While people are slowly gaining back their freedom, they are still being heavily advised not to travel further than needed. Unfortunately for the Travel Sector, this means that 2020’s Q3 is unlikely to live up to previous years.
So, what can Travel companies do to weather the storm and ensure that they bounce back better than ever this coming Q3, Q4 and beyond?
They can invest in SEO and content marketing.
Whilst a company’s initial reaction may be to make cuts, this knee jerk reaction will only make it harder for them to recover in the long run. Unfortunately, this decision may be unavoidable for many big and small businesses alike. However, if you have any spare time or money, we would highly recommend investing it in your travel company’s digital strategy.
SEO is a long-term game. It typically takes at least 3 months to see the return on your investment. This is exactly why you should be planning and implementing your online strategy now, in order to see the returns for later this year and beyond.
Become the Trusted Source of Travel Information
This continues to be a time of great uncertainty. With Government advice often changing daily and lockdown measures being lifted only to be reinstated weeks later, consumers are looking for up to date and clear advice. They will use Google and other search engines to search for specific answers to their travel plans.
This is your opportunity to provide the answers to consumers’ questions. You can take this time to become a trusted source of travel information and build brand equity. Through this, you can attract and attain customers for when people feel safe enough to travel.
The question then is how do you know what travel questions consumers are asking?
The answer is through thorough and tactical keyword research. You can use tools such as Google Trends and Answer the Public to get a broad overview of what travel related queries users are searching for. You can then use tools such as Uber Suggest and Google Keyword Planner to narrow in on those trends.
When carrying out your research you should consider the relevance to your brand – do you sell luxury holidays abroad or do you run a campsite in the UK?
You should also focus on the search volume and competition score. If you are a small business, it’s unlikely that you will have enough online equity to compete against big brands. Instead, focus on long-tail keywords (phrases of 3+ words), as these will be less competitive and more specific. The later part is important as you should be aiming to specifically answer users’ travel queries.
You can then use this research to update your content strategy.
Plan your Travel Content Strategy
You should aim to create a range of content across your website, blog and social media channels.
Create content that can be easily featured in Google Snippets. This goes back to tailoring your content around the consumer search queries that you identified during your keyword research.
To create this content, make sure you are answering questions succinctly. Pose the questions in headings and answer directly below in a clear and structured format. This will make it easier for search engine crawlers to understand your content and, thus, place it higher in the search engine results page (SERPs).
Creating content around these trending topics will get you the quickest results. However, make sure that you are continuing to create and publish evergreen content within your niche. Things will go back to normal eventually so traffic to your Covid related content will decline.
Continue to create content such as ‘What to do in (destination)’ or ‘The best places to eat in (destination)’. Whilst these topics may not be what people are directly searching for during lockdown, they will remain relevant over a longer period of time and gradually gain more traffic as a result. Remember, SEO is predominantly a long-term game plan.
Focus on Safety
Now that you’ve published content and gotten new customers on board, how are you going to keep them safe?
A study by the King’s Business School in London found that tourists respond well when safety measures are included in promotional materials. Researchers have advised destinations, hotels and resorts to explicitly include safety protocols in their content and advertisements. This comes as the World Travel & Tourism Council have announced their ‘Safe Travels’ protocols.
Ideally, you should have a specific page on your website that detail’s new company safety protocols. This page should be a pillar piece of content on your site that is regularly linked back to in other pieces of content – but what can you do beyond that?
If you have are a hotel that’s further away from the usual travel destinations, take advantage of that. Or if you have self-catering facilities, take advantage of that. Can you become a staycation destination? Take advantage of that and so on.
Make sure that these selling points are embedded into the architecture of your site. This means that when consumers are searching for ‘safe travel destinations’ Google will recognise your website and pull it up in the SERPs. Every business will have a Covid Safety Measures page, but you will have an entire site that displays how safe your hotel, destination etc is.
Don’t Forget About Technical SEO
The technical side of SEO is often an area that is overlooked. Most businesses know to post content frequently, but they may not know the importance of running regular maintenance checks on their site.
While the travel sector is starting to pick back up now that lockdown is easing, try to make time to increase the performance of your site. While it may not seem immediately important, making these small SEO improvements now will help your website and business perform better in the future.
Here are a couple of quick Technical SEO tasks you should keep in mind:
- Improve your page speed
A quick and easy way to do this is by compressing your site’s larger images.
- Optimise the crawlability of your site
Review and update your robots.txt files and upload a new sitemap.xml to Google Search Console every time you upload a new piece of content.
Check out this article on quick SEO wins for more tips and tricks.
Hopefully this post will help many Travel businesses improve their SEO and Content Marketing plan. While cuts will unfortunately be inevitable for many, those that can should continue to invest in SEO. Work on gaining customers trust now, so that they’ll book their holidays with you later.
Do you have company within the Travel Sector? How have you updated your content post Covid-19?
If you’re looking for further assistance, why not check out our SEO services!