A Guide to Digital PR for the Travel Industry
The global travel market is massive, and in today’s world (especially as we navigate into a post-Covid one) digital marketing and PR for tourism are constantly changing. With its spiralling audience growth, the travel sector is becoming much more competitive, which means brands will need to be constantly coming up with fresh and innovative campaign strategies to stay ahead of the game.
This is why we’ve created a big old guide to give you some inspo and help you stand out. From in-depth outreach tips to taking complete advantage of social media, let’s take on the exciting world of digital marketing for the travel industry.
Make sure your target audience is clear
It’s actually surprising how many campaigns lose sight of who their target audience is and who it’s designed for. So, we’ve written out a quick crash course on how to avoid this:
Identify your target customer
Go back to the drawing board and think about the travel products or services you or your client offer. Are they strictly aimed at solo travellers, young couples, families, etc. or can they be appealing to a mixture of these demographics? Once you’ve identified this, you can start drawing characteristics from your target audience to create the persona of your customer.
So let’s say your established audience is young couples. This could include people under the age of 35, childless, or those who have recently got married or engaged. In the case of the latter, the honeymoon market is ideal, so it would make sense to focus some of your campaign strategy on this niche.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
Being empathetic can be really helpful when trying to stay focused on your target audience. For example, if your customers are families, think about the best destinations that are child/family-friendly. Are they good value, is there around-the-clock entertainment, is there a good mix of activities?
If so, you can then start thinking about where this target audience would look for this information, i.e. where would they find out about your/your client’s service or products? So, on top of the obvious Google search, we’re talking Facebook groups, reviews, and even online forums.
Having your target customer firmly identified is crucial before you start any other part of the marketing process.
Use Every Part of Social Media
It’s no secret how important social media is and the impact it has on digital marketing. When it comes to the travel industry especially, platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are literally there to provide inspiration for holiday destinations, attractions, activities, hotels, etc. And because prospective buyers are already on these platforms, it’s vital you’re there, too.
This means you can’t simply just create an IG account and repost content from other travel pages. Your content needs to be unique to your brand/client’s brand and you need to be prepared to engage with your potential customers by replying to comments, starting discussions, answering questions and providing quality customer service.
Leveraging visual media is also crucial because social media has become more competitive than ever. But, there are creative ways you can stand out, including using dedicated hashtags and posting images or videos that encapsulate the types of atmosphere and experiences your audience is guaranteed to encounter.
Is your outreach top-notch?
In any digital marketing strategy, outreach is important. This is why we’ve put together five top (and non-negotiable) tips that will help you increase your chances of success:
Read the news. As obvious as it sounds the best way to find out who will cover your story, is to read the stories they write. Set aside a few minutes each morning to research travel stories, paying close attention to who’s writing what.
Filter your database. Whether you’re a PRowly, Gorkana or Roxhill team, make sure you’re selecting travel on the filter options to find relevant journalists. Remember to do your due diligence checking their most recent articles or Twitter pages to ensure they’re still appropriate and active.
Check backlinks. Search the news for campaigns similar to yours, find the original link and input it into Ahrefs. Click onto existing backlinks and sieve through the articles to find relevant contacts to add to your media list.
Pay attention to time zones. A recent campaign by Minty listed the top 40 happiest destinations in the world. So, we reached out to news titles across the globe. We scheduled our emails to ensure they reached international journalists at the optimum time.
Translate, translate, translate. Whether you have a bilingual person in your team or not, a good way to extend the reach of your campaign is to send it to international-speaking news titles with high DR’s. UpWork is a great site to find people to translate your content.
We actually launched a campaign recently with iVisa, a company that ‘provides the simplest solution to process your travel visa’. One of our goals was to secure coverage in a range of different, high-quality, international titles, and part of the process of achieving this was translating all of the content so that it would be relevant to both English and Spanish-speaking media outlets. Some of the international results we ended up obtaining included 51 pieces of coverage, and 747K estimated views. You can read our campaign case study here to learn more about it and see the rest of our achievements.
Get to know travel review sites
TripAdvisor is one of the biggest influential travel review sites. Along with other important websites, get to know them so you can feed them into your digital marketing strategy.
You should even consider a free listing, as it can really help with the promotion and visibility of your/your client’s business – especially if what you offer comes under categories such as “things to do”, “hotels” or “restaurants.”
Don’t be afraid to email past customers or guests and ask them if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review, too. Or, see if they’ll use free automated tools like Review Express – these will manage the review process and send out reminders.
Stay on top of existing customers
It’s important to not neglect your existing customers when you’re trying to attract new ones. This is because it’s way easier to earn another booking or sell another product to an existing buyer than it is to a new one. So, make sure you have email campaigns running to keep in regular contact with them, offering discounts for things like repeat bookings. Basically, jump back into your empathy bubble and ask yourself if you would come back for the service or product you provide.
You’ll also need to decide on the strategy for your email campaigns. For example, will you send newsletters weekly or monthly? You want to still be on your customer’s radar but you don’t want to bombard them with too much info that it becomes spam territory. Also, make sure your strategy is used as a tool to promote seasonal offerings – seasonal PR is imperative in the travel industry. So, what new deals, travel news, or destinations do you have to share, or do you have any helpful tips or hints that solidify you as an expert in your field?
Monitor and measure your efforts
And last but not least, monitoring and measuring the success of your travel PR campaign is just as important as the prep, launch and process. You can track the effectiveness of your efforts in a variety of ways – from engagement, clicks, media coverage, website traffic, views, downloads, and sales results.
You can use certain tools to find out what’s worked and what’s not, which can help you to make improvements. For example, Google Analytics allows you to see the most common ways people are finding your website. It could be via a social media link or via related terms on Google. When you look into these aspects, you’ll also be able to see how long people spend on your page, or what pages they typically move between. This then lets you create an image of your customer behaviour.
And even if your results sometimes show something hasn’t been successful, use this to your advantage and try a different approach.
Up your digital marketing game
As we said, the travel industry is ever-changing when it comes to digital PR and marketing, which is why you need to be constantly on the ball. Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or you’re new to the game, taking note of these tips and tricks will help you to make a success of future campaigns!