As technologies keep evolving, travelers aren’t showing interest in the traditional travel agency’s advertisements, instead, they’re turning towards digital ads. As of 2020, 65% of revenue in the global travel and tourism market came from online sales channels like websites, social media, etc.
If you don’t have enough experience in digital branding & marketing, no worries. By partnering with a dedicated digital agency, maximizing your travel company’s online visibility would become a piece of cake!
However, every coin has two sides — partnering with a digital agency also has its disadvantages. If you are contemplating whether is it good to partner with a digital agency or not, then we can help you make a firm decision.
Let’s get started.
1. How is Technology Reshaping the Travel Industry?
Undoubtedly, technological advancements are adding up spices to the travel and tourism industry. Google Travel reports that about 75% of travelers are planning their travel itineraries on online platforms.
Technologies including AI, ML, virtual tours, live chatbots facilitate in offering tailor-made deals & services to travelers and enhancing the user experience with instant responses to FAQs. Further, biometrics and digital wallet technologies enabled travelers to go out free-handed without carrying paper documents, cash, or cards.
For every trip, you need not accompany your travelers now, instead, you can set up virtual guides that can be accessed through smartphones to overcome the barriers in ride direction, destination suggestion, payment, even native language communication, and more.
With visitor tracking technologies and IoT-enabled trackers for monitoring real-time location, movement tracking, and personalization of digital maps, you can make travelers feel at ease with major security concerns.
More than all, with the explosion of sharing economy, you can offer global tourists to decide from the bountiful localized and personalized options for accommodations, transport, and itinerary as well.
With new technologies evolving, the travel industry has undergone various transformations over the years. We’ve designed a perfect infographic – Evolution of the travel and tourism industry which would be interesting, do check it out.
2. Will Digital Agency Partnership Help or Hurt?
1. Pros of Travel Tech Partnership with Digital Agency
A century ago, if somebody comes and tells,
- Your advertisements will be posted to the intended travelers and not randomly
- You can easily narrow down your target audience based on specified demographics like age, gender, region, interests, etc.,
- You can track the user behavior of your audience on your ads, website, social media posts, and others
- Offer more personalized deals & itineraries
It would have sounded ridiculous! But thanks to the digital agency collaboration which has empowered everyone to experience all these in real-time, turning marketing simple and exciting.
Angelo Rossini, an analyst at Euromonitor International says, “Traditional travel distribution in which high street travel agencies played a dominant role was revolutionized with online travel agencies and direct distribution through airlines and hotels’ websites acquiring a key role”.
If your ultimate purpose is to establish a strong digital presence for your travel agency, then a white-collar digital agency partnership can pay off.
1) Advertise the Travel Destinations on Digital Platforms
In afore times, potential travelers chose destination inspirations from printed advertisements, friends & family recommendations, TV, and radio ads. But, today internet & technologies are evolving at a frenetic pace which has made travelers peep into social media, search engines, and other digital media platforms to pick the best destinations.
To pull in such travel aspirants, first, you’ll have to promote the destinations on various digital media channels. Thomas Cook, the British tour operator, one of the world’s oldest travel industry titans, was pathetically imploded in 2019. By the time of the breakdown, the agency had around 19M+ annual customers.
The lack of online presence and reduced demand for tour packages were among the major reasons for his company’s downfall. As he missed to change his business model and increase the numbers of his distribution channels, Thomas Cook was destined to be overthrown by Booking Holdings and Expedia. We’ve written a detailed blog on how OTAs can manage travel industry slow downtimes. If you’re suffering a lot during such economic downtimes, pandemic times, and other unexpected crises, then this blog is for you.
Get hands from digital agencies that have deep-seated experience and knowledge in PPC advertising also known as paid advertising on search engines. Search engine advertisers will take care of incorporating the right keywords that searchers use.
Many businesses are trying to get placed on the same spot. So, there will definitely be a bidding war. While you partner with a digital agency, the advertisers will optimize your site to meet all the requirements needed in order to outrank your peers.
2) Become Mobile-friendly
The advent of smartphones has enabled travelers to plan their itinerary even from their mobiles. Travelers click on any travel agency website that is featured on the search engine results page (SERP) and start planning for their itineraries.
You can create different fields such as dates, accommodation, transport, food, amenities, etc., and request travelers fill in the details. Based on their requirements and your demands, you can throw suggestions.
Apart from search engines, travelers take inspiration from social media as well. So, make sure you design a dedicated website for your travel agency and maintain an influencing profile on social media channels including Instagram, Pinterest, etc., accessible by mobile users. Because more than 78% of business travelers use a smartphone during the trip planning process.
As a travel agency, you might not have expertise in designing websites with mobile responsiveness features. But, you need not worry about this. Just feel free to take assistance from well-experienced digital agencies to build you a responsive-friendly website.
In addition, travel-based mobile apps are the 7th most downloadable category and 60% of smartphone users prefer using travel apps for planning their leisure tours. Therefore, creating a mobile app is the need of the hour. Check out our blog to learn about the important mobile app features for the travel and tourism industry.
3) Optimize Your Travel Website for SEO
Typically, travelers use search terms like ‘best holiday destinations in San Franciso’ or ‘best travel packages offered by top travel agencies in Italy’. Based on algorithms, search engines scroll the web and display the most relevant results. The ones that feature on the SERP get most of the clicks.
Obviously, acquiring a better ranking without effort would be head in the clouds, but with the help of an SEO-specialized agency, you can play well. They’ll take care of optimizing your website using numerous SEO techniques such as updating meta tags, link building, title optimization, headings optimization, quality content, keyword optimization, etc.
Also, to enhance your travel website’s branding, the team will be frequently updating blogs/articles incorporating videos, images, infographics, and PPTs on popular forums like TripAdvisor, Viator.com, Inspirock.com, etc.
Make sure the content you create for blogs, emails, graphics, videos, or anything you name it, should not be solely a promotion of your services, but passively hint at the existence of your services. Read through our blog about Travel SEO – a definitive guide to get an idea on the areas to play around.
4) Hold a Good Reputation
It’s a general practice for people to look into the ratings and reviews before selecting a product or service. The travel industry is not an exception to this. TripAdvisor reports that 4 in 5 users will ‘always’ or ‘usually’ refer reviews before deciding on a destination to visit.
The higher the ratings and more the number of positive reviews, the greater is the inclination among travelers to choose the same. As you take assistance from digital agencies, they’ll suggest some effective ideas that might get you some positive feedback from the clients.
Once you get reviews, you’ll ultimately know the areas to be improvised. Your partner will work on the travelers’ suggestions and will open up ways for positive reviews and ratings.
Cons of Travel Tech Partnership with Digital Agency
While outsourcing to a digital agency, there are some downsides too. Let’s elaborate on it.
1) Lack of Niche-specific Expertise
There might be some agencies that have expertise in playing around a particular niche or industry or vertical. It doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to handle your travel business.
There might be some kind of lacking. When it comes to online branding, trying some generic tactics won’t work. The strategies should be niche-specific and targeted.
Since each market is different, what works well for one industry would become a blunder for another and ends up turning even your existing travelers away.
Only those with a basic understanding of your niche can bring forward ripened fruits as the outcome.
2) Privacy - A Major Concern
When it comes to collaborations, privacy would be a major concern. As the digital agency takes care of your branding, web presence, and marketing, you’ll have to provide all your login credentials and other sensitive details as well.
Therefore, before you sign up for the agreement with an agency, read through their privacy policies. Also, talk with their current clients to know their agency’s transparency. Before giving them your security passcodes, be aware of their intention.
A small assessment about the agency before partnering can save you from being hurt. When you fail to do it, you’ll end up losing your traveler’s personal details and sometimes your own data too.
3) Possibilities to Break the Trust
Before collaborating with an agency, you’ll somehow have to understand that you’re not the only one for them. Due to communication gaps and multitasking, agencies at times don’t take heed to your suggestions and do what they know.
As a result, you’ll not get the quality that you expected. There will be multiple rounds of reviewing, which might cause some delays in your project delivery.
To avoid this, you’ve to be careful when choosing the agency. You need to get answers to questions like – How many clients does the agency have? Are they capable enough to handle multiple projects simultaneously? Does the agency communicate frequently with its clients and share regular updates?
We give you the best idea to counteract all these cons. A simple one. Partner with a firm that has proven outcomes, particularly in your niche. Here, we’re adding up a checklist that you can refer to before choosing a digital agency for your travel business.
- Go through the company’s genuine portfolio, testimonials, and case studies
- Assess the experience of the agency in your travel & tourism niche
- Notice whether they’re staying updated and utilizing the current tools and technologies
- Check the digital agency’s online, web, and social media visibility
- Look at their services and package plans
It’s Time to Make a Decision - Yes or No
In this tech-savvy era, technology advancements have empowered you to research, book, and confirm trips online. It’s no longer a need to maintain hard-copy files of the travelers, spend ample time to collect payments from clients, remit balances to vendors, and wait for travelers to confirm the booking.
So, what’s our stand is, if you’re not expedient in the digital transformation arena, then you can for sure collaborate with a digital agency. Because, without their assistance, your survival would become the hardest in the near future.
At ColorWhistle, we offer customized web design, development and, digital marketing solutions exclusively to travel techies. We stay up-to-date with the current technologies and tools, so we can be wise partners in your digital transformation journey. To further enquire about our services, you can drop a message or call us at +1 (919) 234-5140.
What do you feel? Digital agency partnership – will it help your travel business boom? or Ruin it?. Share your views in the comments below.