Every industry has its little idiosyncrasies and quirks in its business model. Sometimes these are just novelties, in other cases, the differences offer opportunities to those businesses best able to adapt their marketing to them. Such is the travel business, which has very specific problems threatening to sink the industry in the middle of a pandemic, when folks avoid travel. So, today, I have 3 tips to market your travel business and survive until the world returns to normal.
The tourism industry
Before the pandemic, the tourism industry was booming and all signs pointed to a steady increase in travel dollars. More people were flying, more staying in hotels and resorts, even amusement parks, like Disney were flooded with guests. So much so, that Disney instituted a pricing policy designed to reduce crowds by spreading visits onto less crowded days during the week and other times of the year.
The World Travel and Tourism Council found in a recent study that, in 2019, travel and tourism grew 3.9 percent which was more than the Global GDP growth which was 3.2 percent. The contribution of travel and the tourism industry helps support the world’s economy, creating 319 million jobs worldwide and contributing $8.8 trillion in revenue.
Of course, that rosy picture faded almost instantly when the novel coronavirus began spreading across the globe, leaving the tourism industry in limbo. Cruise ships filled with thousands of passengers were stranded with no port willing to allow them to disembark. Countries quickly closed borders to reduce the spread of the virus to their country, as it turns out, a wasted effort. Soon, governors closed theme parks and issued mandatory “shelter in place” orders. Still, more than 9 months later, most parks are closed, even after states opened up. Their high costs mean they lose money unless they sell sufficient tickets and that just wasn’t happening. Regal Cinemas, recognizing the math just didn’t work out in a world where new films weren’t coming out and consumers didn’t feel safe in large, indoor gatherings, closed its doors indefinitely. Consumers find little comfort in non-essential travel and the pale of holidays without major gatherings seems inevitable. Even turkey farms lament they produced too many large birds given the size of Thanksgiving gatherings will likely be small.
Market your travel business
It may seem like doom and gloom now, but the travel industry represents great potential given its high growth and, with the problems facing the market, now may be the perfect time to enter the industry or expand your holdings.
Now is a good time as ever to get into the tourism industry. If you’re just starting out, you may think you have the worst possible timing ever. Or, if you’re suffering from lost revenue and facing massive layoffs, have hope! Better days are coming and tourism is likely to surge once there’s a vaccine and the plague is under control. In the meantime, competition is declining as some firms close their doors for good; lacking the resources and government support to weather the storm.
As a new business, you can pick up resources for less money as owners dump property and trained people they can no longer support.
If you’re less willing to jump into providing travel, maybe opening a travel office is more your speed. It requires less capital, making this type of travel business less risky. And, just as with providers, many of these small businesses didn’t survive the pandemic, leaving openings for new businesses to take over their clients.
If you’re an established travel business, turning your attention to improving your service, training your people, reading and improving your understanding of the industry, and marketing your brand sets your business up to take off when things get better. In fact, the cruise industry already sees increased bookings for travel next summer as quarantine-weary travelers who postponed travel last summer rush to enjoy a nice vacation in 2021.
To help you market your travel business now so you’re ready for the coming boom, here are some tips you need to implement immediately.
Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready At A Moment’s Notice
An elevator pitch, also called a 30-second commercial, is commonly used when seeking investors as a means to hook them quickly with your idea. But, entrepreneurs are wise to craft a compelling elevator pitch that’s ready whenever an opportunity presents itself. Your 30-second commercial is your business’ opportunity to concisely describe your business to potential clients.
You want to have your pitch ready at any given moment because you never know when you’ll run into someone that represents a potential customer. Whether you’re in line at the grocery store, picking up your child from school or daycare, or video conferencing from the beach, having your pitch ready is essential to capitalize on the moment. There is nothing worse than stumbling over your words as you try to explain the one thing you have over your competition. Or, have advice at your fingertips when someone casually mentions intentions to travel. Having your pitch ready calms your nerves and you come off as prepared and professional.
Create A Monthly Newsletter
Email marketing, as you see in the graph below, has the highest ROI (return on investment) of any digital marketing tactic.
A monthly digital newsletter is a perfect way to not only communicate with your customers but also increase traffic to your business. Glorious pictures of sunswept beaches, romantic sunsets, or exotic skylines draw subscribers’ attention to travel planning and motivates them to reach out for more information.
The main thing to remember in marketing is that you are there to provide your customers with a solution to their problems. As more pressing problems crowd a subscriber’s mind, they need a little prodding to remember to book a vacation early to get the best prices and ensure availability.
You are an expert in tourism and traveling, so use that to your advantage. Find out what your customers want to know and base your monthly newsletters around those issues. It could be any topic from updating your clients on travel specials or listing the cheapest places to travel during the holiday season. A monthly newsletter is a simple way to keep your brand’s name at the forefront of people’s minds
Spice Up Your Social Media Posts
Ok, so you finally buckled down and created several social media accounts for your business. Not to mention you’re pretty consistent about posting content. That is great!
Take your social media game a step further and mix up the type of content you post. You could set up a theme for each day of the week or once a week. Another option is to post Instagram-worthy photos from your personal arsenal of travel pics or you can use amazing stock photos. Pair that with an eye-catching caption and voila!
Now may seem like the worst time possible to start a travel business. But declining competition and a plethora of empty retail spaces mean lower startup costs. So, now may be the perfect time to market your travel business.
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