It’s never been more important to implement marketing strategies that keep your travel brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds. More and more holidays are starting to go ahead as restrictions are lifted and vaccinations roll out, but many travel companies are still feeling the effects of the pandemic and want to ensure that their brand is the first that comes to mind when a customer decides to book a trip.
At SEO Travel, we’ve been working with businesses in the travel industry for more than 10 years. Here are some of the best tactics we’ve seen for keeping our clients’ brands at the forefront of their customers’ minds.
Focus on what makes you unique
First things first — an unbeatable way to ensure that your travel brand is memorable is to give yourselves a unique selling point. It doesn’t have to be extremely wild or wacky, but it should set you apart from your competitors, and stay in your target audience’s mind when they think about your company.
If you’re a travel operator who offers unique tour experiences or trips to specific locations, you’ve already got a USP to work with. Make sure your marketing material communicates your offering and emphasises that your USP is a feature that customers won’t get anywhere else.
However, your USP doesn’t have to be your business offering. You might have a particularly noteworthy logo, name or slogan that instantly helps your brand stay top of mind, or perhaps you have developed a very recognisable look for your marketing content and advertisements. If this is the case, make sure all of your communications, marketing and social media highlight this standout feature, so that you form a strong brand image.
Marketing research has revealed that having consistent visual brand presentation across all of your channels and advertising material can increase overall revenue by up to 23 percent. It pays to stand out and be easily recognisable.
Know your audience
One of the best ways to keep your customers and target audience thinking about your brand is by understanding exactly what they want. For example, if you’re marketing to a demographic that is primarily looking for family holidays, advertising romantic, couples experiences or adrenaline-filled adventures won’t keep their attention.
Instead, do a deep dive into your customer data or collect feedback so that you can better understand what kind of service your audience is looking for, what kind of content they engage with most, and what it is that brought them to your brand in the first place. Then you can develop a strategy that focuses on these areas, delivering a better experience to your customers and ensuring that they think of your company often.
Eighty-seven percent of consumers say that their feelings towards a company are positively influenced when that brand produces content that is relevant to them on a personal level. You’re going to build a much stronger image if you’re demonstrating that your brand provides useful and interesting content and services that offer exactly what your target audience is looking for.
Analyse your competitors
A key approach to making sure you stand out and remain relevant to your customers is to analyse your competitors and develop a clear brand image and offering that is totally unique. You aren’t going to be memorable if there are other travel businesses exactly like you, and you certainly won’t be the first that comes to mind if others are providing better services.
First, make sure that none of your competitors has a brand image so similar to yours that potential customers might get confused. If you find too many similar brand images, it might be time for a rebrand.
Then, ensure that you are offering a unique and valuable travel experience that isn’t available anywhere else. This is something you can shout about!
Give travel inspiration
One of the main ways travel companies kept their brands at the forefront of customers’ minds throughout the pandemic was by offering travel inspiration in their marketing materials. Even if nobody could actually visit their dream destinations, plenty of brands focused their efforts on producing content that inspired wanderlust, reminding their audience what they could enjoy once restrictions were lifted, and keeping their brand connected to the idea of travelling in the future.
Even though we’re no longer in the throes of lockdown, providing inspiration for holidays and travel experiences is a brilliant way to continually engage your audience and keep your brand on their minds. If you’re associated with thoughts of travel, potential customers thinking about going on holiday will often also think of your brand.
Use an emotional hook
Similar to the last point, using an emotional hook is a great way to increase engagement and help your brand stick more firmly in the minds of your target audience. Inspiring the desire to travel is great, but you can also tap into people’s emotional engagement by creating person-centred marketing material that is easy to relate to.
Examples of this technique include videos of holiday experiences, blog posts offering expert or local advice on what to do whilst visiting a destination, and anything that has a personal edge and is more than just a pretty photo or informative article. Emotional memories stick in the brain far more than ones without any meaningful connection, so targeting your customers’ emotions will help your marketing content and brand to become much more memorable.
A consumer study found that 86 percent of customers prefer brand personalities that are authentic and honest on social networks, which is why tapping into emotions with your content is so important.
Invest in PR
A great tactic for keeping your travel brand relevant is to get featured in publications or on websites where you know your customers and target audience are already hanging out. Not only will this attract new business, but it will also act as a reminder to potential customers that your company is endorsed by publications that they trust, strengthening your brand image and their trust in you.
If you have a digital PR team or manager as part of your marketing strategy, then you’re likely already building good backlinks to your website by gaining positive reviews, writing guest posts or featuring in articles. If not, you can start to do this yourself by creating press releases or marketing campaigns with the intent of getting coverage and shares from relevant publications, blogs and websites.
Successful PR outreach gets easier with experience, but a good way to start is to compile a list of publications and websites that your target audience is likely to read and are relevant to your company. You will then need to strategise how you’re going to get coverage and links from these sites, which could involve contacting journalists, offering a reciprocal feature or speaking to people directly.
Communicate with customers
Another great way of keeping your travel brand in the thoughts of your customers is to actively engage with them across the different channels you use. A business that takes the time to respond to feedback, answer questions and interact with its customers is not only going to cultivate a more positive image, but also make more of a lasting impact.
Communicating with your customers can involve replying to comments left on social media, offering personal customer service and providing fast responses to any queries or complaints that come up. For example, if a potential customer had a question about one of your holiday packages and received a detailed, personalised response in less than 24 hours, they would be much more likely to gain a positive impression of your brand and think of you again when it actually came to booking a holiday.
According to consumer research, 73 percent of consumers describe “loving” a brand because of their helpful customer service. You can’t argue with those kinds of numbers.
Reward future bookings
Reward schemes are brilliant at ensuring repeat business and keeping your company in the thoughts of your customers even after they have travelled with you. A great way to maintain a good relationship and keep your brand in mind is to offer a discount for another booking right after a customer has returned from a holiday, and give them a set period of time to cash in.
Alternatively, you can just offer a small discount or bonus experience that a customer can use any time they book with your travel company again. Whilst this doesn’t have the same time-pressure attached — which can dampen the success of the deal — customers will be more inclined to remember that they have a discount with you and will keep you more firmly in mind than if they had no extra incentive at all.
Finally, one of the best things that you can do to keep your travel brand front of mind is to be consistent with your content, advertising and customer outreach. If your audience is seeing social media posts from you every day, they are going to have constant, gentle reminders of the service you offer and be more likely to think of you when it comes to booking a holiday.
If you have a blog or an email newsletter, it’s also very beneficial to be consistent with your publishing schedule. If you’re providing genuinely valuable and inspiring content that your audience enjoys consuming, they’ll start to anticipate the next instalment, and having a regular posting schedule will enforce this anticipation and keep your brand on their minds.
You can learn about the best email marketing practices for travel companies in our article here.
The key to keeping your customers thinking about your travel brand is to establish yourself as a unique provider and implement a marketing strategy that ensures your target audience is seeing content that is emotionally engaging and genuinely valuable. The travel industry is hopefully done with the worst of the struggles brought on by the pandemic, but ensuring that your customer base continues to support your brand and consider your services is vital to full recovery and future success.
If you need more information or help with your travel branding, get in touch with SEO Travel for a chat and to find out more about the range of marketing services that we offer.