The world is your oyster.
The world is at your fingertips.
Nope… Nevermind. You need to stay home.
Wait… We’re back on. With restrictions.
No, we’re good.
Hold on… Restrictions are back… and now they’ve eased… and they’re back again. Wait…
There is no doubt that the last few years have been a rollercoaster for travel agents and tourism industry professionals. We can go… we can’t go… we can go – with caveats… but wait… No… Yes…
During the best of times, we need to keep an ear to the ground, so to speak, concerning the latest trends in our industries. For travel agents, changes have been coming fast and furious. Your target customers are eager to emerge from hibernation and hiatus – but they need guidance and advice from the experts to arrive at, and enjoy their destinations. While your industry has been shaken to its core over the last few years, one constant remains: people want to get out, spread their wings, and explore. And you can be the “ticket” to their dreams.
Social media for travel agents is key to emerging from the recent storm – and weathering others – with agility, flexibility, and growth potential.
Social Media Trends for Travel Agents
Any strategy involving social media for travel agents must take into consideration the current state of the world, as well as major trends affecting their livelihood. At a glance, this is what you need to be keeping your eye on:
Stories have the power to put people where they want to be. Hearing a story activates parts of the brain that make us feel like we are in the midst of an adventure. Just think about the last attention-grabbing, page-turning novel, bio, or account you’ve read. You were there. For travel agents, the goal is to put potential clients in destinations across town, across the country, and across the world.
To reach your target audience, try utilizing:
- User-Generated Content (UGC). Consumers trust their peers more than brands (at least until you have built a solid relationship). Leverage this to extend your reach. Be sure to post images, videos, testimonials, etc., from current clients who are out and about. You’ll capitalize on the power of UGC and compel prospects to engage further thanks to the gorgeous locations they see (and imagine themselves in).
- Video. Again, you cannot underestimate the power of video and images. When we see these, our brains derive pleasure as if we are experiencing it first-hand. This leads to the desire to, in fact, experience it first-hand! Nothing compels people towards a destination (and towards a brand) more effectively than footage of the locale and its attractions.
- Micro-influencers. The mega-influencers, if you will, may be out of reach for many brands. And that’s fine. Leave them to Nike and Apple. We want to target the micro-influencers who actually have sway in your space. These are the adventurers, the natives, the experts in the locations that you specialize in. Partner with them, and capture the attention (and imagination) of your audience.
Virtual Reality Experiences
Many people are hesitant to commit to travel plans. Maybe they’re fearful plans will be canceled or world events will impede their ability to make their dream trip a reality. A virtual reality experience provides assurance – and more than a little inspiration. Provide clients and prospects with panoramic views and 360-degree videos that come as close to an in-person experience as possible.
While a VR experience promotes your brand, it also offers a terrific opportunity to clients and allows them to envision themselves lounging on a beach, trekking through a forest, tasting their way through a winery tour, soaring down powdery slopes, or biking extreme terrain. In any case, they are transported to a different reality. When they are ready to book, they want to bring those visions to life.
And when they’re ready to book… you want them to book with you. Building your brand reputation is essential. Most users (83%) say that they will make travel decisions based on online reviews. As mentioned, consumers place significant trust in their peers (even if the only contact they have with them ever is online).
Encourage reviews. Positive and negative. Obviously, a large number of negative reviews is never good news, but 100% positive actually turns people off. Spam! Too good to be true! Real people are looking for a healthy–read honest – account of your business and services. A few complaints, even if they involve aspects out of your control (i.e. weather, travel restrictions, airline issues), creates an appearance of authenticity.
A critical aspect of social media for travel agents is managing engagement. Be sure to respond to comments – positive and negative – in a timely, professional manner. In fact, a “negative” post has the potential to turn into a great opportunity for your brand to correct misconceptions, address issues, engage customers, and position yourself as a trusted authority in the travel world.
Staying on top of social media trends for travel agents while running a business and engaging clients can be overwhelming. Yet it is essential for success. Let the experts at THAT Agency handle the details while you do what you do best – make travel dreams come true.