Ask your regular Joe on the street what they think about the importance of SEO in the travel industry, and they will look at you like you just told them that you have irrefutable proof that the world is ending in the next hour!
So, it should not come as a surprise that the acronym SEO leaves us all clueless and clutching at straws. However ignorant, a lot of us know what it takes to browse the internet for the perfect holiday destination. But when it comes to the technicalities of running a successful travel website, that is left to online business owners to decipher the matrix and devise ingenious ways to ensure that they stick out like a sore thumb. Competition for web traffic is intense, and so is the demand for accessible, relevant, and attractive travel websites that deliver on their promises.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a fancy phrase used to describe what happens behind the scenes when websites are cooking up the perfect content for browsers. Seeing that the only way to secure consistent web traffic is by topping the list of search engine results pages (SERPS), the need to be different and smarter has never been more pressing than it is now.
OTA’s: The Big Bad Wolf
In the travel industry, SEO carries a similar meaning. However, a lot more is at stake. With the steady emergence of Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s) as a bridge between the leisure provider and the traveler, most travelers prefer to gain intimate knowledge about their chosen holiday destination from OTA’s and hopefully, get competitive packages. However, little do they know that sometimes, the a’re actually paying more than they should be. OTA’s are therefore the big bad wolf, breathing down the necks of service providers for hefty marketing commissions for their invaluable services. This has left leisure and entertainment providers clutching at straws trying to cut out the middleman. The solution for many these days is to engage travelers directly. This inevitably means having to market their services online themselves, a shift of focus that requires them to optimize their websites to generate as much direct traffic as possible from search engines as they can.
Being Destination Oriented
The secret now is to tailor your SEO techniques in ways that capitalize on an already existing online market of the billions of browsers around the world. One such way is to create your site’s content in a way that is destination oriented. The reasoning behind that is straightforward: most travelers search for a particular service followed by the destination. So, your go-to strategy would be to target typical internet searches like “cheap hotels in Milan, Italy” or “Japan, Tokyo flight deals.” To be frank, the internet is brimming with raw, untapped potential. Where previously people would rely on that travel agency in town for tourist information, today all it takes is going online and typing what you’re looking for on a search engine. In terms of business, this represents an open market ready for the taking if you play your cards right.
Cashing In On A Trillion Dollar Industry
A closer look at the figures reveals a compelling truth about the changing dynamics of the travel industry from a financial point of view. Last year alone, the travel industry boasted of bookings to the tune of $1.6 trillion worldwide. It is unarguably the fastest growing global business sector to date and all due to changes in consumer behavior on the back of digital technological advancement. The growth of the travel industry has largely been driven by the increase in the number of online bookings as more and more people resort to the internet when planning their holidays. As a business, having an effective online presence is, therefore, a must as the financial rewards are simply irresistible. But that is just a tip of the iceberg, as smartphone searches are yet another source of on-the-go business, accounting for 83% of overall online bookings.
Taking Advantage Of Key Moments During A Traveler’s Itinerary
According to the analytics team at Google, holidaymakers plan a holiday in four distinct phases: Dreaming Moments, Planning Moments, Booking Moments, and Experiencing Moments. These “micro-moments” explain how online searches differ from moment to moment, thereby influencing the chances of a browser stumbling on your website. For example, when it is coming to the “Dreaming Moment” one just desires to travel. During this phase, searches are information oriented and directed towards places of interest, accommodation, and transportation. Now, what this means to you as a service provider is simple: fashion your content accordingly and incorporate a long-tail SEO strategy into your marketing campaign. By taking advantage of key moments in a traveler’s itinerary, you place yourself in a good position to find relevance on search engines and rise in both popularity and ranking.