If you have recently started your own travel business, you know that you have dived into a market that can be hard to penetrate and acquire customers.
From car rental businesses to hotels and restaurants, there are hundreds of thousands of travel businesses. If that doesn’t make you realise how big your market it is, Europe alone accumulated 37,000 million euros in the tour and activity sector in 2015.
The good news is that it’s become ever-easier to market to your customers online through social media. There are many ways of reaching your customers through marketing, but social media leaves an imprint on the consumers’ minds like nothing else.
Create an Experience
When using social media for your travel business, you should keep in mind that the consumer is always looking for an experience. Whether they say that directly to you or not, businesses need to keep in mind that creating a need for their customers, is what leads to creating more business and loyal customers.
The best way to grab the attention of future travellers is to post regularly about past customer’s experiences using your business to travel. If you do not have any previous customers, aim to create content that makes the consumer want to experience your business.
Pictures of beautiful scenery, events, delectable food, or additional outside experiences that your business offers are what consumers are most interested in.
Look to Friends and Family on Social Networks
Customers are more in tune with traveling than they were just a few years ago. The use of search engines, blogs, and social media has increased the want and need to travel.
Social media influences many to choose different travel destinations and agendas than they would normally pick, like a pilgrimage. According to Tnooz.com, a travel website, 52% of Facebook users said that their friends’ photos inspired them when making a choice for holiday plans.
Not only are these users inspired by social media, but they are posting about their own vacations on their own profiles. Information collected on social media users says that 76% of travellers post photos of their vacations on social networks.
This means that more people are willingly sharing their experiences with hotels, businesses, and restaurants that they come across while traveling. If you can get your customers to share their experiences freely you are moving in the right direction.
Of course, not all customers will be willing to give their recommendation for free on social media, but word-of-mouth advertising from family and friends has proven to work best and become trusted more often than any other form of marketing.
Social Media Giveaways and Customer Loyalty Programs
If you are looking to increase your reach on social networks, try the “LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE” tactic. Post a giveaway on Facebook or Twitter stating that each person who likes, comments, and shares/retweets your post will be entered to win something from your business.
Be it a stay at your hotel or a discounted tour around town, you will reach far more people through this approach than your regular day-to-day posts. This is a great way to improve your reach and increase your social media following without having to pay for it.
Social Media Paid Advertisements
Your most important friend on social media is paid advertisement. This is the best way to reach your traveling customers as 85% of travellers use their phones abroad. Paid advertisement will help you locate customers near and far that fit your customer segment. If you are unsure what you are looking for in terms of selecting a demographic (age, location, etc.) then start simple with a Facebook paid advertisement.
Facebook paid advertisements offer you many options in terms of price, location, reach, and look of the ad. However, the most important thing Facebook offers businesses is insights. Insights will give you a look into what your customer really looks like. How old are they? What time of the day are they most active on the site? What posts do better or worse than your average? These can be determined through looking at insights.
Instagram is another popular paid advertising platform. With a simple picture and short blurb about the post, you can pay a small amount of money to post your ad to the world around you. This will expand your reach, but it can give you a view into who is wanting to see of your ads so you know better next time.
Let the Social Media Elite Visit or Use Your Business
Although this is similar to paid advertisement, many travel businesses have been using the tactic of allowing popular social media individuals to visit their business or try something from their business for free.
In return, these individuals create a post tagging your travel business with a small verse below about how great your business is. Hotels do this frequently, but it is not just for them. Air travel companies, restaurants, tour guides, theme parks, and more have all used this tactic to attract more visitors.
Getting to Know Your Business Through Social Media
In today’s market, almost every business is trying to have a localised feel. Each time a traveller makes plans for traveling, they are expecting a new and unique experience that cannot be found anywhere else. The easiest way to establish your brand and the culture of your business is to post regularly on social media with the personality you want to portray. If you are laid-back all-inclusive hotel, you most likely want to portray your business as a place to come relax and be waited on hand and foot. If you are a tour guide who takes expert-level hikers to Mount Everest, you want to portray that you can be trusted and are capable of making such a difficult journey.
These can be easily portrayed through social media posts that describe you or your business. Keep in mind the tone of voice and verbiage used throughout your posts and make sure that they are consistent so you do not confuse your consumer, but intrigue them each time they come back to read about your business.
Social Media Does It All
The best thing to keep in mind when starting social media for your travel business is to be yourself and show your customers what you think is best about your business. Post items that are exciting and original, and the travellers will come in numbers to visit.
Rebecca writes for Sunway Holidays one of Ireland oldest and most popular tour companies. They offer sun holidays all over Europe and exciting adventures destinations worldwide.