Digital Marketing Trends
for Travel Agents in 2020

Digital strategist Jaclyn Amoroso has shared with our blog the 5 main trends every travel agent should know.
Jaclyn Amoroso
Digital Strategist, OnQ Marketing
The web and all the digital opportunities that come with it have transformed the travel buyer’s journey and the industry at large.

And for many travel agents it’s made marketing so much more confusing.

So many opportunities, so much different advice.

And that’s where I want to help. I’m going to talk about digital marketing trends for travel agents in 2020 — five that you should focus on now, plus a few others that you can afford to hold fire on.
Pay Attention to these Five Trends
1. Stop Hiding from Your Online Metrics

When was the last time you accessed your Google Analytics account? How did it make you feel? Overwhelmed?

Well, I'm sorry but you simply can't afford to ignore the metrics and insights sitting within your Google Analytics dashboard. Learn the basics and understand just five metrics that have a crucial influence on your marketing performance.

And beyond Google Analytics there's so much more to access. For example:
  • do you want to know how people came to call you? They may have called you from your Google My Business (GMB) listing, so monitor your GMB insights.
  • are you seeing results from social media? Could you do better if you checked your Facebook Insights to find out whether your audience is predominantly male or female, or Millennials or Baby Boomers?

If the dashboards are all too much for you, I recommend checking out Pocket Insights. It's a great way to get started with the one weekly email summarising your performance across a number of platforms.
2. Customer Experience should be Your Priority

This is not a new trend for travel agents. Your job is based on delivering the best experience to your customer.

What you must focus on now is expanding that experience because consumers want (and expect) more. That experience can run right from the moment they start researching where to go through to when they come back. You should be able to deliver your customer experience across multiple channels, being there for them wherever they may be — desktop website, mobile website, email, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.

Improving the customer experience is a huge topic and it covers a range of tactics. All of those tactics deserve their own blog post, but here is a quick crash course into what you should be looking at to improve your customer’s online journey.

Content Strategy

You may be blogging already. If you are, I congratulate you. But you also need to have a strategy on what content can help your travel buyer. Think about each step of their journey, what information they’ll be looking for, and then publish the most valuable piece for them on the web.

And depending on your audience and what they might want to consume at the specific stage of their journey, you need to identify if written content, images, videos or audio is best. Simple right?

Start Telling Stories

The modern travel buyer is looking for experiences. So you need to be able to communicate the experiences they can expect. You need to be able to tell stories. Imagine a consumer browsing your competitor’s sales copy on their website and then coming to yours and you telling them a compelling story.


Again, this one is not a new trend for travel agents. You’ve been personalising customers' travel experiences from day one. It’s part and parcel with travel. But now you need to do it in your communications. For example, if they browse cruises on your website, don’t deliver them hiking tours via your email marketing.

Message Apps

Whether it’s Messenger or WhatsApp, consumers love using message apps. They present a fantastic opportunity for travel agents to maintain swift communication with clients. If you can allocate the staff time to manage incoming message requests, then it will undoubtedly lead to a better customer experience.
3. You Must Do Better with Visual Content

I don't need to convince you of how good visual content — images or video — work for travel. So why do we all continue to use the same stock images? Why have we not invested in producing more video? It's time to do that!

Infographics have been used with great success by other industries and there's a great opportunity to use them for travel. You can use them to complement written blog posts or even incorporate them into tour pages as a more visual way to communicate tour info. Check out Venngage, they have some great infographic templates that you can start with.
4. Dynamic Remarketing

If you’ve ever shopped online for clothing and left products in a cart without ordering, you’ve likely been retargeted and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about here.

Dynamic remarketing happens when you visit a website and a cookie is dropped onto your device. The site’s nominated ad network will then usually continue to serve you display advertising for the next 30 or 45 days.

Both and AirBnB use dynamic remarketing. So how could this work for the travel agent?

Here’s an example.

You could have one campaign set up to retarget people who browsed your Rocky Mountaineer tour page, excluding those visitors who went through and clicked your phone number or completed an online enquiry. We know that the people who didn’t do that are interested in the Rocky Mountaineer tour but haven’t already contacted you. So you could use dynamic remarketing to serve them ads reminding them how good that trip will be or provide them with an added incentive to book with you. Your dynamic remarketing ads could be served to them on the Google Display Network or straight to their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
5. Expand Your Social Media Horizons

OK, the chances are you started with Facebook marketing and that you're now even using Instagram. Nice work. But now is not the time to rest on your laurels.

You should be on Facebook. The sheer numbers dictate it. Instagram is also certainly one platform that has been great for travel agents, largely because travel content fits with the platform's positioning — travel is perfect for visual content and Instagram is largely aspirational. We all have places in the world we want to see!

But organic engagement with both Facebook and Instagram is declining. So what should you do? I have two recommendations this year.

1. Start Using Instagram Stories

This is the format that's getting higher engagement rates, so get involved, test your
stories out and see what works for you.

2. Get on Pinterest

Again, it is a visually dominated platform and therefore it's a great fit for travel. Did you know that it's the fourth biggest social network? It's bigger than Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. There's also more people with Pinterest than WhatsApp.

Check out the travel trends that Pinterest is seeing on its platform.
You Can Afford to Hold Fire on these
Five Trends

1 & 2. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

The first thing I should do is make sure you’re aware of the difference between VR and AR.

Virtual Reality is when you see people wearing those goggles and they are being presented with an immersive experience that sort of makes them feel like they are really experiencing It.

Augmented reality is not quite as complex and doesn’t require a VR headset. AR is when people can use their phone’s camera to look at a landmark and be presented with extra information — augmenting their reality.

The fact is that VR is not what it could be at this stage and it’s expensive to develop. So leave it to the big brands to explore. You can afford to wait to see how it plays out.

AR tech is here, it works and it could be an expense that helps you to deliver a customer experience that stands out. But I still believe there are bigger and more attainable digital marketing priorities for travel than AR.
3. Voice Search

OK. Do you have a Google or Alexa at home? If you do, what do you ask it? Like many others, I’m still using them for the weather, Spotify, news and other quick facts. Most people are simply not using them to their full extent yet and for that reason, it’s not something for the travel agent to dedicate a lot of resources to just yet. But it would be naïve to completely ignore it.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI promises so much and it threatens so much more, particularly in the travel industry. But at this stage it’s true capabilities lie in augmenting our own work. For instance, AI can take large volumes of data and provide insights that can be valuable to larger travel networks or agents if applied correctly.

But following on from a common theme, while AI is something you should be aware of, we’re just not there with it yet.
5. Podcasts

I love podcasts. Going by the numbers, you probably love podcasts too! But they do take some time and commitment, which I bet you’re in short supply of at the moment. And what sort of success would you have with podcasts? I suggest you look for opportunities to be a guest on someone else’s podcast first. If you enjoy that, then keep looking and see how it works for you and whether you can attract attention to your agency simply by being a guest instead.
To find out more about digital marketing strategy for travel agencies and tour companies go on OnQ Marketing website.
Subscribe to Kiwitaxi and join us on Facebook to get more useful articles.
Sign up for the affiliate program for travel agents
Sell transfers and earn half the Kiwitaxi income from an order
Related posts:
By clicking "Get a checklist", you consent to the processing of your personal data and agree to the Privacy policy.