One of the most interesting things about the travel industry is its reach – everybody, regardless of age, occupation and interests, loves going on holiday. 77% of us went away in the UK or abroad this year, averaging around 3.2 holidays each. Next year looks bright too, with 51% expecting to spend the same, and 15% planning to spend more on their breaks in 2016.
Having such a huge market is great, but if you try to sell your product to everyone you’ll engage nobody. It’s vital to identify your target audience and tailor your campaign so that it speaks to them loud and clear.
These six tips for talking to your audience will ensure your destination campaign is hitting home.
1. Do your research
This may sound like an obvious one, but you can’t speak the language of your audience if you don’t know who they are. Quality research is the foundation of all great campaigns, so you need to be doing much more than just scanning Google Analytics a couple of times a week.
You want to know who your customers are – their age, gender, interests and online habits. Digging deeper into your Google demographics and interests data will reveal whether your users are technophiles, news junkies or cooking enthusiasts, and provide insight into what they buy online.
Social analytics will also help you get to know your audience better. Twitter can give you a breakdown of your followers’ interests and the other accounts they follow, whilst Facebook will tell you about the age, gender and location of people who like your page.
You could also try a more direct approach with customer surveys and post-purchase feedback forms. Go for quick and easy multiple choice questions with the option for further written responses, as this is a great opportunity to hear in their own words what makes your audience tick. Don’t forget to add an incentive such as a prize or discount to boost response rate.
2. Engage emotionally
A holiday is a deeply personal thing – it reflects something of your hopes and dreams, a glimpse of who you’d really like to be if boring old everyday life didn’t keep getting in the way. Yes, customers are attracted by the best pool in town, the world-famous sights, and the coolest bars on their doorstep - but what they are really buying into is emotion, be it romance, wonder or joy.
Tap into the emotion your customers want to feel, and you’ve cracked your campaign. Show parents how safe and free their children can feel in your all inclusive-hotel, capture the romance of getting engaged in a little bistro in Paris, share that feeling you get with your skis poised at the top of the infamous Le Tunnel run in Alpe d’Huez.
3. Provide a service
Modern holidaymakers are internet-savvy, and will spend considerable hours researching their destination before they make a purchase – this means they can smell heavy-handed marketing spiel a mile off.
Glossy pictures and pretty descriptions are no longer enough – rather than pushing the sale, you should be thinking about providing a service to assist your customers in their holiday research. You won’t stop people shopping around, but the more prominently you feature in the research stage the more likely they are to remember you when it comes to booking.
Reviews and photographs from other travellers are always popular, and users will approve of your transparency. You should also draw on your local knowledge and industry experience to produce detailed blog posts and guides that target highly specific long-tail queries.
Think about your demographic’s interests and concerns, and respond to this in your content. Are there child-friendly restaurants in Barcelona? Are the roads in Menorca good for cycling on? - This is the sort of information that customers really value.
4. Get social
Just take a look at your own social feed and it’ll be blatantly obvious that everybody loves sharing their holiday snaps. Every day your customers will take thousands of stunning pictures and post hundreds of updates about great their holiday is – travel industry marketers would be mad not to tap into this goldmine!
Raise interest and engagement with a hashtag campaign or photo competition. You could even use your social following to source tips and recommendations for destination guides. User-generated content like this saves you valuable research time, and contributors will be more than happy to share the resulting piece.
5. Think visually
Remember, onsite content marketing is not restricted to blog posts. Brilliant travel writing can be truly inspiring, but other snappier mediums may better grab the attention of customer searching on their phone in their lunch break.
The travel industry lends itself to images, so make the most of your destination by letting great photographs speak for themselves – and it goes without saying you should have an active presence on Instagram. Other visual content such as videos and infographics should also be used to supplement your onsite blog posts.
Is your destination campaign up to it?
The highly competitive world of travel marketing invites creativity and ingenuity, but also presents its own demands. Read our blog to discover how you can use images to increase engagement and reach your target audience with PPC – and don’t forget to join our mailing list for more digital marketing gems straight to your inbox.
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