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The Visibility Gap in Travel Marketing

Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Grant Whiteside

Today’s traveller uses more touch points than ever before they rush off and make the final decision on what company or companies they use to book their online travel. In marketing terms this means the more ground your brand can cover, the better. Your audience may looking for a holiday idea, a location, a hotel, a hotel review, a flight, a package, transfers, or they may be stuck in the detail of kids menus, beach towel rental, pool side politics, ashtrays on balconies or WIFI access. Hey, they might not be looking for anything at all, maybe all it took was a moment of impulse, they saw an ad and clicked on it, and then they started doing the research. What is guaranteed is if you are not in this space, then a competitor is, and the more granular you can get to with your content and remarketing your advertising, the higher the propensity someone will have to click through to your content.

The successful modern day travel marketing campaign needs to be aware of how to create visibility for the moment of impulse to the final click of conversion.

Gone are the days of only worrying about the search engine space; many of today’s successful campaigns use programmatic advertising to reach audiences that have never heard of your brand before. But they have likely heard of your competitors, and as long as they are in the competitive marketing space, they can take market share from you. Programmatic is similar but not to be confused with retargeting, which depends on someone engaging with your digital assets previously then being retargeted at a later date. Both audience groups can and will be targeted by your competitors.

So let’s start at the beginning: What keywords am I getting found for?

There’s nothing more depressing to see a list of keywords on a SERP report, where you don’t rank for any of the desired keywords, and if you do, the keywords rank so low down the pecking order, you don’t get any traffic.

I’d suggest using either Google Webmaster Tools — a good way of looking at the traffic you got for the specific search terms people used to find your website — or using a tool that pulls this data in for you and aligns it to other key metrics that you should also be working on. The benefit of understanding the real keywords people used to find your website (and their search volumes) is that you’ll gain intelligence about the most valuable keywords. Google Webmaster Tools will show you an average search position for each keyword that gave you visibility; other tools will show you how you may have visibility in one part of a country but not another. As search positions become more personalised and localised, it can give you an opportunity to either beef up your organic search efforts on a local level or create a paid campaign to fill the void you may have in your organic rankings.

We’ll discuss conversions and attribution later on, but if you’re tracking the attribution of keyword visitors and it’s clear that certain keywords are worth investing in, being fortunate enough to have some organic visibility for specific keywords is a great place to be in.  It’s an opportunity to dominate the search space further by extending your marketing visibility using a paid search campaign. It will increase your click through rates and if they are converting keywords this tactic will also increase conversions.

What keywords should I be getting found for?

There are countless tools that will show you keyword volume, competitiveness and the click price of each search term. Half the problem can be how to avoid getting lost in the detail, knowing what you need to know and what you’re going to do with all this keyword data.

Keyword research can help you out with building website marketing campaigns, creating a content strategy, rebuilding the content hubs of a website, increasing the conversion and engagement of the user experience, and creating a paid media campaign. It’s a piece of research that can be worth its weight in gold when done correctly.

Who are your keyword competitors?

Competitors are anyone that steal market share from you.

From an online capacity, they compete with you for visibility on aggregators’ websites, search engines and their extended networks, programmatically displayed adverts and native placements. In the offline space you can be competing with them on the high street, TV, radio, display, print, brochures or in-store promotions (Or all of the above).

Any time, any place, anywhere.

This summarises both the risk and the opportunity of the online marketing sales cycle in today’s travel market. Knowing where you have visibility and where you need to respond to reach your potential audience is now a growing challenge; it’s more fragmented and more competitive than ever before.

If you would like to have a conversation about closing the gap between where your audience are hanging out online and where you are losing out to your competition, then we would love to help.

We’ll be at this years WTM London in November 2015. Let’s meet up or simply drop us a line to discuss how your business will win its fair share of the travel market.


#WTM 15

Grant Whiteside
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