If you’ve spent any amount of time scrolling through Instagram and other social media platforms, you probably noticed just how much content is available about active and luxury travel. There are over 280 million posts on Instagram alone using the hashtag #travel. This highlights the popularity of travel and the importance of developing an effective marketing strategy for luxury adventure travel companies and tour operators.
How do you break through the sheer quantity of travel-related content that is available online to engage your audience and gain new clients?
High-quality visual content and excellent social media presence are essential to marketing in the active travel industry. Social media and online content now influence traveler’s decisions about their next holidays more than traditional advertising. That means tour operators and travel companies must offer a luxury online experience with high-quality content.
Websites Must Do More
More people plan their entire holiday trips through online channels instead of using travel agents. Travel companies cannot get away with budget websites that simply communicate information. They must incorporate visual storytelling into their marketing and create high-quality web content that will help travelers have a great experience from beginning to end.
In the digital era, luxury travel begins online where websites must inspire FOMO (fear of missing out). Travelers are looking for photos, videos, and stories that draw them in and cause them to dream about the Instagram posts they’ll create if they book their holiday with you.
More than ever before, the photos and videos on your website define your brand. You must know your target audience well enough to offer images that appeal to their desires. It might require some testing and market research, but this is a worthwhile investment for everyone in the travel industry.
Be Mobile Friendly
Smartphones are changing the travel industry. From the moment someone decides, “I want to get away,” they use their smartphones and other mobile devices to search for travel ideas and book their next holiday.
Ninety-four percent of holiday travelers switch between their computer, phone, and other electronic devices as they plan their trip. Travelers are increasingly booking tickets and making reservations on smartphones. Additionally, 85% of leisure travelers choose activities after they arrived at their destination! Your website must be interactive and mobile-friendly. They expect a seamless and easy booking experience across all their devices.
One Google study found that price, search functionality, and ease of the booking process all impacted where travelers booked their adventures. People expect mobile-friendly, single-screen booking experiences, and secure online payments. Instagram even introduced new “action buttons” on business profiles that allow people to “book,” “get tickets,” “reserve,” or “start order” within the Instagram app.
Offer Useful Content
A Nielsen research project found that travelers visited an average of 28 different websites to plan their holidays. Younger, affluent holiday-goers are looking for sites that serve as a trustworthy resource and guide throughout their holiday experience.
What kinds of content are travelers looking for? Blog posts about the weather patterns, packing tips for your location, tour write-ups, video blogs, social media posts, travel guides, infographics about the culture, Q&As, and other useful information.
Help get your clients excited about their upcoming holiday and answer their questions about the city in which you operate. Even if the content isn’t directly related to your product or service, useful information is vital to your online presence and marketing strategy.
Travelers report feeling more loyal toward travel companies that share information throughout their holiday that improves their experience. Providing valuable information also positions you as an expert on everything they might want to know about your area. For these reasons (and many more) travel companies must ensure their website is mobile friendly and offers helpful travel information people need.
User-generated Content Is King
User-generated content (UGC) from your guests is an excellent source of organic and authentic web content. Potential customers don’t just trust your visual storytelling; they want to hear from satisfied customers about their holiday experiences.
UGC is becoming one of the most critical factors for people booking their next adventure. Studies show that 70% of people value recommendations from their peers over professionally created marketing campaigns. Satisfied customers have no reason to misrepresent a location or experience.
Harness this invaluable resource and let your guests create some of your online content! Travelers often post photos and share about their travels with family and friends throughout their holiday, so it’s easy to use some of that UGC to your advantage.
Whether it’s a custom hashtag, a place for guests to share their Insta-worthy photos, guest reviews, or an online guestbook, the adventure and luxury travel industry cannot ignore or overlook user-generated content in their online presence.
Value Over Discounts
Affluent travelers look for quality service instead of discounts now, especially in the luxury tourism industry. Millennials and Generation Z consumers value experiences over material goods. They view travel and adventure as an investment. It is essential to appeal to this priority in your marketing.
Today’s travel consumers value the overall experience, not just high-end hotel accommodations or first-class flights. Many holiday-goers are willing to fly economy and spend the extra money elsewhere on their adventures.
Instead of promoting the “brown bananas,” effective marketing in the modern travel industry communicates the overall value of the experience. Instead of advertising cheap rates or discounted packages, focus on why your services are a good investment that will meet their desire for a quality experience.
Conclusion: Quality Content Is Vital To Your Success
To thrive in the luxury and adventure tourism industry, you must rethink how you use content throughout your buyer’s journey (the sales funnel). You aren’t just competing with other travel sites; you are competing for attention in the social media realm where more than 2 billion photos are shared daily!
You simply cannot succeed in the travel industry without a great website and a constant supply of quality content that your clients need and want. This kind of content and online presence takes time and money.
There are no easy answers, quick fixes, or cheap shortcuts that actually work in the digital marketing world. That is why it’s important to develop an informed marketing strategy and stick to it, even when it gets challenging to wait for the results. Patience is a virtue, especially when waiting for your content strategy to begin turning a profit.