The internet has transformed the way we plan our travels. Pouring over glossy travel brochures and trawling around high street agents has been largely replaced by turning to the biggest source of inspiration at our fingertips: the internet.
According to a recent multinational study of travel trends across eight countries – the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, China and Japan – at least 50% of travellers are uncertain about their destination when they begin their online research. Over 65% admit to being directly influenced by informative content from travel brands and destinations, a figure that rises to over 80% when narrowed down to the American, British, Canadian and Chinese markets.
The moral of the story?
If your travel product or service, whether it’s a destination, hotel, airline, tour, activity, etc. has a strong online presence, you have the ability to directly affect people’s travel plans, gaining new customers in the process. On the flip side, if your online home is a little unloved and neglected, your business risks being left in the dark.
As a travel business owner, driving traffic to your website is one of your top priorities. One of the most effective ways to do this is by blogging.
Here’s an overview of the benefits of blogging for your travel business.
1. You’ll reach more potential customers
How do people find your website? If they’re already familiar with your brand or destination, they probably type your name into Google. But how can you reach the people who don’t already know you?
You can probably guess where I’m going with this…
Via a combination of blogging backed up with a strong social media strategy.
Think about it. Many business websites have a limited number of main pages, and, let’s be honest, how often do you update those? However, each new post you add to your blog equals one fresh page of unique content, which gives you another opportunity to pop up in online searches.
Blogging also provides you with fresh content to keep your social media buzzing. With intelligent use of hashtags, you can send a whole new audience winging their way to your website. If your content helps them with their travel planning and makes them gaze wistfully into the future when they’re experiencing it for themselves, well, chances are they’ll share it with their friends too!
2. Turns dreamers into buyers
Getting people to your website is only half the battle. Once there, you want to persuade them to convert from dreamers into buyers. And guess what? A blog can help with that too.
Most people turn to the web when they want information, a solution to a problem or, as is often the case with travel, inspiration. Greet them with a ton of useful, informative posts and they’ll recognise that you know your stuff and start to trust your brand.
Drop in a call to action at the end of each post, and you can gently guide your readers one step closer to buying into your travel experience. Your call to action can be something simple, like sign up for our newsletter, learn more about this tour, or see our accommodation options. Even better, give away something for free in return for another name on your mailing list, such as a fact sheet, mini guide, webinar, or a money-off voucher.
Word of warning though – don’t go for the hard sell. Nobody likes aggressive sales tactics when they’re planning their lovely relaxing holidays.
3. Keeps you riding high in the Google rankings
Remember when I mentioned each blog post is a fresh new page of content for your website? Well, Google loves freshness!
Each time you post, you’re showing the Googlebots that your website is alive and kicking. This means they’ll remember to check back frequently to see what else you have to say. If your content is high quality – i.e. full of useful, relevant information and perfectly punctuated to boot – you’re increasing your chances of being on the first page of the search results. What’s more, you can target a different search term on each post, which gives you loads more opportunities to reach people.
Google also pays attention to how many comments you get, any likes and shares on social media, and how well your site works on mobile. So if people need to pinch and swipe to get to your content, you need to be checking out responsive websites ASAP.
4. Builds a dynamic online presence for your brand or destination
Adding a blog to your travel website is a powerful way to supercharge your online presence. Your website should give a clear, concise explanation of your offerings, but it may not give visitors much of an insight to the people behind the brand or destination. And us humans, we’re a social bunch and we looove doing business with other humans. So this is the perfect space for you to show the people behind your brand or destination via interviews and stories.
Publishing lots of useful information about your region sets up your website as a hub of knowledge for potential visitors. Suggest itineraries, give useful ideas for packing lists, highlight things to do in the area, detail useful dates such as festivals and local bank holidays… And give them a taster of how they could feel if they visited.
By consistently creating useful and inspiring information, you’re building your reputation as an authority in your field, and showing your human side, too. You’ll gain your readers’ trust and when they do want to book a holiday, you’ll be top of their minds.
It’s also a good idea to use your blog to discuss some of the issues in your sector, such as new airline rules, or problems and issues at certain destinations. This shows you’ve got your finger on the pulse, and demonstrates that they’ll be in safe hands by booking with you.
5. Engage with your customers
In addition to showing your customers and readers your human side, blogging gives you a golden opportunity to get to know them too. Because it’s ideal for engagement.
Use your blog posts and social media to invite conversations. Ask questions, see if there are any burning queries your readers want answered, illustrate your passion for your destination, product or service, answer frequently asked questions, and ask them to share their stories. Third party stories, especially from customers, are fantastic because they show interested parties what the experience is like from somebody who isn’t on the payroll. And this helps to increase trust and bolster your reputation.
One thing though – ensure you regularly monitor your social media and blog posts, and dedicate time to replying and engaging. This way your customers know you’re listening and that you value their opinions.
6. Excellent value for money
Finally, creating and maintaining a blog is a smart use of your marketing budget (and who doesn’t like being a smarty pants when it comes to money?). Social media is an excellent way to engage with your customers and readers, but it has a very short lifespan. And paid ads, well, they dry up as soon as you stop paying.
Blog content is different. If your content is evergreen, it can have an endless lifespan. Give it an initial boost with your social media, and once it starts ranking it could continue to get you traffic and leads for weeks, months, and even years. So the effort and money you put in today will continue to work for you in the future. Good, eh?
The benefits of blogging for your travel business
Remember, at least half the people who land on your website won’t have decided where they want to go on holiday, let alone thought about who they’re booking with. So your blog is about more than just sales. By regularly blogging, your business will see a range of benefits including building your authority, attracting more leads and conversions, reaching a wider audience, highlighting your brand personality and story, improving your SEO, and giving you the opportunity to engage with your audience.
But I don’t have the time to blog, I hear you cry.
I understand. Blogging can be time-consuming, even though it’s a great long-term strategy. If you want to add a travel blog to your website but don’t have the time to write, I can help. I can create a blogging strategy and write inspirational, useful and interesting posts to engage your readers and turn dreamers into buyers. To find out more, see my services. Alternatively, contact me here to discuss your blogging requirements.