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mobile marketing for travel

5 Mobile Marketing Guidelines for Travel Agencies

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Mobile Marketing For Travel & Tourism

The need for mobile friendly services and the subsequent mobile marketing by brands has always been on a rise. If people are waiting in a queue, taking a lunch break or just on a holiday chances are they are browsing their phones. Simultaneously being influenced by brands, through mobile advertisements and apps. So if your role is mobile marketing for travel brands, It is important to remember important statistics of mobile usage these days as well as the guidelines to follow.

Scope for travel agencies

Below are few key statistics compiled from various reports

In a recent report by Economic times, comprising of the research from Criteo

  • The use of mobile devices in the travel industry is expected to grow by 67 % from 2017-2020
  • Millennials (54%) and baby boomers (44%) most often use the smartphone for online browsing of travel products and services, while Generation-X (49%) uses laptops.

Rajesh Magow, CEO of MakeMyTrip – One of India’s largest travel agencies states that

Mobile bookings reached nearly 74% for our standalone domestic hotel transactions, booked online, and 52% for domestic flights booked online”

  • Below is a table of the most traveled destinations in 2017

Mobile Marketing for Travel - Top National Travel LocationsMobile Marketing for Travel - Top Global Travel Destinations

Source: American Express Global Business Travel point of sale data destination analysis for June 2016 – May 2017

 

  • Indians downloaded over 6 billion apps in 2016, up from 3.5 billion in 2015. That 71% growth was significantly higher than the overall 15% growth in app downloads around the world.(App Annie’s fourth annual Retrospective Report)
Mobile Marketing for Travel -Four Pillars - Mobile usage

A snippet from an Infographic by Four Pillars

Guidelines

1. Personalization

Earlier the standard was that A travel package was meant for a customer looking to get the most for the least cost.
Nowadays, the standard is to cater to the Do-It-Yourself customers looking to plan out everything from start to finish.


Travel packages aren’t just for budget tourists following tour guides with red umbrellas anymore,” writes the Journal. “The new style of packages caters to today’s do-it-yourself consumers who want to book their own itineraries after carefully researching hotels, flights, and attractions.

Understand micro-moments in travel

To really understand your customers, you need to understand their micro-moments that lead to an intent to take a trip

Micro Moments are Intent-Rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.

Your mobile marketing for travel strategy should be capitalizing on ‘micro-moments.’

Capitalizing on these moments can help your customers make quicker decisions on a travel destination/package.

Micro-moments in the travel industry, Revolve around the following 4 mindsets customers have before making a travel decision

  1. Desire to get away: Dreaming moments
  2. Desire for the trip to be perfect: Planning moments
  3. Desire to book it: Booking moments
  4. Desire to make the most of it: Experiencing moments
Mobile Marketing for Travel -Fiji Travel

Trip Planner by Fiji Travels


 Your travel agency should focus on capturing the customer’s attention during these moments.

Apart from this also give the customer the choice to customize their package as they see fit.

Easy Loyalty programs, while mobile marketing for travel brands

Your travel agency can further improve the mobile experience of your past user’s by introducing loyalty rewards. Separate for those who sign up, and for those who book through your mobile website/app.

IntrepidTravel Rewarding Customers After Their 10th Trip

IntrepidTravel Rewarding Customers After Their 10th Trip

You can even tailor loyalty programs such that the respective customer gets discounts on possible destinations searched earlier


Offering add-ons

Say your customer is purchasing a travel package for a hiking trip. If you offer products meant for hiking such as wear and gear, the customer will mostly add this along with his travel package.

Offering relevant products or services as add-ons, simultaneously can help to easily UpSell a tour package

Mobile Marketing for Travel -Package specific Custom Add-ons by TopDogPetTravels

Package specific Custom Add-ons by TopDogPetTravels


2. Localization

It’s no surprise that customers tend to stick with a brand, that offers relevant information or services without any extra charge to it.

Provide simple things like offline map’s or guides that tourists can refer to when traveling.

Allow travelers to save their favorite spots to visit later ie ‘Traveling Bucket List’ and providing local insights about the place.

Mobile Marketing for Travel -TriposoOffline

Triposo Offline

  

Focus on providing things the potential customer would need while traveling, instead of what they immediately want ie to make bookings.

3. SEO

With All the above data, it is clear that when mobile marketing for travel brands, the techniques like SEO, UX and Social Media Marketing are absolutely vital if not the most important.

 Especially when you want your travel agency to be recognized over the competition.

Users are most likely to check out travel destinations and prices via mobile during their respective micro moments. Keeping your website/app, mobile friendly and fast will help them make purchase decisions in a much shorter time frame.

Below are few ways to improve your SEO ranking on mobile

  • Google Business Listings
    This is extremely useful for when you want to drive local customers to your travel agency
Google My Business Listing

Google My Business

 And best of all, It’s Easy and Free to set up.
Just include the relevant information about your travel agency, physical address, pictures, phone numbers, and timing.This helps create a solid foundation when mobile marketing for travel brands.

With Google Business listing, you can even view the customer hot spots in your city as well as view which destination photos are getting more hits and advertise accordingly.

  • Register your travel agency on local directories and travel portals
Mobile Marketing for Travel -TripAdvisor, one of the largest travel websites

TripAdvisor, one of the largest travel websites


Registering your travel agency on Local directories and travel portals will help drastically improve your agencies exposure.

The set up is similar to setting up a Business listing on Google. The benefit is that your agency will now appear on popular alternate channels that your target audience may use to pick their travel destination.

There are ways you can also list your agency on top travel portals such as tripadvisor,makemytrip, goibibo etc

Mobile Marketing for Travel - Volume Share across OTA's

Volume Share across Online Travel Agencies

Some portals do have policies that do not let you directly add your travel agency.
However, you can list tours offered, if you have a tour operating license or if your travel agency meets certain criteria.

 You can utilize this growth hacking technique to massively improve the reach of your agency by being listed on the leading portals.

Click for Information on guidelines regarding travel agencies listing on tripadvisor and makemytrip respectively

Below are few other directories listing your travel agency can be listed on

http://www.freelistingindia.in/listings/category/travel-tourism/

http://www.indianyellowpages.com/india/service_providers/t/travel-service.htm

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  • Plugins for optimization

Ever since 2015, Google has included mobile responsiveness as a ranking factor in its search algorithm. Now with the addition of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages(AMP)

If you want your travel agency to be displayed on SERP’s – Ensuring your mobile site/app is not just responsive to various devices but is fast and easy to navigate through as well

Check out 9 best wordpress plugins  & How AMP’s affect your SEO ranking


  • Keywords for content visibility and local searches

Users tend to enter very precise keywords when searching online for travel destinations on mobile as compared to desktop.
For SEO rank boosting, having an effective keyword strategy is one of the main implementations that will help your travel agency.
Everything from the right keyword usage in content, to ‘alt’ text attributes to your images/ videos, researching trending keywords that can apply to your agency as well as competitor keyword research must be carefully planned out.

Check out the 5 best keyword research tools for SEO

4. Using Innovative Mobile Tech in Campaigns

Mobile Marketing for Travel - VR used in Tourism

VR used in Tourism

Your potential consumers are looking for more immersive experiences before making travel decisions. While reviews still play a major role- technologies like

Virtual/Augmented Reality, 360 videos and Near Field Communications (NFC) have been on a rise since 2014.

Almost as a standard now, various agencies when marketing for travel and tourism industries actively implements the formerly mentioned technologies that help

  • Showcase Unique Selling points at destinations
  • Provide a more immersive-interactive experience before making purchase decisions.

Simultaneously also used to provide useful information such as nearby places to visit, events, faster routes to tourists etc

Mobile Marketing for Travel - Matoke Tours VR

Matoke Tours was one of the forerunners to use VR marketing campaigns to create interactive travel brochures for their tours

The above “try before you fly” 360 video campaign for Thomas cook done by Visualise, saw a 190% uplift in New York excursions bookings after people tried the 5-minute version of the holiday in VR  in 2015.

Mobile Marketing for Travel - NFC's used to increase user engagement

Near Field Communication(NFC) used to increase user engagement

Most VR/AR creatives these days can be linked with social media such as Facebook, providing seamless integration with your marketing campaign

While integrating technology is one part, getting creative with it is what will set your agency apart

It all ultimately comes down to how well you can use the technology in marketing campaigns and tracking the results accordingly

  • 360/VR campaigns can be used for promotion of destinations via website or social media
  • AR campaigns can be used to focus on providing users local information of travel locations they are currently visiting
  • NFC can be used for quick sign-ins at Hotel’s,  also be used for creating unique travel challenges and location based rewards to increase user engagement with your brand.
Audio Trails NFC usage

Audio Trails NFC usage

 

OpenWays NFC room key

OpenWays NFC Mobile Room Key

Your travel agency can focus on promoting hotels or destinations that use this technology as well, as customers are always looking for ways to make their holiday a little more convenient.

Though the above mentioned has been available for use since the last 4 years, the perk now is that it has become extremely affordable over the years, to set up and implement with brands.

5. Social Media Role

Mobile Marketing for Travel -Impact Of Social Media in the Travel Industry

Impact Of Social Media In The Travel Industry

Building brand visibility for your travel agency is important. Using effective social media strategies can help boost the visibility and increase engagement with your brand.

Below are statistics from an infographic by four pillars hotels

Mobile Marketing for Travel -Four pillars Social Reviews

Four pillars Social Reviews Statistics

  • Posting time and frequency

While maintaining an active social media page is vital, the frequency of posting should always be monitored.
Posting under twice a week may make you lose potential customers who would want to engage more. On the flipside, posting over twice a day maybe consider ‘spammy’ to the user and cause them to unfollow or block brand.

Ideally, keep around 5-10 posts a week

  • Leverage User Generated Content

Remember your presence on social media is not to provide the best deals or packages, but it is to creatively interact with your followers and potential customers through your brand.

 Social Media Marketing is done best when the brand can engage with the audience at an individual level. This improves the image and likeability of your travel agency.

mobile marketing for travel -TripAdvisor FB

TripAdvisor Leveraging UGC on FB

  • Responding to posts and comments


Simple question, Would you trust a hotel with mixed reviews yet the management addressing each review individually or a hotel where the brand just stays silent to the reviews?

Social Media is a two-way street, and not every comment will be positive.

However addressing comments and reviews on destinations is a smart way to also address mobile marketing for travel destinations, gives your audience a sense of accountability and customer value with your brand. In a quick and efficient manner.
When your travel agency is still growing, receiving feedback and how you respond to it is important for building brand value

  • Booking through social media
Mobile Marketing for Travel - Rainforest Adventures fb

Rainforest Adventures Social Media Booking

You can Implement this on the brand’s FB page. While you won’t be getting all your converts from social media,

You will end up capturing few on those decision making micro moments and drive in more potential traffic to your website.This is an inexpensive way when mobile marketing for travel agencies.

Image Credits

topdogpettravel.com, matoketours.com, tripadvisor.in, triposo.com, thomascookairlines.com, audiotrails.co.uk, hospitalitynet.org, slideshare.net/jbs1077/impact-of-social-media-in-hospitality-industry-v23, tnooz.com, rainforestadventure.com, travhq.com, peteramayer.com

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