Image: Felix Rostig

SEO/Content Strategy for the Travel Management Sector

The global travel management sector is being powered up through unexpectedly high consumer and business travel demand. And the revenge travel movement is just a transition to a permanently mobile population who long to escape the confines of their local environment.

Travel is more than an elixir for what’s ailing everyone, or frustrated workers stuck in the grind.  Travel offers a path to enlightenment, family sharing, and real world experiences that transform people.

It’s a dominant trend, with destinations, management tools, venues, and tours growing to meet that demand.  So this is a pep talk to help you make SEO and Content a priority, to capitalize on this lasting opportunity to capture new and repeat customers.

As you’ll see in the keyword list below, companies are willing to pay big prices on Google to generate leads.

These new and returning travel consumers are looking forward to more immersive experiences in 2024.  What an exciting segment to be involved in given the essence of it is fun, stimulating, interesting, productive and often involves being actively adventurous. Travel is all about living, exploration and rejuvenation.

One Goal: Being the Only Provider for Them

Like any business sector for marketers, customers have to be identified, reached and won. When it’s done well, companies can find themselves becoming market leaders for windfall profits. And even if you fail to achieve market dominance, you’re still in 2nd to 4th place which is very profitable.

Why then would companies not commit fully to travel marketing to achieve that coveted status of “the only provider for me.

Even Seth Godin, the marketing wisdom guru, said the real goal of marketing is not personalization, mass exposure and competition. It is to achieve that exclusive image of the most significant provider — the only one for me.

I have to tell you a story. My mother described my dad as “the only one for her.”  They had 10 kids.  Yes, anyone who is married knows all about “the only for me.”

That’s what your travel-related business must be to your customers.

It’s where you get 100% to 500+% of your marketing investment returned to you. Market leaders are hard to unseat, beat, and imitate. As the most trusted and significant product/service/resource, you will get to color the customer’s view of what they need. And that breeds loyalty and continuous sales and upsell opportunity.

Advanced SEO Brings Them All to You

Of course, when marketing is mentioned, we know how important search engine optimization and content strategy are. And it’s not just because it’s supposedly free.

Most travelers launch their adventures on Google, either to explore destinations, plan their trip logistics, price out travel purchases, and research activities at their destinations. That’s a lot of keyword searches, clicking, reading, viewing, and evaluating. They hunger for content that inspires, validates, informs and enables their travel dreams.

Top of Google and most shared is a prestige position for a business. It deserves nurturing and support.

And with every single search that the target travel customer conducts, a business like yours has an opportunity to reach them.

Just like the massive variety of keyword phrases and demographic profiles involved, you have endless options for content types, styles, visitor engagement, messages, and topics. It’s a fun playground for travel marketers and SEOs, bloggers, videographers, and others. That should help make the SEO/Content strategy a fun thing to leverage.

One thing to mention is that SEO and content strategy aren’t necessarily the same thing. After all, a company creates a lot of content, some of which might be relevant to keyword searches while some is designed for mid and bottom-funnel engagement with customers.

Top of Funnel: Creating and Leveraging Assets for Massive Results

In this post, we want to explore content creation for top-of-funnel searches where travelers are initiating early-phase awareness inquiries. That would include destinations, experiences, venues, tours, travel packages, flights, hotels, activities, restaurants, etc. These are the B2C or B2B travelers being targeted.

For B2B travel management software companies, hotels, agencies and tour operators, the key targets are travel managers, corporate expense managers, CEOs, CTOs and CIOs who are researching travel management solutions for their companies.

For B2C travel firms, the targets are singles, families, and Bleisure travelers who seek adventures and getaways of varying lengths. SEO and content assets such as blogs, photos, videos, and testimonials are the tools to capture and impact those audiences.

Tour Operators Enjoy a Massive Growing Audience

Tour operators in particular number in the millions and come in all sizes, and countries, offering massive variety of experiences to mostly leisure travelers. Tours are the next extension of the global travel experience where travelers want more than a detached, ghost-like visit to a strange land. Immersion with people, history, culture, cuisine, and adventures with other people is the trend today.

Tour companies are in search of tools to help sell their tour packages and services, help travelers organize their trips, and get paid for services rendered. The connection between them and audiences is a high-profit highway.

You’ll see many of them on my tour operator and travel management software posts. There are many more of course, with new startups entering the industry each year. And SEO and content strategy are powerful ways to compete against established big software providers and travel portals who want to grab up the market for themselves.

It’s an industry that’s accessible via so many paths, and it’s strategy that puts you front and center — for total significance. And that’s important because significance is ultimately what keeps you in that sales pipeline right now and in the years ahead. Use the word “significance” more in your business plan.

Let’s discuss a process to create the big success in visibility, reach, traffic, brand messages, and sales results you’re hoping for.

Planning your SEO/Content Strategy

It’s important to begin with two things:

  • what you the founder/CEO specifically wants to achieve and what the unique value proposition will be
  • in-depth market research on the target customer, what they want, what their actual intent is, what might move them to become your customer, against what your competitors are offering

Hopefully, you have that research handy and have chosen your brand positioning and key markets. Then it’s a matter of developing your funnel strategy (which is the customer journey and experience with your brand and website).  The touchpoints your customer makes in this journey become the topics of your most important, high-converting content. These are top of funnel, mid funnel and bottom funnel conversion points, which you need to clarify.

The next layer involves building content that feeds into those touchpoints, particularly at the top of the funnel where most consumers are becoming aware of services and products.

Content Marketing Funnel.
Content Marketing Funnel. Image courtesy of LucidChart.

While you’re thinking and hoping that your main marketing service and product pages are going to be the stars of the top of funnel, they aren’t going to be. Unless you’re Travelperk or Expedia, these static product pages won’t rank well. It’s because they’re written for final conversion, not as engaging, inspiring, dynamic content for top-of-funnel visitors.

Most visitors will be properly inspired by your blogs and then head to your key marketing pages (services, products, contacts) to prepare for purchase. Building trust is a big factor and that begins in the blogs, marketing pages, and customer testimonials. And creating relevance and significance are two big factors in them engaging further and meaningfully.

Your visitors have intent, but your content has to capture and magnify that intent.  If they bounce off your marketing pages, you need to ascertain what went wrong.

Content Topics to Build

Using keyword discovery tools via Google search console, ahrefs SEO software, competitor analysis and other tools, you’ll collect a series of keywords and the volume and competitiveness rating of each. The PPC price will help you hone in on proven converting keywords that bring great customers.

The wording, headings, and sentence structure you use must be modified to power up semantical meanings for Google’s AI robot, which reads into the meaning of your content. Googlebot’s not that smart, and can be “guided” to believe your content is the highest quality, trustworthy, authoritative, significant and appropriate for a variety of users. This is a key to great SEO.

Content can be shaped so it seems more relevant to different user segments, which opens your site to more visibility and more visitors.  If Google feels you’re not fully significant or perhaps only relevant to a segment of users, you won’t get full placement in the results.  It’s an art and a science to manipulate the search engine robot and ranking system so Google keeps you included in the results.

By optimizing content so many different ways, it gains even further value and begins to boost the value of your other content pages, lifting the entire website in the rankings. And this is how you might rank for tens of thousands of unique keyword phrases and raise traffic considerably.

And visitors may be influencers, travelers, agency and tour operators, venue owners, travel bloggers and CEOs of important companies. There’s no telling who might show up on your site. It might be a movie star or pro athlete who endorses your offering and gives you a massive brand boost. Anything is possible when you do this well.  Success snowballs.

The Real Value of Keyword Rankings

The value of high rankings on Google comes into focus when you receive your advertising bill from Google Ads. Take a look at the last column and what advertisers are willing to pay per click. I know for a fact, that the average searches per month they report is too low.

Keyword (Google Advertising) Avg. monthly searches Competition Competition (indexed value) Top of page bid (low range)
Top of page bid (high range)
travel platforms for business 50.0 Medium 58 $64.79 $271.76
best corporate travel management software 50.0 Low 33 $39.41 $259.90
corporate travel management software 500.0 Low 21 $26.31 $210.73
best travel management software 50.0 Medium 38 $37.94 $178.96
travel management platform 500.0 Low 17 $30.79 $157.05
business travel software 50.0 Medium 59 $30.79 $151.85
business travel management software 50.0 Medium 35 $27.00 $151.31
company travel management software 50.0 Medium 35 $27.00 $151.31
travel management system 500.0 Medium 35 $22.17 $150.56
travel management software 50.0 Medium 47 $22.10 $146.99
travel management solutions 500.0 Low 5 $28.81 $120.34
travel management software for small business 50.0 Medium 38 $19.08 $119.89
business travel booking software 500.0 Low 17 $29.91 $119.21
travel software for small business 50.0 Medium 53 $17.15 $115.01
travel management tools 500.0 Low 15 $19.49 $106.99
travel agency management software 50.0 Low 23 $13.86 $78.66
travelperk 5,000.0 Low 28 $16.32 $67.96
travel software companies 50.0 Medium 38 $8.78 $66.75
corporate travel booking software 500.0 Low 7 $19.03 $65.26
travel management apps 500.0 Low 15 $3.76 $46.33
travel agency software for small business 50.0 Medium 49 $10.17 $43.25
travel marketing platform 50.0 Low 30 $5.55 $11.96
saas travel 50.0 Low 25 $2.79 $9.76
travel saas companies 50.0 Medium 51 $2.69 $9.18
tours 50,000.0 Low 15 $0.78 $2.60
travel packages 50,000.0 Medium 53 $0.64 $2.44

Finding The Best, Most Significant Topics

From your keyword list, you can start topic brainstorming (I often use an idea flow chart after researching, reading and exploring websites). I begin with high demand important keywords and build a tree structure that naturally leads to more specific keywords and topics.

It all flows onto the page like a colorful painting (enjoyable only to me perhaps). You have to love your work!

We’ll likely build out up to ten key topic pages for blog posts and begin researching them. In this process, we’ll learn how the topics connect with each other and support them. Although your post may be about one dominant topic, it will contain important/vital information that will link to another post or directly to your marketing pages.

This enriching of your posts makes them a better team player, and reassures Google that all of your content is valuable to business travel software and service buyers. It makes your content more engaging and causes visitors to linger longer on your website. “Thin content” is not admired by Google. They prefer deep content that hits the visitor’s key pain points and interests.

Customer research is so important to this.

After we’ve created your blog posts to make them informative, we edit for impact, engagement, clarity and purpose.  You’ll be editing for clarity, flow, trust, and to subtly erode competitors’ strengths and promises.

When your blogs are really good, they mesmerize the audience and for a while, the visitor forgets there is anyone else to consider.  The key to great content is like relationships. You want them to experience you as the only one they will ever want. That’s building loyalty and permanence right from the get-go.

Sales happen when you stop their search. They’ve solved their pain points, found their inspiration and purpose and now are ready to integrate your software or travel service, or buy your travel experience or product.

Make SEO and Content Strategy a foundation of your marketing effort. It will make your sales team happy.

Looking to add someone special to your team? Call Gord at 416 998 6246 to that about your business and needs.

More Travel Posts: Travel Marketing Software | Travel Marketing ServicesTour Companies | Adventure Tourism | Travel Business Marketing | Saas Travel | SaaS Marketing Solutions | Innovation in Travel Management | Travel Management Software | Travel Tour Software | Adventure Tour Companies | Travel Blog  | Hotel SEO | Best Travel Experiences | Travel Marketing & Promotion