Social media continues to have a massive impact on travel. Over the years, it has played a significant role in promoting remote and off-the-beaten trips on a global scale. Further, it also has an enormous impact on users to make travel decisions.
According to GlobalData, 87% of millennials look up to social media for travel inspiration. In fact, social media content, promotions, and deals influence more than 50% of travelers to make their travel decisions.
With growing social media platforms, travel companies should consider creating more online content to capitalize on the active users on these platforms.
As of January 2020, Youtube has around 2 billion monthly users, Instagram has 1 billion, and TikTok has risen to 800 million monthly active users.
After all, a considerable number of people are on the internet already. Therefore, you will be missing out on a huge opportunity if you are not already online.
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How Can Travel Agencies Benefit from Social Media Marketing Platforms?
As far as marketing is in question, there is simply no better way than referrals and positive testimonials.
Because people will buy from brands they trust.
Think about it, when was the last time an ad really captured your attention from the get-go (unless it was something really good or controversial)?
Do you remember any specific advertisement you saw or read that stuck to your mind while you continued with your daily chores?
This is one of the problems our generation faces — low attention span. Unless the content is highly captivating, it will most likely fade away with millions of other content on the internet.
People can very easily overlook your ad. But a peer recommendation or review on social media can get them thinking — “Since my friend had such an exciting experience with this brand or business, I should probably travel with them.”
Good examples of these can include the Skillshare and Audible sponsorships you can find in a majority of YouTube videos.
This is where having a great presence on social media platforms comes into play.
Let’s take another example. Do you remember the witty Taco Bell and Wendy’s Twitter Feud?
In case you are unaware, Wendy’s, an American international fast-food restaurant chain, started a Twitter war with a user about burgers. The witty back and forth led to a whole can of worms being opened and sparked what’s now called “the Chicken Sandwich Wars.”
This was all back in 2017, and the whole debacle led to chicken sandwiches selling out within two weeks.
The point is, travel agents can markedly increase their sales and build their brand via a strong social media presence.
Not only will making proper use of social media marketing increase sales, but travel agents can also grow their business and be subjected to more exposure. All of this can culminate in an increase in profit.
And you want to know what the best part is about all this?
Social media and tourism marketing don’t even have to feel like advertising. People are allowed to share written testaments to your brand’s most impressive qualities via social media. They can share exquisite pictures and videos of their experiences, which can capture the imagination and heart of their networks, unlike any advertisement ever could.
Things to Consider When Starting Social Media Marketing
The first thing you should do is come up with a unique social media marketing strategy. For that, here are a few things that you should consider:
- How much time and money do you have to run a number of social media platforms?
- Who are the majority of your audiences, and where do they come from?
- Which social media networks work best for you?
- How often can you make arrangements for posts, and what tools do you need to integrate all of your social media channels to your website?
- And finally, tackling an excellent social media marketing strategy for proper advertisement.
If you have time and money to run only one social account besides your business, you can go for Facebook. It gives you a variety of engagement opportunities and lets you access the biggest audience. You can also integrate a ton of free marketing tools with Facebook.
How to Create Marketing Strategies for Travel Agents on Social Media Platforms
- Curate Engaging Content: The most crucial step is creating engaging content if you aim to attract more customers. For this, you can focus on visual experience for your customers since the tourism industry is significantly connected with this aspect. Use beautiful, catchy photos and engaging videos that embody simplicity and fun. You can also make use of user-generated content. This is one of the best ways to get people engaged with your travel business.
- Use Influencer Marketing: Marketing with collaborative influencers can help your travel business quite a lot. One of the advantages of using influencers for marketing is broad visibility. After identifying your target location and audience, you can get in touch with tourism experts and influencers. You will not believe how quickly your brand will reach followers via influencers.
- Excite your customers BEFORE they Travel: Discovering travelers planning a trip to your destination is another great variation of social listening. Search for hashtags related to your destination to find people still in the planning stages of their trip. This is a great time to provide an insider’s guide to these potential customers. You can present them with a visitor tip sheet or an itinerary planner. By doing so, you can build trust, foster a relationship, and open your customers up to the kind of travel experience they can expect from your brand.
Once you’ve developed a proper marketing strategy, the next step is implementing that strategy on social media platforms. Here are the 6 Best Social Media Marketing Platforms to start promoting your travel business online:
- Youtube and TikTok
Best Platforms to Boost Your Online Presence
1. Social Media Marketing for Travel Agents on Facebook
Facebook is perhaps one of the best social media marketing platforms for travel agents.
Consider Facebook as a home base to secure fans, add photos, promote your content, and handle customer service queries. Further, it also allows you to interlink your social accounts, promote and advertise your service, and create events and competitions.
An example of social media marketing on Facebook for travel agents is TUI. It is the world’s largest travel agency. Thus, it’s no surprise that they are doing relatively well, and here’s how —
Nordic TUI used video, carousel ads, and link ads for a recent ad campaign on Facebook. It resulted in a 55x return on ad spend, with 89x return for Swedish travelers. Further, TUI was recognized as one of the best-performing travel agencies on the network.
And it’s not only about having the right advertising strategy; it is also about knowing your customer base.
For example, TUI made correct use of the fact that its Nordic customers use Facebook first. So they used Facebook to provide customers with plenty of great content.
In order to advertise your website or your blogs on Facebook, you should first have a really good website. Your website can then attract more traffic if you put your links on Facebook for your potential customers to see and click on.
For this, you can use a social media management tool, to find out where your travel clients are and how you can easily facilitate them on their travel journeys through your site.
2. Social Media Marketing for Travel Agents on Instagram
Next on the list is Instagram. Having a social presence on any image-based site is important as the travel industry is inherently a photogenic enterprise. Ideally, you should habituate both Instagram and Pinterest, as both are fundamentally different.
That being said, not everyone may have enough time and money to get invested in all photo-sharing sites. If you can only commit to one photo-sharing site, you should go with Instagram.
Travelers and image-based sites share a unique connection. For example, a study by Schofields Insurance divulged that 40% of Millennials would choose a vacation destination based on how Instagrammable it is. Considering millennials make up the majority of market consumers, it is wise to utilize this asset.
An excellent example of social media marketing for travel agents on Instagram is SmartFlyer. It has over 34.8k followers and understands the significance of taking great pictures.
Having a strong Instagram following is definitely good for business, as 80% of Instagram accounts follow a business, with 30% of users buying something they first see on the platform. Not to mention, over 120 million Instagram users visited a website or called, emailed, or direct messaged a business because of advertising.
3. Social Media Marketing for Travel Agents on Pinterest
With a grid layout, Pinterest is THE site for planning trips and holidays. The site is inherently designed for visual discovery, making Pinterest hold a considerable advantage over other platforms like Facebook and Twitter. A large number of users go to Pinterest every day, whether it is for crafting ideas, DIY projects, or planning for their vacation.
As mentioned, travel and tourism are primarily visual experiences. Nearly 25% of all pins on this platform are about travel and tourism. According to Skift, among the top five booking sites, airlines, destinations, hotels and media brands, 75% are on Pinterest. As a matter of fact, Pinterest has way more travel pins than TripAdvisor has reviews and opinions.
A good example of travel marketing on Pinterest would be Expedia — another one of the top-earning travel agencies in the world. It has almost 50,000 followers on Pinterest and 41 boards ranging from destinations like Europe and Australia to topics such as “honeymoons” and “foodie travel.”
Remember — Pinterest, at its core, is not really a social network site. Users don’t interact with each other on Pinterest the same way as other social networks. Instead, Pinterest is more in line with a visual search engine. It is basically a social bookmarking platform for saving links in the form of images.
So you might be wondering, how you can successfully market your brand on Pinterest? As a business, you can do two things with Pinterest — pull in traffic to your website and build brand awareness. To generate leads, you can create educational, valuable content for your audience and promote your blog articles. However, most important of all, you must include gorgeous pictures with links back to your article on your website.
Pinterest is an aspiration planning site, and it is good to consider this factor. Unlike Instagram, Pinterest users aren’t sharing pictures of their lives. Instead, they are bookmarking pictures that depict their aspirations (or how they would like their lives to be), whether it’s dressing up, what they want to eat or travel. That’s why Pinterest is a great social media marketing platform for travel agents.
If you want to create a Pinterest account for your travel company but don’t know where to start, check out this guide How to Use Pinterest for Your Travel Company. Besides instructional steps to create a Pinterest account, you can also find some helpful tips to run a better Pinterest campaign.
4. Social Media Marketing for Travel Agents on Twitter
You have a handful of choices when it comes to Twitter. It is a great platform for putting forward dedicated customer service and having good communication with your followers.
Even if you are using Facebook, it is still good to have personal Twitter accounts for customer service. You can stay briefed on industry news through your Twitter account and also use the platform to carry on with the latest travel trends.
Twitter is also great for promoting your content. You can join conversations by using trending hashtags and adding shortened links to your content.
A good example of social media marketing on Twitter is Orbitz. It has a ton of followers, along with a cheeky copywriting scene. Their services and help pages are often strategically linked to reroute customer service queries back to their website. However, you necessarily do not need to have a large corporate Twitter account like Orbitz if you are starting small.
Alternatively, you can create a dedicated customer service Twitter account or even create a personal Twitter account with link-backs to your website.
For example, KLM runs a Twitter account that keeps travelers updated on important information through tweets. They also provide them with customer service through private messaging. KLM is a large airline with the ability to provide customer service in 10 languages, but their way of operating on Twitter is achievable on a smaller scale.
5. Social Media Marketing for Travel Agents in LinkedIn
LinkedIn is often the number one social network for professionals. While it may not seem as visually dazzling as Instagram or as universal as Facebook, LinkedIn offers an excellent business community well-suited for travel agents.
Consider LinkedIn’s demographic — the site’s overall users are older (82% are 30+), more educated (62% are college graduates), and relatively earn more than the other top social media platforms. So if you would like to reach this audience, LinkedIn is the one you want to be in.
Similarly, an effective way to connect and build your reputation as a good travel agent is to join LinkedIn Groups. Individuals in the same industry are connected through Groups, and it is easy to make contacts, share ideas and advice with Groups. You can even add job postings on this network to reach out to the right candidate.
You can follow and engage with clients and LinkedIn peers. There are multiple ways to go about doing this; you can easily find and connect with clients, prospective clients, suppliers, and peers through the site. With the help of your personal LinkedIn profile, you can connect with people you meet in any business setting, from a local networking event or a trade show/client meeting.
6. Social Media Marketing for Travel Agents on YouTube and TikTok
Lastly, you could also dip your feet into other popular marketing platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Both of these platforms are video-based, so you can advertise your brand and services by making engaging and entertaining videos.
Besides blogging or written content, videos are one of the easiest ways to engage and connect with travelers. And YouTube is one of the most popular and suitable platforms to get your videos in front of the right customer base.
According to the YouTube Official Blog, 1.5 billion users logged in or viewed videos on YouTube every single month. In addition, statistics from Think with Google revealed that over a BILLION people watch YouTube videos each month, with over 8 billion views garnered by YouTube each DAY.
You can establish real branding and build relationship benefits with your customers on YouTube. Aside from that, you must remember that YouTube also functions as a search engine.
Not only do travelers use YouTube for searches directly, but YouTube videos also show up in Google and other search engine results. Thus, you can get your videos optimized for search engines to draw more audiences.
Similarly, travel brands also need to carefully consider approaching TikTok as another social media vehicle for marketing, alongside existing giants like Youtube and Instagram.
There you go. We presented you with the 6 Best Social Media Marketing Platforms to boost your online presence and generate more leads.
Don’t miss out on the ocean of opportunities that lie ahead. Find a suitable social media platform for your travel agency. Figure out which platform serves best for your brand and start working accordingly.
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