct audiences to your travel website or destination. A customer journey, especially in the travel space, can include tons of different searches and websites.
Remarketing may prove to be one of the most valuable tools in your marketing toolbelt. When consumers are more familiar with your brand, they may be more receptive to advertisements. Additionally, consumers may be more likely to convert after visiting your website more than once.
7. Improve Your Mobile User Experience
With the advancement of smartphone technology, consumers are starting to rely heavily on the mobile experience instead of a desktop experience. Travel brands need to shift their focus to the user experience from a mobile standpoint. Whether that means a quality mobile app or website experience can vary from brand to brand.
According to a study performed by SalesCycle, 44% of travelers will book their vacations online. Additionally, those booking on a mobile app or mobile site have a lower cart abandonment rate compared to those on desktop. Mobile consumers are becoming more and more valuable as the travel industry evolves. It is important to ensure that your brand has a seamless booking experience for both desktop and mobile users.
8. Utilize Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is one of the oldest marketing strategies in the book. It continues to be a helpful tool for travel marketers to increase bookings, get more eyes on their destination, and actively engage with their audiences.
If you have an email list of consumers, you should be utilizing it! And, if you don’t, you should start building one. Including a simple spot on your website for users to input their email address and some basic personal information will allow you to organically grow your list and engage with your audience organically.
9. Use Video To Enhance The User Experience
As consumers are changing the way they research for a big vacation or small weekend trip, video is becoming more and more popular. Users like to feel like they’ve traveled to a destination before they have even left their house. Video is a great way to market your destination as highly desirable and fun.
Travel brands can either create their own video content, use consumer created content, or rely on influencers to create video content for them. Each type of content will provide it’s own unique benefit from a marketing perspective.
Branded video content created internally will be a great way for travel companies to interact with their existing audiences. These can actively be promoted on social media accounts, through email, and on the brand’s website. User generated content will appear the most organic and allow you to interact with your consumers’ networks. Influencer marketing videos may not be as organic as user generated content, but it will reach the widest audience.
10. Introduce New Technology To Your Marketing Strategies
New technologies in the travel industry are constantly evolving and are a great way to revitalize your marketing efforts. While AI Chatbots have been popular in the industry to assist with online bookings and answer quick questions from customers, the technology has majorly evolved since then. Outside of automated FAQ responses, AI can really have an impact on travel marketing.
There are AI technologies out there that can make personalized travel recommendations for tourists, can interact with consumers via voice throughout their vacation, track and trace baggage via image, and more. With so many new, AI-driven technologies emerging in the travel industry, it is important for brands to stay ahead of the curve to ultimately create an ideal travel experience.
11. Engage With Local Audiences Too
Local audiences may not seem that important to the travel industry, but they can be an additional untapped audience to target with marketing campaigns. While you may think that locals are familiar with the travel and tourism destinations in their area, you may be surprised to see how many have not visited.
Not only an this help you encourage repeat visits to your location, it can also help unlock untapped audiences. Successfully marketing towards locals may seem like a difficult task, as they likely try to avoid the tourist areas of their home. However, offering discounts to locals may help encourage increased attendance and may help your local marketing campaigns gain traction.
12. Tell A Story with Your Destination
Consumers want to travel to a destination with a unique identity and a clear story attached to it. In order to have a successful travel marketing campaign, travel brands need to do more than just showcase their beautiful destinations.
Every destination will have a unique identity and a unique story attached that can really help consumers picture themselves vacationing there. Whether marketers decide to lean into their destination’s rich culture and history, beautiful, calm scenery, or booming cities, a unique story will help travelers make their decisions easier.
Refresh Your Marketing Strategy with From the Future’s New Travel Marketing Platform™
Travel marketing can be a complicated undertaking. With that being said, it is important for travel companies to rely on expert marketers to help them understand what strategies are best for their brand.
At From the Future, we have over a decade of travel marketing experience and have used our expertise to change the way you see marketing. With our Travel Marketing Platform™, marketers can access brand new audiences and tell their unique story. Get in touch with one of our specialists to see how the Travel Marketing Platform™ can revitalize your marketing strategies.