Inbound Marketing

Why is Inbound Marketing is Essential for the Tourism Industry?

January 16, 2020
Why is Inbound Marketing is Essential for the Tourism Industry?

Jonathan Harrison

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Travel companies are adapting to the changing preferences of their customers. As the pace of marketing innovation continues to accelerate, the travel sector must follow and set their focus on the newest trend: inbound marketing.

How did you find your last holiday? If it’s from a travel brochure you were handed at a conference or the number you saw for a travel agent on a billboard, you’re fast becoming the minority. More likely, it was from a quick search of ‘Top beach resorts in Tenerife’ or ‘Best holiday destinations 2017’ or after an intriguing video you saw on Facebook.

Travel companies are adapting to the changing preferences of their customers. As the pace of marketing innovation continues to accelerate, the travel sector must follow and set their focus on the newest trend: inbound marketing.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing focuses on drawing your potential customers via helpful and relevant content that adds value to their buying journey. Similar to using travel micro-moments to engage with potential customers, inbound marketing involves serving up the right content at the most opportune time.

Content tends to come in the form of blogs, optimised landing pages and social media posts, and customers usually use channels like social media and search engines to find you.

This differs from outbound marketing – or what is often called ‘traditional marketing.’ In the example above, outbound marketing encompasses the travel brochure and billboard, but it also includes mass email marketing, cold calling, traditional print publications, etc.

Inbound marketing emphasises a ‘pull’ methodology, while outbound prefers a ‘push.’ With the former, you create content that addresses the problems and needs of your ideal customers, pulling them in with answers and information. The latter involves designing campaigns that are pushed out to the public in the hopes of drawing in a few key prospects.

Why inbound marketing is taking off in the travel sector

Inbound marketing appeals to a growing number of travel businesses for several reasons:

You’re not interrupting

Few things annoy web users more than interruptive, non-targeted ads or emails that are obviously trying to sell them a product. The average person is inundated with over 2,000 of these interruptions per day.

Inbound marketing takes a more natural approach. For example, instead of a paid pop-up about why a holiday in Greece is the perfect choice when a user is obviously just trying to buy socks, you write a blog post on ‘Top all-inclusive holidays in Greece’ and let users find you in organic search.

When you provide answers to customers’ enquiries or inspiration for their travels, you build trust. When you disrupt them in the middle of a browsing session or Facebook video, you annoy them. Which would you rather do?

It costs less

In terms of potential customers, it costs less for them to learn something new or shop online than it does for them to attend a seminar or conference in London or Las Vegas. With over 3.5 billion searches happening on Google every day, it is the main source of information and potential traffic for all companies.

Meanwhile, inbound marketing to these searchers and browsers also costs your business less - 61% less per lead than outbound marketing, actually.

And the results are long-lasting. When you create evergreen content, its relevancy and reach continue to benefit your business months and years after you publish it. A content marketing plan, therefore, may have upfront costs but is a long-term investment.

Meanwhile, outbound marketing requires a constant flow of spending for each new, short-term campaign (like buying a slot on a billboard for 30 days or paying for an advertisement in a monthly magazine).

How to incorporate inbound marketing into your travel content strategy

Inbound marketing can be broken down into four stages of your customers’ buying journey.

1. Attract

In order to attract new customers, you’ll need to create content. First, understand what potential customers want: is it inspiration, information or cheap holiday options? Once you’ve done keyword research to find out what people are searching for, begin building a content strategy to help you produce relevant blogs, social media posts and fresh content like videos, vlogs, travel guides and more. Put it all in one place (like a content hub) so users can easily find it and navigate through it.

2. Convert

Once you’ve been found, it’s time to convert visitors into leads. Ask them to sign up to your travel newsletter or book a meeting with a travel advisor. Offer discounts on trips and add calls-to-action to help visitors easily reach booking/contact pages.

3. Close

Watch where people drop off on your site or if they’ve abandoned a cart, and get in touch with them. If they’ve sent an enquiry, follow up with them to make sure you meet their needs. Make booking your holidays easy by simplifying your booking widgets. If possible, allow people to book entirely online, as 75% of people in the UK alone choose this method.

4. Delight

Provide ample details to those who have booked, so they feel well looked after. Once they’ve returned, engage with them and make sure their holiday was superb. After all, it’s significantly cheaper to maintain current customers than earn new ones – even when you’re using an inbound marketing strategy.

What’s next?

You can begin implementing an inbound marketing strategy any time – all it takes is a solid content marketing plan and some relevant, interesting content.

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