The travel business is becoming increasingly digital. In 2019, travel was the 4th most popular type of service to be purchased online. Unfortunately, you can no longer just rely on leads walking into your local travel agency store.
Chances are you already have a website (if you don’t, get one now!), but to actually generate travel leads, your website and online content needs to be getting seen. It’s also a good idea to supplement your website with other forms of online lead generation.
Let’s break down the top eight ways your travel company can get more digital leads.
Today, consumers are more likely to compare travel agencies and book their holidays all online, meaning having a website is vital to generate travel leads.
However, it’s not good enough to just have a website - your website needs to be optimised to provide the best user experience (UX). That means fast loading times, a clear and visually appealing layout, good use of images and videos, and, very importantly, ensuring it is all optimised for mobile viewing.
A good example of a travel site optimised for UX is Virgin Atlantic. The homepage engages visitors from the get-go with newest offers and promotions. The website’s interface is consistent throughout, with clear call to actions to prompt a sale. The ‘Search for flights’ and ‘Book’ pages have a clean design and are easy to navigate, which reduces the chance of customers abandoning their purchase.
The website is also optimised for mobile use, making it easier for customers to engage regardless of the device they are using.
Simply optimising your site for good UX in this way will help to generate more leads.
Top tip: To ensure fast loading times, make sure all your images are compressed. If you’re still having problems, give ‘lazy loading’ a go. This ensures images don’t load until the user scrolls to them, keeping page loading times fast.
Never underestimate the power of calls to generate travel leads. There’s a reason that 98% of travel companies take bookings over the phone. In fact, in 2019 we found that 55% of travel agencies only accepted bookings via calls!
Holiday bookings come with lots of questions and queries meaning you just can’t beat talking directly with a booking agent.
Both of these options make it easier for customers to call you: web calling by allowing customers to call you through your website, and callback by allowing them to talk to you at a time that is convenient.
Placing a click-to-call button and a call back option on all website pages is a proven way to generate more travel leads. Take Yellow Zebra Safaris as an example. After implementing Talkative voice web calling and callback solutions across their website, inbound travel leads increased by 20%.
Perfecting your website Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) means you can generate more organic travel leads for free!
SEO is all about helping potential customers find you when they conduct an internet search. You want to appear in search engine results when people search for things related to your business.
For example, imagine you are a travel agency that specialises in affordable all-inclusive holidays. A couple is looking for a reasonably priced, all-inclusive trip to Mexico for their summer holiday, so they type into Google ‘cheapest all-inclusive holidays in Mexico’. If you’ve mastered your SEO, your travel company features in the top three results in Google, so the couple clicks the link to your website. Just like that, you’ve generated a lead for your travel company.
SEO involves a number of different elements, including keyword research, optimising titles and meta descriptions, and link building, as well as more technical aspects to ensure your website provides the best UX.
If you are not familiar with SEO techniques, you could consider hiring an expert, but anyone can learn how to do it well so don’t feel you need to make this investment if you can’t afford to. There’s a ton of free source material available and cheap courses online. Check out this beginner’s guide to SEO to get the ball rolling.
Blogging is the top form of content marketing and, if done well, is an inexpensive and super effective way of getting more leads for your travel agency.
The purpose of a blog is to frequently produce fresh content that grows the awareness of your company and brings more potential customers to your website. For travel agencies, the subject matter for blog posts is endless, but be aware that there’s also high competition as there are many travel bloggers on the scene.
The best way to have a successful blog is to make it niche and ensure it is directly related to your company. If your travel agency specialises in trips to Asia, focus your blog on tips and tricks for holidays in Asia, don’t start writing about the best places to visit in South America!
SEO is a big part of making a blog worthwhile; a blog with no readers isn’t bringing you any travel leads.
Social media can be used in two ways to generate traffic and leads. Firstly, by building your own business profile on different platforms and growing your followers, you can promote your content and offers for free to this audience.
If you utilise content marketing, especially blogging, sharing on social media is a must in order to get as many eyes on your blog posts as possible. Sharing fresh content and curating content produced by others is a great way to grow brand awareness and bring potential travel leads from social media to your website.
The other option is running paid social media adverts. These are particularly effective for retargeting customers who’ve been on your website but have not converted, but they’re also a good way to expand your audience.
Creating an eye-catching ad with visuals or video is a great way to grab attention and direct potential customers to act in the way you want, e.g. go to your website, contact you, or sign up for email marketing, all of which generate more travel leads.
In 2019, only 55% of travel companies featured a chat solution on their website in some capacity. In an industry where calls seem to take dominance, you might think having a chat service is a bit redundant. In actual fact, live web chat is a very cost-effective method of generating more travel leads.
Live chat is a great way of initiating conversations with clients. Through pop-ups and nudges, you can encourage customers to talk with an advisor and answer any questions they have at any point of their customer journey.
Perhaps a customer needs further information on an all-inclusive holiday. With live chat they can ask an adviser in real-time, without having to leave the webpage, and get their answer quickly.
The great thing about Talkative live web chat is that it can easily be connected to a phone system, such as Mitel, so a chat interaction can be quickly escalated to a phone, or even video call, if needed. This supports a seamless omnichannel customer experience, which in itself helps to generate even more travel leads.
Email marketing is an oldie but a goodie. Not only is it a great way to get content in front of your audience, but emails can also be an effective call to action.
For example, you could send a monthly email newsletter that lists your latest holiday deals. At the end of the email, you can feature a big button that says ‘Book and Save Now’, or ‘Get a Quote Now’. When customers click this button, they can arrive on an online booking form, or a page on your website where they can call your booking team. Either way, the email is producing digital travel leads for your business.
Before starting any form of email marketing, you need to grow your mailing list. The best way to do this is to offer a ‘lead magnet’, i.e. something attractive customers get for providing their email address, such as a downloadable travel brochure, access to destination videos, or something as simple as a monthly newsletter containing the latest holiday deals.
Why not use your existing customers to generate more digital travel leads? Online referral schemes are a good way of getting more customers without much work from your end. They are especially effective for services that cost more (like holidays), as people are more likely to opt for a company they know a friend or family member has had a good experience with.
Giving existing customers an incentive to recommend you to friends and family, such as an online discount on their next holiday, is a good place to start. You could even up the incentive by giving both parties (the existing customer and the customer they refer) a discount if the referred customer books online.
Offering discounts might sound scary, but an effective online referral scheme will save you money in marketing expenses, plus the extra leads should recoup your costs. Think about the example above. You generated two travel leads from one online referral - one new customer and a returning customer.
If you really can’t afford to offer discounts, you can offer other online incentives for referrals, such as early booking on the latest deals, or guaranteed first-class flights. This is your time to get creative! Remember: the better the incentive, the more travel leads you’ll get.
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