Guide to Facebook Marketing for Travel Agencies
One of the most frequently asked questions by travel agents when it comes to marketing and expanding their business is: Why do I need social in my marketing arsenal?
There are many out there that feel that social media is something that will lose its importance in the times to come, but, if you ask us, social media is not going anywhere and is here to stay. Building connections and interacting with the people virtually has become an integral part of the day-to-day routine of people across the globe.
As a travel agent you need to embrace this medium of networking and building an audience base as another way to spread the word about your business.
There are various other tools that you might be currently using, such as email, direct mail, going to trade shows and SEO. Half of your work ends here. However, the remaining half is dependent on social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Social media channels aren’t a replacement for any of these marketing strategies that you apply today. These are the necessary additions that can help you leverage in mapping potential business from the target audience.
You must understand that on social networks, you communicate with clients or prospects in a different tone and format than any other marketing channel. Hence, building customer relationships becomes real time and spontaneous. These platforms help you to know your customers with direct interactions to build and strengthen relationships.
With so many different social media platforms out there, and limited resources and time, it can get challenging for a travel agency to decide which platforms to focus on.
As far as we’re concerned, Facebook is the ideal platform to begin when doing social media for your travel agency. Let’s face it, with close to 2 billion active users worldwide, most of your current or potential clients spend a lot of their time on Facebook everyday. So if you don’t have a strong presence on Facebook, you are missing out.
Ways in which you can use Facebook for marketing
The platform makes it really easy to generate new followers. This can be done through targeting existing clients on the platform by entering your existing email list into Facebook and run a page promotion ad at a very low cost.
Facebook also makes it super easy to share content and photos to your network to inspire them to travel.
Here are some activities you should be doing to build your brand on Facebook:
- Promoting events and deals: This is a good option to create engaging content for your Facebook page if you’re attending a travel expo, trade show or hosting a client appreciation party. Facebook serves the best platform to inform people about it and engage with the audience. You can also promote deals or sales if you’re having any on specific destinations and let people know about it.
- Run contests: As a travel agent, Facebook contests are an amazing way to drive conversions, gain new followers/fans and enhance your potential reach to a new audience that could become future clients.
- Share User Generated Content: Customer testimonials or client feedback are some of the most effective ways to gain the trust of your audience. Encouraging your clients to share/allow you to share their memorable travel photos/videos on your page is a great idea as they share it within their circle as well that increases your potential audience and also spreads awareness of your business. It also performs as a public relations tool to demonstrate that you are keeping your customers happy and that others trust you.
- Use Social To Showcase Current Hot Spots or Resorts: By consistently posting about vacation destinations with enticing photos and descriptions can help you attract a larger audience who have those locations to visit on their bucket list, whether with family or friends. This is a great way to showcase destinations and post about recent resort partners as associations which would help in promoting both, the resort and your travel agency.
- Utilize Facebook Groups: Facebook groups are a cost effective way to put your brand in front of thousands of potential clients. There are already many travel groups on Facebook where travelers as well as agents exchange useful info and participate in real-time discussions. You can either join existing groups or even form your own groups relating to your niche. Invite your customers and prospective members of your target audience to join the group and share their experiences, bucket lists, queries etc. Participating in such groups not only increases visibility but also helps you showcase your expertise.
Keys to Success on Facebook for Travel Agents
Be a Brand that is Interactive and Responsive
Not all brands succeed in establishing a strong connect with their audience when it comes to social media. Interacting with the audience when they share their opinions and feedback is important to make your brand trustworthy. Avoiding customers’ questions or not resolving issues can often lead to spoiling the brand image among the huge customer audience that you have on Facebook. On the brighter side, one of the best ways of using Facebook as an opportunity for travel agents is to brand your travel agency as a trustworthy brand that works efficiently on providing customer services that are beyond satisfaction levels.
More and more customers are using Messenger to get their queries or issues resolved. Therefore, Travel brands need to be highly responsive to Facebook messages, as people today expect prompt responses and businesses that are slow to respond risk losing clients to competitors. Another reason to be responsive is because Facebook publicly displays responsiveness performance in terms of time and percentage on your Facebook page and a slow response time is likely to create negative impression about your brand.
Establishing a good online reputation can be done by getting your existing customers to share their experiences on your social channels. This could be posting reviews of your customers on your social media profiles which they too would share across their online network. Other ideas to engage with them often can include giving helpful travel tips and providing your customers with unique blog posts or travel stories to read. Here, content is the king. It is important to have the right content on your brand page which can help you attract more customers.
Post Content People will Love
Sharing your industry experience and expertise through travel guides, practical tips and bucket lists not only helps you gain new followers but also keep existing fans engaged. This is where content is paramount and your focus should be on creating content your fans will love. People are more likely to share stuff they love it themselves. While creating content, the use of attractive images and a compelling copy can significantly increase engagement. All this will eventually help you in creating a need to travel and that is where the real business for any travel agent lies. Hence, use your expertise as a travel agent to offer your readers with more information about refreshing destinations that they can visit on their next holiday.
Offer Targeted Deals
Who doesn’t love great deals? One of the major benefits of an online travel portal is you can offer exciting deals to your target audience. Playing on the audience psychology and offering exciting offers as last minute deals are a great way to convert lookers into bookers. Think of some big deals related to car rental bargains, special room rates and or cheap airfares on a popular route and many more. This also helps in creating brand awareness for your travel agency. In addition to posting the deals on your page, you can use Facebook Messenger to send the deals directly into people’s inboxes. An effective approach to this would be to first segment your fans and send targeted deals based on their preferences and past behavior, as opposed to sending the same offer to every follower. The latter is likely to annoy and possibly even antagonize followers while the former will get you a higher ROI and conversions.