Travel companies need to retain visibility in the search engines in order to remain competitive. This means staying on top of current best-practices in travel SEO and implementing these strategies along with other marketing efforts. Travel SEO Link Building is an important part of a SEO campaign that can boost brand awareness and direct bookings, and keep more commissions and customers from going to the OTAs.
To begin understanding just how important a Travel SEO Link Building campaign, it’s helpful to first get an idea of how huge a market the OTAs comprise. Companies like Expedia.com and TripAdvisor are some of the more well-known third-party booking sites, but many marketers don’t realize that these two giants are actually umbrella businesses that run many other booking sites competing for travelers.
The State of the Travel Industry and OTAs
The current travel sector is heavily driven by OTAs. This state of the industry reflects past necessity amongst accommodation providers and other suppliers to turn to third parties to secure bookings. Even Google wants a piece of what has been the primary travel-booking pie. That is, until just recently. The rise of Google Travel, TripAdvisor, Expedia brands like Hotels.com, Hotwire.com and Travelocity is under challenge, however, by suppliers who want to take back control over their customers.
With the many ways hoteliers, car rental companies and even airlines can use SEO to connect with buyers today, we’re seeing a shift in the industry and disintermediation that affords closer relationships with consumers.
Shifting the Industry Toward Direct Bookings
The ease of implementing Travel SEO, and even PPC and other digital marketing efforts, is creating a industry-wide shift in which the consumer no longer has to rely on OTAs to find the best travel options. Hotel brands are becoming savvy with their search optimization efforts and building awareness online for their loyalty programs. Airlines are getting their book-direct-for-better-deals campaigns seen in search results, and are luring travelers in with their best price promises.
These and other efforts are targeting today’s consumers where they are searching for answers to their travel needs. The world-wide travel sector’s gross bookings for 2017 reached $1.6 billion, which made it one of the biggest and quickest-growing on the globe. Take a close look at that revenue and you’ll see there’s a notable change in the source, and in travelers’ recent booking patterns.
Category Searches and “Micro-moments”
Google’s data has shown marked trends in “category” searches, which are searches that take place in distinct and various phases within the travel buying process. These searches are premium opportunities for a travel supplier to create content that speaks directly to the consumer within each of these phases, or “micro-moments” as Google calls them.
Using SEO, travel suppliers can research, create and distribute information that provides travelers with exactly what their looking for when their searching.
Link Building, “Micro-moments” and Travel SEO
Researching keywords and creating keyword-rich content that speaks to travelers within the travel “micro-moments” – I Want to Know, I Want to Go, I Want to Do and I Want to Buy – is relatively easy. Amplifying the reach of this helpful – and brand-building- content is a bit more difficult. Through link building, your travel SEO strategy to connect directly with your customers gets a big boost.
While researching, planning and booking, travelers place more authority and reliability on websites that they perceive to offer unbiased information. They value sites linked to trusted sources like major travel publications. Therefore, a robust and smart travel SEO link building campaign is essential.
Reaching the consumer, and obtaining the booking over a huge and well-known OTA, comes down to having a solid and comprehensive travel SEO campaign that includes link building. To learn how to incorporate link building in your travel SEO strategy and take back more of your bookings from the OTAs, contact Galileo Tech Media.