Technology is growing fast day by day and so is the use of the internet. As the internet has worked to streamline many processes, it has turned marketplace for Online Travel Agencies(OTAs) too crowded.
In today’s fast-paced world, Online Travel Agencies like Expedia, MakeMyTrip enormously influence the way travelers make tour bookings. These Online Travel Agencies offer many benefits to traveling bookers by bundling hotel reservations with rental cars, air tickets, etc.
Online Travel Agencies are not only competing for clicks and revenues but they are also competing with hotel chains and airlines that sell their product directly from their website.
As the travel industry is rapidly becoming a very competitive market, we need innovative strategies to increase its revenue.
In this post, we will be discussing some of the key strategies to increase revenue for Online Travel Agency.
1. Have A Good Website
We come across many travel agencies website that does not turn out beneficial. So it is very very important to have a good, attractive and user-friendly website of your Online Travel Agency.
Firstly, while designing your website, you should be sure that it attracts the customers quickly by having high-quality professional photographs and proper functionality.
Your website should describe each and every service provided by your business like hotel booking, car rentals, flight bookings, etc as shown in the below image. See to it that all your services are properly linked to the relevant service page.
You can also flash pop-ups coming on the side panel of your website that shows best deals or offers. This will attract the attention of the visitors visiting your website and will create interest to see the details of the available best deal or offers and book the same.
Secondly, you need to make sure that your website has a strong SEO and can be found easily. Your Domain name should be such that it is easy to remember and it also highlights your brand.
The best example for this is Booking.com. Anyone can easily identify by reading the domain name that this company is into booking business.
2. Engage With Social Media
One of the most popular sales technique for travel agencies is the use of Social Media. With an active social presence, your content will appear closer to the top of the page in search results.
Having a great website is not enough. You also have to get engage with social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. That’s because Google ranks content that is spread via these networks higher than other content.
Have you noticed how many vacation photos your friends post on Facebook or Instagram? That’s because people like to brag about their travel on social media.
People get influenced by their friend’s photos and book their trip accordingly.
You can see in the below stats that 52% people get influenced by watching photographs of their friends on facebook while 48% stuck with their plan.
Build a page on such social sites where people post their stories, photos, and videos of their most recent experience. It is also fine to post some special offers or best deals on this page to increase revenue for your travel agency.
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3. Offer Packages
Combine different services you provide to a unique experience by offering packages. You can promote exclusive seasonal packages, announce hot deals from airlines, try to offer a better price by selling hotel and activity together. This can be interesting for you and for your customers.
Customers prefer to go for a holiday with tour packages because all things are well organized in advance by the travel agency and they can feel relaxed and enjoy their outing as well.
If you offer your customers good service along with attractive and best deal packages then definitely they would come back to you for the next trip. This is how you can increase the revenue of your online travel business.
4. Offer Added Value
The simplest thing to increase your revenue per customer is to offer added value to their experience as they agree to pay the price for your tours. Your customer would be a happy customer if you give them something more than the offer.
For example, you can offer free lunch or dinner option with your tour package. You can also offer a free sight-seeing for a day. If it’s a couple who booked your tour then you could offer a glass of wine and tapas prior to the viewing to make the experience more romantic.
5. Upload Videos
Sixty percent of all traffic online comes from video, according to Forrester research. People who love to travel, love to document their journey in form of photographs or videos and share them as well.
You can always ask your customers to share these experiences with you. All their experience can be a showcase on your website and also on social channels.
For example, customers want to see exactly what they are getting when they book a room online. Highlight the hotel’s exterior, public spaces, dining facilities, meeting rooms, guest rooms and bathrooms when shooting videos and developing virtual tours.
People planning for their trips can get a clear idea of how the experience would be by watching to those videos and make a choice accordingly.
6. Encourage Your Customers To Leave Reviews
The practice of checking reviews before booking is becoming more and more common. The impact of Customer reviews is that you can improve your sales 5 times.
You can encourage your customers to leave their precious reviews by running competitions for the best travel picture with reviews each season and award a prize or perhaps give a small discount on their next trip.
The web allows people to read more about their specific travel destination and they will surely search for reviews. So encourage your past customers to post a review of their trip experience on your site so new customers will be able to book with confidence.
7. Manage Online Reviews And Take Action
Reviews are a barometer that can be used to identify that the services you are providing are doing well and also let you know the areas where you need to do better.
It is not necessary to always get a positive review. In fact, negative reviews always inspire you to improve yourself in criteria’s in which you are lacking behind.
Every day, millions of people check reviews that are posted on Online Travel Agencies website before finalizing their decision. It is not good to always upload good and positive reviews of your travel agency. So you should always manage your customer’s reviews with positive as well as negative responses you get.
Below is the stats of impact of online reviews on visitors and travelers.
You should also take action on the negative reviews and improve your services. This is the best way to increase revenue for online travel agencies.
8. Ask For Referrals
Customer Referrals are one of the top and most effective way to increase revenue for Online Travel Agencies if implemented correctly. Asking for referral should be a habit to get more clients. It is a small effort for a great reward.
Sometimes people are not comfortable to ask for referrals. Small businesses usually don’t ask for the referral as they feel shy and uncomfortable.
They assume that by providing good services/products, their clients are satisfied and then definitely will pass good words about them to others.
But this doesn’t work. It is not that they don’t want to help you out, but it’s that it never comes to their mind unless you ask them.
So it is very important to ask your client for referrals and be specific when asking for a referral. If you don’t tell your contacts who your target customer is, then you will be wasting time.
Referrals can be asked by emails and on social media Channels too. You can write the referral email for your client and ask them to drop in their name and send to their friends.
You can also publish a blog post about your services on social media channels like facebook, twitter, etc., and share it with your customers. Encourage them to share on their page or tag their friends in the comment section.
9. Know Your Audience
Another most important steps to increase your revenue is to know your audience properly. You should try to understand the needs of your customer first. Only then you will be able to speak their language and fulfill their requirements and make them satisfy with your services.
To know your audience well, you need to ask them some questions, but remember questions should not be too long and boring. It should be short and up to the mark.
For example, you can ask them what’s their budget? How many days would they like to go for a trip? Which place are they interested in going? etc.
With the help of this response from your audience, you will be able to know them well and can try to give your best too.
As the needs and requirements of your audience are clear in your mind, you can offer them best deals/packages accordingly. This will surely make your audience turn into a happy customer and help in increasing your revenue.
10. Engage Your Audience
Once you know who your audience is, then the next logical step is to engage them based on their habits.
Sometimes your agency may be working with the same customers for years and hence, develop a great relationship that makes it easier for them to select a product they will love.
But even if you work with different group of customers, you can engage them by updating latest deals, offers, hot spots to travel, etc. This will help them to find a travel product that fits them well.
You can engage your audience on social media and your website by writing good blog posts and uploading latest updates. Local new channels and newspapers are also powerful tools to engage your audience.
Look in the below image how an online vacation planner company called Zicasso use such tools and get engaged with their audience regularly.
You can also engage your audience by giving a quick reply to their queries and sending thanking emails or messages if they comment on your blogs.
11. Start A Blog
Whenever your customers are planning their next journey or just fantasizing about it, they would love to read about the experience of other people with you.
Create a blog on which audience can read about all the beautiful destinations your agency can offer along with your past customer’s experiences.
You can write the trips yourself or encourage your customers to write about their adventures and accept them as guest posts. This is an extension of both your self-generated and user generated content.
Good writing is a sales technique that helps to build a relationship with clients. Online Travel Agencies like MakeMyTrip, Travelocity use this sales technique which helps them to increase their revenue.
12. Develop A Trusted Reputation
People are always looking for an exciting adventure at a good value but they also want a reputed Online Travel Agency who can guide them safe, appropriate and provide the best deal for their journey.
Developing a trusted reputation of your Online Travel Agency is not an easy task. You have to work hard and stand out to be the best from the other competitors.
It all depends on the services you give, best deals you offer and also a good customer support that you provide to your customers.
Customer support plays a vital role in building your agencies reputation. Say for any reason, your customers have any complaints or cancellation of bookings, at that point of time it is very important how you deal with such situations and give your customers good and satisfactory support.
Customer support also helps in building good reputation especially when your customers don’t speak the language of the country for which they have booked the trip. It is important that you are clear to the customer and they understand well what they have booked.
13. Be Responsive And Always Available
Waiting for any reply is the most frustrating thing your customers may feel. So you should respond to all the queries of your customers within a short span of time.
You should be extremely responsive through email, social media and your website. Receiving prompt response may also help you in building a good reputation of your Online Travel Agency.
The above image shows the response time your guest expects. Prompt the response from your side, better is the reputation of your company and it ends with an increase in revenue.
14. Use Professional Photography And Good Description
Your website should be different and unique. It should not be same as your competitors.
Take your customers opinion about it. Your customer’s suggestions will make you better. They are the person who will give you right opinion. Ask them for their reviews and accordingly, you can make your website better with the good description of all the services you provide.
Also, you should use professional photography on your site to have a pleasant and attractive look by which visitors will be engaged to your site. For travel websites, the quality photograph is an essential factor to impress your visitors.
You can check how Airbnb use professional photographs and receives 2-3x bookings on an average. This definitely attracts the customers and also creates a good impression on them.
Thus, use of professional photography and the good description of each and every service you provide will help you to boost your revenue.
15. Send An Email Newsletter
Email marketing strategy has been a smart choice for direct communication since a very long time. It still remains so, even with the advent of social media and other fancy marketing channels.
Email is a great way to generate leads and keep people informed of the news and updates about your travel agency.
Remember your email marketing strategy should be a weekly or monthly newsletter to keep your company fresh in the minds of your customers.
With sending emails to your customers you can promote exclusive seasonal packages, announce hot deals from airlines and other travel partners, or post helpful travel tips from your agents.
Use your email newsletter as a showcase for everything your website has to offer travelers. You can combine the power of technology and story-telling to create highly customized emails.
16. Host a Contest
Hosting a contest is an another most used technique to motivate people to get involved with your agency.
Everyone loves the possibility of winning something whether it is a free flight, a free night at a hotel or a discount.
Contests are a great way to engage your audience.
You can see in the below image and get an idea how MakeMyTrip host contest and sends contest alert.
You can ask your customers for a photo gallery or video of their best vacation or ask them to write 500 words describing their dream destination.
One of the best examples you can see in the below image is of Alaska Airlines who hosted Chicago Contest through a special tab where viewers can upload a video or a photograph in which they “put the smackdown on ordinary”. They have to collect votes from their friends.
The winner wins a flight from Chicago to California on a competitor airline and then a free California getaway and a trip back to Chicago on Alaska Airlines’s inaugural flight.
The idea behind it was a hope that if people travel one time by other flight followed by the Virgin experience will surely convert a few fans.
In the same way, you have to make your audience work for the prize or for attractive discounts. They will love to share their experiences and probably they may come back for their next trip, even if they don’t win.
17. Regular Content Update
Google loves fresh, original content. When you update your content frequently Google will trust that you are an engaging, active business and they may rank your site higher in the search.
People look for timely information. Regular updates of special offers, events and hotel details will ensure you to get more customers. It is important to keep your audience informed and updated.
As travel business is getting competitive day by day, updating new content shows that your business is active. By showing that you are engaged and interested in providing information, you make sure that you are committed to your customers.
18. Be Clear
Writing clearly is one way to capture and retain our customer’s interest. Be clear, specific and bold in what you are writing.
If you are offering any deals or hosting any contest, be clear and specific. There should not be any hidden cost or extra charges applicable.
Keeping in mind that all type of customers may visit your website, so use simple words that could be understood by all audiences.
Being clear also helps your customers who don’t speak the language of the country they have booked for, it is very important that you are clear to the customer and that they understand what they book.
Make sure the customer leaves with a clear view on things such as pick up time and location, what to bring, what to pay on arrival, extra cost if any etc.
19. Tailored Sales Promotion
Nowadays people prefer to book a tailor-made tour so that they can enjoy their destinations in the way they want and also in their budget. Hence, tailored sales promotion is important to increase the revenue of your travel agency.
Tailored sales promotion includes a combination of different products into a unique experience. Create a package and try to offer a better price by selling hotel, flight and activity together. This can be interesting for you and for your customers.
You can have a look on Cox & Kings website to get an idea of tailor-made holidays they offer.
20. Mobile Friendly
It is also very important to ensure that your travel website is properly responsive with multiple mobile devices such as iPhones, Android devices, iPads, etc. This is important because nowadays people prefer to view and book their trip from devices like mobile, tablets, etc.
Having a mobile-friendly travel website allows customers to enjoy a seamless transition between devices and gives much more satisfying user experience.
Mobile-friendly travel sites are easier to navigate and benefit from faster load times. Thus it simplifies booking process and makes convenient for the customer to make the booking from anywhere, anytime at their comfort level.
Google offers a helpful Mobile-Friendly Test for your website. This can give you an idea of how mobile-friendly your travel site is?
You can check these 20 Key Strategies to Increase Revenue for Online Travel Agency and implement it for your business growth.
Hopefully, these tips will bring you one step further in running a successful Online Travel Agency. It will surely create interest in your customers to get more engaged with you.