The novel coronavirus has breathed in a new life to domestic tourism where travelers get an opportunity to explore their own hometown. In the first two quarters of 2020, at least 93% of the global population lived in countries with coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
It’s not that international tourism is lost in the race, it will be renewed, maybe not now but after some time. Until then, you can embark on offering domestic tourism packages.
The plethora of technologies and social distancing practices encourage travel aspirants to look for tour operators online without heading up to a brick-and-mortar office space. Therefore, play the digital marketing game through various online channels like social media, search engines, travel review sites, and much more.
Here, we have given a detailed outline about formulating smart and ethical digital marketing strategies to expand the visibility of your domestic travel agency in the online space. Keep this blog as a reference and build digital marketing strategies for your domestic tour company.
Why Should Travel Agencies Concentrate on Domestic Travel?
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all industries have faced an unprecedented decline in sales, revenue, and overall growth. Among them, the global travel and tourism industry experienced a massive fall. The new norms like social distancing, border restrictions, and quarantine practices have become a nightmare for travel agencies.
- A recent report from United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows a decline of 98% in international tourism due to the lockdown impositions in May 2020 when compared to 2019
- International tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2019 and translate into a loss of US$ 935 billion in export revenues from international tourism, more than 10 times the loss in 2009 under the impact of the global economic crisis
- Asia and the Pacific saw an 82% decrease in arrivals in January-October 2020. The Middle East recorded a 73% decline, while Africa saw a 69% drop this ten-month period. International arrivals in both Europe and America declined by 68%
- The estimated decline in international tourism in 2020 is equivalent to a loss of about 1 billion arrivals and US$ 1.1 trillion in international tourism receipts. This plunge in international tourism could result in an estimated economic loss of over US$ 2 trillion in global GDP, more than 2% of the world’s GDP in 2019
As travel restrictions continued to increase for international tourism, domestic travel gained a new life in regions like China, Russia, and more. Most UNWTO panel experts expect a rebound in international tourism by the third quarter of 2021 as well as they expect domestic demand to recover faster than international demand.
UNTWO conducted a global survey among its UNWTO panel of tourism experts on the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and the expected time of recovery. Asia and the Pacific were the most positive regions regarding the contribution of domestic tourism to the recovery of destinations.
Other Reasons Why Travelers Love Domestic Tours
While the COVID-19 pandemic has become the key reason for domestic tourism to thrive, here are also a few other reasons why travelers prefer domestic tours.
- Can plan for a trip within a pocket-friendly budget
- Due to the familiarity of places, planning a perfect itinerary plan becomes easy
- An aspiration to explore your own home country, culture, language, heritage, etc
- Contribution to the local economy & country’s GDP
- No luggage constraints
- No requirement for passport, visa, and other documentations
How Digital Marketing Helps in Acquiring Domestic Travel Clients?
Do you like to reach travelers who are interested in domestic tourism? Then, digital marketing pays it off. Effective digital marketing practices like search engine optimization, mobile apps, OTAs, and aggregators have replaced the traditional brick-and-mortar travel agency.
On the other side, tourists have practiced paper-free travel for booking flights, check-ins & check-outs at the airport, and other travel-related services. Here are some statistics that support the same.
- 83% of US adults now prefer to book their travel online
- 148.3 million travel bookings are completed online every year
- 700 million people will be booking their hotel rooms online by 2023
- Online travel bookings expected to hit $817 billion
- Digitization processes in sectors such as travel, tourism, and aviation will create up to $305 billion of value between 2016 and 2025
Here, we have demystified the effective digital marketing techniques to build a unique identity for your domestic tour company.
1. Local SEO
Search is the starting point for 60% of travelers. Local SEO is the process of optimizing your domestic travel agency website to acquire more nearby bookings from the search results. Search engines like Google, Bing aim to understand the intention of users and try to deliver the relevant results based on the user’s search.
After the user intention, search engines focus on quality. Search engines have a big hatred toward spamming SEO practices and pull down these sites in the search results. 95% of natural clicks come from page one of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. 3% of clicks came from page two, and 2% came from page three.
In the ever-changing world of local SEO, maintaining the same position on SERP is highly impossible. A small mistake in the SEO practice will greatly ruin your website traffic, rankings, as well as the brand name.
For you to avoid the mistakes and rightly follow the SEO guidelines, here we have listed the common SEO mistakes you need to avoid in 2021.
- Ignoring to utilize long-term keywords
- Not focusing on optimization of title, heading, and meta tags
- Not optimizing the page of mobile and voice search
- Failing to run regular website audits
- Building irrelevant or poor quality links
- Less concentration on bounce rate
- Developing mediocre content just for algorithm purpose
- Ignoring Google My Business listing
- Falling behind on SEO trends
- Not focusing on page load time
Overall, if you have a healthy SEO practice in hand, you can go on winning many travel leads.
2. Social Media Marketing
The power of social media has transformed the traditional tourism industry into a digitized one. These eye-opening statistics prove how influential social media platforms are among travelers.
- 97% of millennials are now using social networks while traveling
- More than 36.5% of people use social media for travel inspiration and ideas
- 60% share photos on social media while traveling
- Every week more than 1 million+ travel-related hashtags are searched
- 52% of all Facebook users draw travel inspiration directly from their friends’ photos
Here, we have listed out a few strategies for optimizing for social media that will help you establish a strong connection with the audience.
- Maintain a dedicated business account different from the private account to attract the audience
- Partner with social media influencers
- Make the best use of #hashtags to attract the audience with key demographics
- Post images and videos of your trips
- Keep tracking your performance
3. PPC ads
Investing in pay-per-click ads (PPC) delivers profitable outcomes to your online travel agency. Based on the user’s query, these ads will be displayed on the platforms you prefer.
For example, a user searches for blue color socks in Google and leaves the page without purchasing. Now, ads related to socks would be displayed on YouTube, Instagram, and others.
- 46% of attraction marketers say that delivering personalized ads and offers in real-time is their top challenge
- 80% of destination marketing organizations’(DMO) Facebook ads send visitors to their website
- 86% of social media marketers used Facebook ads, as compared to only 18% for Twitter ads
- 75% is the average conversion rate for Google Ads Source
How to Design Appealing PPC Ads?
- Informing tourists about everything that tourists need to know about the destination
- Persuading tourists to visit a travel destination
- Reminding tourists to engage them to previously visited touring spots
Though you may be a veteran travel agency or a newbie to the travel industry, the attractive ads that you publish will help you make a mark in the online tourism space.
4. Metasearch Engines & OTAs
Metasearch engines like Webjet, Tripadvisor, and Trivago have developed into a stand-alone marketing medium that has supported many travel agencies to stay competitive and to maximize their digital presence.
- 82% of digital marketers from various travel agencies saw high returns from metasearch. Source – Koddi
- 72.5% of travelers use metasearch engines in their search process. Source – EyeForTravel
- 39% of Millennials use metasearch sites and in the US alone 57.46% of people use metasearch engines. Source – Hotelchamp
How Travel Agencies Can Benefit From Metasearch Engine Marketing?
- Update dynamic pricing budgets on travel booking on a daily or weekly basis
- Encourage travelers to send feedbacks, reviews about the travel agency
- Provide a quick response to any negative comments given by travelers
By having a strong presence on metasearch engines your travel website can acquire more travel bookings from millions of travel aspirants. To explore more about the travel metasearch engine, click here.
Online travel agencies, in short, as OTAs are a powerhouse in providing a seamless travel planning experience. The OTA giants like Booking.com, Kayak, Momondo, Expedia, Hotels.com has grasped the attention of a vast set of domestic travelers.
39% of the digital travel market belongs to online travel agencies, and the number is expected to grow Expedia and Booking Holdings continue to dominate in the U.S, with the two collectively representing 92% of the OTA market
Benefits of Using OTAs in Domestic Travel Marketing
- Easy to acquire higher visibility for your website
- Allows to extend services to different groups of travelers
- Provides easy access to reviews and users can compare the prices in one place
- Some OTAs allocate a dedicated support team
If you like to learn more about OTAs, the models, and what the future holds for these agencies, click here. Travelers enter with one intention – to receive appropriate answers for all their queries.
6. Email Marketing
Many industries such as e-commerce, real estate, education, NPO, etc are making the best use of email marketing to showcase their expertise and engage travelers.
How To Do Result Generating Email Marketing for Your Domestic Travel Website?
- Personalize the email marketing promotions according to traveler’s interests and past experiences – 83% of millennials are happy for travel brands to track them so they can get personalized service
- Grab the traveler’s attention by embedding videos in the emails – 66% of travelers watch videos when researching a destination
Setup a Domestic Travel Agency Profile
After reading this post, you would have got a clear picture of how to formulate digital marketing strategies for your domestic travel agency. If you find it challenging to focus on digital marketing, then take assistance from travel digital marketing experts.
Many of the digital marketing service providers fail to keep up their promises, therefore, be very keen before choosing the agency. Go through their portfolios, experience, and other achievements carefully for a successful partnership.
At ColorWhistle, our expert digital marketing professionals offer specialized solutions to travel agencies. Our experience with travel clients and knowledge in digital marketing will help you establish a unique brand mark in the online space. Reach us via message or call us +1 (919) 234-5140 at any time. We are ready to work with you!
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