We are pleased to welcome Travefy as a guest blogger to the Galileo blog, writing about SEO for Travel Professionals! Travefy builds beautiful, branded collaboration and itinerary management software for travel professionals. Their B2B Pro tools work with hundreds of travel businesses ranging from small, independent travel advisors to the largest travel organizations like HomeAway and Travel and Transport. They were also thrilled to win the Brand USA Marketing Innovation Award at Phocuswright as well as by their recent acceptance into the Virtuoso Incubator. Enjoy!
Every day, millions of travelers are searching the web for questions, ideas, and inspiration for their next travel adventure. Whether it’s Googling passport questions or asking “How old do you have to be to rent a car?” (in fact, those are actually the two most common questions according to Google Search Data from January – March 2016 in the U.S.) Or maybe it’s browsing through sites to find the clearest beaches in the world!
These are better known as “micro-moments”, from searching for a place to visit to booking reservations. Google has coined the term as a “mobile moment that requires a glance to identify and delivers quick information that you can either consume, or act on immediately”.
So what does this mean for travel agents? It means that you can take advantage of these moments by having excellent SEO in place and catering to each micro-moment effectively. Surprisingly, 40% of U.S. travel site visits come from mobile, so we’re going to walk through ways that you can capture each moment to build your travel brand and acquire new clients.
We’ll break it down into four travel micro-moments that matter:
This is when the dreaming begins. A traveler might search “all-inclusive beach resorts in Mexico” or maybe head to Pinterest and start browsing travel boards. At this stage, people are looking for inspiration.
According to Google, 78% of leisure travelers haven’t decided what airline they will travel with and 82% of travelers haven’t chosen the accommodation they will book with either. This is when quick searching comes into play and you will want to do you best to be found whether it’s with enticing photos, a vlog, or a blog post.
Ways to capture the “I-want-to-get-away-moments” people:
- Include a travel blog on your website. This is your opportunity to build SEO and acquire new leads who land on your travel site. Having a blog on your site can be a huge win for your business! Promote blog posts of actual client stories, your own travel stories, destination ideas, and things to do in a certain city.
- Set up a Pinterest account. Pinterest is practically home to travel inspiration, so make sure that you’re present on the platform. Not only can you share travel blog posts you have created, but you can also feature your own photos and/or personal stories from clients. This will get the traveler’s inspiration juices flowing! Not sure where to begin? Download this free ebook that will walk you through setting up account, managing, and growing followers.
- Create videos and share them on social media platform and your blog. Did you know that 3 in 5 travelers watch an online video to narrow down their destination or activity choices? In truth, travel vlogs are the most viewed and most engaged type of travel video. However, only 14% of vlogs on YouTube are actually created by brands. This leaves a unique and open market for travel agents to share their expertise as well as adding personality and flare to their brand to entice new clients.
This is when travelers begin searching for hotels, flight options, reviews, and more. It’s also a great time for you as the travel advisor to make an impression so the traveler can consider working with you.
Ways to capture the “Time-to-make-a-plan-moments” people:
- Have simple and reachable support. Consider investing in a chat tool to add to your website and display your email or a “Contact Us” button in plain view. Remember, these are moments so if a person is unable to locate support within a few seconds, you might lose them.
- Create a Google AdWords campaign. Utilize search keywords to your advantage and consider investing in Google ads. Special keywords that will come in handy to grab a traveler’s attention will be about flights, hotels, and destination specifics (e.g. all-inclusive, beachfront, or camping).
This is your time to shine. Once travelers are ready to book, you want to be there to help and offer your unique services. Instead of travelers booking on travel sites like Expedia or Hotels.com, show that you know your stuff and that you’re there to offer white-glove service while they are away and tend to any travel issues that may arise. That’s what makes your expertise that much more special during this micro-moment.
Ways to capture the “Let’s-book-it-moments” people:
- Provide sample itineraries with quoting examples. This is where SEO is going to come in hand. Create example itineraries with lots of information and pricing. For example, you could create an itinerary called “Discovering South Africa” with every day filled up with tours, activities, places to go and see will become a great help to travelers. Take it a step further and include a “Book Now” or “Contact to Book” button with the itinerary. This will help the traveler take initiative in getting more information and potentially even booking through you.
- SEO. You might notice that SEO is becoming a common theme here in capturing travelers during their various micro-moments, but you should always implement more ways to get noticed in search results. Whether that’s from a blog post, video, image, or social media post. Think of the people who are in the “let’s-book-it-moments” and how you can target them. Maybe you offer more destination-specific expertise or general information when booking travel.
Once the traveler has booked their trip, they will experience one more important micro-moment that a travel marketer should pay attention to, which is the “can’t-wait-to-explore-it-moments”. According to Google, 85% of travelers don’t know what activities they’ll participate in until they arrive to their destinations. With all of your expertise, you can offer plenty of advice in this area.
Ways to capture the “Can’t-wait-to-explore-moments” people:
- Offer activity and tour ideas on their itinerary. Instead of creating an itinerary of all the things they have booked, go the extra mile to include optional activities and things to do or see. You could even offer a chat tool or open contact where they can reach you and ask questions on what they should do if they have free time.
- Create a downloadable destination guide. This is another SEO-driven tactic but also helpful for clients you currently have traveling. Build a beautiful ebook or download with tips and ideas of things to do at a destination. It’s a great idea to have this featured on your website for anyone to download as well. That way, you can acquire new client leads and build your brand!
These are just some of the SEO for travel professionals strategies you can reach travelers during the four important micro-moments listed in this article. Think outside of the box on how you can get your brand out there and take advantage of the travelers different moments during their trip planning process to create life-long clients.