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While the online world is creating a multitude of opportunities for travel marketers, the level of competition makes it hard to stand out and attract attention. Anymore, simply having an online presence isn’t nearly enough, as only those that can effectively leverage their digital marketing efforts will see optimal results.

Many travel agents, bloggers, and agencies are seeking solutions to streamline their digital marketing efforts, yet are finding their inexperience and time availability to be hindering factors with their overall progress. Many are overcoming these challenges by partnering with a travel marketing agency or consultancy to fast-track their success. In an effort to help, let’s examine how to hire the right travel marketing company.

Digital Marketing and the Travel Industry

With $198 billion U.S. digital sales projected in 2018 (Social Media Today infographic), and $755.94 billion global digital sales projected in 2019 (Statista), the travel industry is alive and well both online and offline (over $8 trillion in total economic impact globally in 2017, Statista).

Furthermore, the rapid growth of digital travel sales will only accelerate in the future as online usage expands and tech-savvy younger generations travel more and more. The Social Media Today infographic explains more:

More than 140 million U.S. adults will research a trip online

…63% of travelers now turn to a search engine at some point during trip planning

…76% use a desktop computer to look for accommodations

…67% use a desktop computer to book accommodations

The growing trend for travel consumers to research and book online is causing these kinds of results:

61% of travel marketing spend is going to online channels

Indeed, now is the time for travel marketers to build and optimize their online presence; by finding the right travel marketing company to work with, they’ll have a great chance of gaining online traction and accelerating digital sales.

Travel Marketing Agency or Consultancy?

Finding the right travel marketing company to work with largely depends on the specific needs and goals of each travel business. For instance, do they want to completely outsource their digital marketing efforts, or simply augment their in-house efforts with outside expertise?

Understanding their needs and goals will help travel businesses decide whether to work with a travel marketing agency or a consultancy. An agency offers a more comprehensive service with multiple hands on deck, while a consultancy offers expert guidance at key points of strategic and operational development.

For example, an individual travel agent, working primarily through their travel website and blog, may find effective solutions working regularly with an expert consultancy, helping them understand what tools and tactics to use; on the other hand, a travel agency lacking a dedicated digital marketing team may want to hire an agency to comprehensively develop and execute their digital marketing strategy.

Many situations will fit somewhere in between these examples, yet finding the right partner always starts with accessing the specific needs and goals involved.

Tips for Hiring the Right Travel Marketing Company

Budget constraints and ROI are always a factor when it comes to partnering with a travel marketing company. Ultimately, travel businesses need to have assurance and confidence that their digital marketing budget will effectively generate results.

Finding the right partnership will make the difference when it comes to trusting the process and having a clear understanding of the strategy and tactics being used. Here are some key attributes to look for in a partner:

  • vertical focus with the travel industry

  • experience and expertise with specific digital marketing tactics

  • convincing reviews and case studies

  • effectively communicates through favorable channels

  • has the operational capabilities needed (staff, tools, expertise)

  • experience with travel business’s systems and platforms

  • flexible service offerings

  • experience and expertise with the specific travel industry segment involved

  • ability to cohesively integrate with in-house efforts

  • experience and expertise reaching target audiences

  • offers room for future growth

  • digital marketing certifications and qualifications

While some travel businesses may want to completely hand over their digital marketing efforts, most will want to be involved in some capacity; additionally, some are starting from scratch while others already have a strategy and effort in place to build upon. Whatever the case may be, having a clear direction and approach will be beneficial.

In other words, travel businesses need to know what digital marketing strategy and tactics they want to focus on, as this will help them find the right travel marketing company to work with. Here are the main types of digital marketing strategies and tactics they can use:

Travel businesses can then drill down on the specific platforms, strategies, and tactics they want to focus on, such as Facebook Messenger chatbots, email marketing with affiliate links, mobile-optimized website, ad spend on Instagram, blog article syndication, etc.

While the specifics will vary, essentially, travel businesses will benefit by assessing their current capabilities and having clear digital marketing objectives in mind. This knowledge will help them find the right travel marketing company to work with, including for strategic development.

Conclusion

Efforts within the vast digital marketing landscape can be either an endless succession of profitable campaigns or an endless time-waster producing lackluster results. The difference depends on the ability of travel businesses to effectively leverage the power of digital marketing.

With limited resources, time, and expertise to develop, execute, and maintain effective digital marketing efforts, many travel businesses are turning to travel marketing companies for help. Whether they need the comprehensive help of an agency or the augmented help of a consultant, finding the right partner for their needs and goals is essential for optimal results.

By assessing their current capabilities and overall marking objectives, travel businesses will have the basis to find the right partnership to work with.

Choosing a travel marketing company that fits these needs and goals will bring clarity and confidence to the process and ultimately profitable results.

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