Digital Trends that are shaping the Travel Industry

The Internet, especially Google is now shaping the way we search and book our holidays. The internet has radically changed the way we look at our holidays, the way we plan our getaways and basically everything to do with the entire booking process. I can make a bet that not many people remember the days when you had to make the journey to you local travel agent to book a hotel and airfare. Well, those days are long gone and everything in terms of travel is done online. Hotel and flight reservations right through to car hire, villa rentals, even research on which hotel to stay at is all done online.

Websites like TripAdvisor, Bookingdotcom, Hotelsdotcom and other smaller niche branded websites like Bali Villa Escapes are now the ‘go to’ websites for anything to do with planning and booking your holiday. This huge online trend in travel is constantly evolving at a frightening pace and is forcing digital marketing and SEO agencies to look at ways to make these businesses more competitive online and get their share of the Australian travel dollar. The internet has made the travel industry accessible so that now all businesses can get their slice of the travel pie. You see it all the time with internet start ups setting up blogs, travel advice sites and their own small niche businesses to take on the big boys. As long as you get the right digital mix in terms of web design, SEO, social media and marketing you too can be a player.

Let’s face it, tourism is massive and in Australia it’s a $120 billion dollar industry and will continue to grow as the ease of booking and paying for travel becomes easier and more accessible to everyone. Airfares can now be booked within a few clicks of a button. This is huge and airlines are cashing in on this bonanza by offering more and cheaper flights and if you haven’t noticed it, planes are becoming fuller. Gone are the days where you can get a free seat next to you. Planes are fuller and more crowded than ever and this is all due to the internet.

People are travelling still for the same reasons but the way the journey starts has evolved considerably. The first thing someone does before they even think about booking a hotel, resort or villa is to go online do their homework and research as much as they can about the place. What are people saying about it, what are the reviews like and then and only then once they have exhausted all avenues of research do they hit the buy button.

With the advent of mobile, hand held technologies people are doing this type of research in increasing numbers. From comparing airfares and hotel deals, to seeing what people are saying about a travel destination, there is so much information available at your finger tips, where ever you are and where ever you go.

Marketers now more than ever have to be so aware of consumer buying behaviour and need to have their clients interests front and centre at all times of potential travellers. Let’s now look at some of the ways at which the travel industry has evolved and what savvy digital agencies are using to promote brands and businesses within the travel industry.

# 1 – You Tube is an amazing platform for promoting basically anything to do with travel. Videos posted to YouTube are a great way to tell the consumer about a hotel, restaurant or airline and it has a huge cut through rate. People use YouTube for all their travel research and the power of video on platforms like this are becoming the ‘go to’ marketing destination for many businesses. Think about it, if you have a beautiful hotel right by the ocean, the obvious marketing move would be to take a professional video of this and put it on YouTube. You can even add drone footage for a more dramatic effect.

# 2. Social Media is now king when it comes to travel
All you have to do is think about 2 social media giants like Facebook and Instagram and you basically have the entire travel industry covered. Instagram especially has taken off like a rocket over the past coup0le of years with a majority of the content all related to travel. Look at any picture and its most likely about someone taking a ‘selfie’ overseas in some exotic destination. This has given rise to 2 areas within these platforms that savvy agencies are delving into; managing social media campaigns for travel businesses and secondly the rise of influence marketing which is massive. Brands are now engaging with well known celebrities or individuals with a huge following to help push their product. Big monies are now being spent just for 1 Instagram recommendation. The logic behind this is if they are supposedly fans of your hotel, airline, villa whatever your selling in the travel game, then it must be good. Social media endorsements for travel brands are on the rise and certainly influence where people travel and where they now stay.

# 3. SEO is also still very important

People are using their Smart phones to do their research and make their travel decisions on the go. Hand held’s have led to the rise in instant and random travel bookings that would have never existed years ago when making such a booking was a lot of work and somewhat of a hassle. This means that your website must be found on Google when people are doing their search and for this to happen you do need SEO. Without it, you are basically dead in the water. If your travel business is not on Google and I mean right up there in the top positions, your not going to get all those juicy travel leads. Google is really toughening up their ranking criteria which makes it even harder for newbie’s to rank and be competitive in the travel space. This is why they need a top SEO agency to working for them.

This is really the tip of the iceberg and as the internet evolves so will new marketing strategies and platforms. Who knows where it will end up and what will be the next big thing in travel marketing but from our perspective if you stick to the main digital marketing techniques you will be in the best position to capture your share of the market – if your in the travel game and want to learn more about getting more business from the internet please call us on 02 9360 8514. I can show you some really great case studies of how we have taken business start ups to hugely successful companies in less than 2 years.

How to know if your ‘Google Team’ are doing their job

Can you tell if your SEO agency is performing and doing what they said they would be doing in your initial meeting? In an enormous amount of instances there is an enormous gap in what is actually being done on your SEO campaign and what was promised to you in the initial sales pitch. There is a hell of a lot of hype and sales talk in the initial meeting but so often the follow through is seriously weak and under whelming. This can lead to frustration, mistrust and bitterness from business owners who take a dim view on all SEO and digital agencies just because they have been burnt in the past.

I know this as I receive calls every day from business owners that are literally tearing their hair out wondering why their Google rankings are stagnant and going no where. They are paying good money based on the promises of the first meeting, yet the results they are seeing are a joke. It’s up to agencies like ours at SEO Sydney Experts to explain what is going wrong and what’s now needed to fix the issues and restore or get the rankings back on track. So before you embark on your SEO journey and perhaps make the fatal mistake of choosing the wrong team I have decided to compile a list of question your should be asking them prior to proceeding. This way you will quickly know if they are about to waste your precious time and money.

Increase the number of website visitors

The best type of SEO agencies are going to do the right type of research before they deliver you the first ranking report. If what your receive is just a list of keywords that have risen in the rankings, my advise is to ditch then at the end of this pathetic report. This is a scam a joke and a way many businesses get scammed by SEO companies. What happens is they give you positive rankings for keywords that are easy to rank and that are not necessarily going to drive targeted and high conversion focused leads. You end up paying for keywords that rank well yet are of little value.

What you should be looking out for is a combination of great rankings and traffic numbers. Before the campaign even commences you should be given a comprehensive list of targeted keywords and the amount of traffic they are likely to bring in. You need to be ranking for those set of words that have the largest traffic numbers. These are often the sweet spot for businesses, being the most competitive and sort after words and here in lied the challenge. Anyone can rank easy to attain keywords, but only those SEO agencies that are any good will be able to rank the keywords with the largest traffic volumes.

Please be aware and this is something that your SEO team should have pointed out to you from the get go: SEO takes time and there are no immediate, fast rankings. In the world of Google, it takes time and it takes many man hours of work to rank a website. Those agencies promising you any type of guarantee or rankings within 90 days or your money back should be avoided.

Your SEO company needs to immediately address and you should make sure that they are doing this:

# 1: your websites titles and meta descriptions

#2: all ‘on page’ issues like content, site speed, mobile compatibility and graphics including the user experience

# 3: a complete audit of all in bound links that were made by any past SEO efforts. If they’re dodgy they will need to be immediately pruned

#4: a look at your Google analytics to inspect where the website traffic is coming from, bounce rates address any issues that you can see from a thorough analysis.

Without your SEO team working on all of the above 4 points chances of rankings are going to be seriously hampered. Be alert if they do not report on any of the above and ask why if they don’t. It’s this type of behaviour and neglect to website fundamentals that can throw your SEO rankings into a tail spin

It’s all about the organic traffic!

When it comes to measuring your websites traffic you need to have strict KPI’s in place that will ensure you are getting an increase in the number of organic searches month after month. Sometimes a nifty trick that SEO companies will play is to show the overall traffic to a website for all sources (including social media, paid ads as well as direct branded traffic), which is a misrepresentation of SEO. These results can often inflate the true value and viability of the SEO campaign and is a common trick I must say that is used far too often.

You need to be asking your SEO team where the results are coming from and what percentage (you will need this broken down) are coming directly as a result of the SEO campaign. That is the organic search. All other stats at this stage are pure fluff and irrelevant. You will also need to know once visitors are on your site:

Number of pages per session per visit

Bounce rate – this is a critical figures as you want this as low as possible and if you are working with an SEO agency that can help you reduce these rates through their design skills you are on a winner!

Time spent on site

Number of conversions you’re website is achieving

These above points are the most important ones. Make sure these are being addressed at all stages throughout your campaign. If they start talking about overall traffic numbers they are trying to whitewash the results and this is a really bad sign.

Be certain to question your SEO agency about:

– Are you reporting on all forms of traffic and not organic, and if not, why? This is a tough question and if you find them stumbling here, there is something fishy going on.

– If there has been an increase in web traffic, why hasn’t my sales increased or my conversions? This is tied in with the user experience and the results you are getting for analytics and must be addressed immediately. Basically, what this boils down to is the way the site is performing. It’s all well and good to get traffic but people need to like and be engaged with what they see online. If they hate it they will leave and this will increase bounce rates. If they like what they see they will be more likely to buy from you which is the perfect solution; great UX + SEO rankings = more sales!

You need to be Generating More Solid Conversions

 Increasing conversions is the best outcome of any SEO campaign so you really need to get a thorough understanding of how conversions can be reported.

Firstly, what is a conversion? It really is a desired outcome for the website. What do you want some one to do? It could be:

– leave their contact details

– sign up to a newsletter

– commenting on a blog

– buying a product or even making a call

All these can be measured and there should be a common ground reached before you start the SEO campaign as to what your desired conversions are. Most businesses we know of simply want the phone to ring ot people to fill out the inquiry form. All of these conversions can be tracked and they need to be reported back to you on a monthly basis. These results can be easily quantified and measured so there is no reason why you should not be getting this valuable information.

The best SEO agency that has a firm handle on customer user experience, design interface and SEO will be able to clearly articulate why an increase in traffic has not led to an increase in conversion rates. This is the fundamental outcome of an SEO campaign and MUST and I repeat MUST be conveyed to you.

A ton of dodgy SEO agencies ( to hide the fact that they are using ‘black hat’ SEO techniques – which is really bad) will use metrics that measure conversions based on the number of people landing on the contact page only and claiming this is a victory. This is a lazy way of implementing SEO and you must start questioning the validity of their service. It can go a step worse where conversions are not even mentioned and success is measured in rankings only – this is old school SEO and should be avoided at all costs. SEO is all encompassing and part of the digital umbrella – conversions are not your job it’s ours!

Having the conversation about conversion needs to begin now. Delaying this is only going to give your opposition the leg up and you are the one that’s going to loose out.

If you’ve got more questions about SEO or conversion rates and want to speak with a professional digital agency then cal us on 02 9360 8514. We know what it takes to double, even triple sales!