Travel agents, have you tapped into Facebook Advertising yet?
Facebook has 2,2 billion monthly active users. It’s no wonder that travel agencies use Facebook for inspiring and marketing holiday deals to travelers. It is almost certain that your target audience will be among those users!
Before a travel agency starts to attract travelers on Facebook, they need to determine their target audience.
As technology changes, so do customers’ habits, desires, and lifestyle, almost daily. So, it’s best to double check and see if your customers’ preferences have changed.
To help you attract travelers on Facebook more effectively and drive more sales to your travel agency, we interviewed a Facebook Advertising expert.
Carolin is CEO of Breathing Social Media – social media agency that offers social media strategies, consulting, Facebook and Instagram advertising services and training to companies from within the travel & lifestyle space. She works with travel agencies from all over the world.
Today, Carolin will share her expertise with all you, travel professionals. So, let’s find out how travel agencies can attract travelers to their tours via Facebook Ads!
When it comes to Facebook Ads, what do travel agencies most struggle with?
Travel agencies’ biggest struggle is keeping up to date with all the social network trends.
Of course, it seems easy to set up a Facebook campaign. But I get a lot of queries about the tech side of things. Such as installing the Pixel or choosing the right objective.
When it comes to Facebook Ads for travel agents, the lack of patience and having the right expectations is still a challenge.
Facebook Advertising is a great way to get fairly quick results. But it takes a lot more work to perfect Facebook Ads than most travel agencies think. So, the lack of patience and having the right expectations is very important. It’s a dynamic, ever-changing space!
Facebook Ads can get overwhelming. Which Facebook Ad type works the best for travel agencies?
It very much depends where travel agencies are at with their business. Are you a new business? Or do you already have a great brand awareness and web traffic?
I only ever recommend boosting a post if it’s to travel agency’s own fans and followers. Otherwise, they are wasting money! Boosting works great if you spend a little bit right after posting on your page. After that, turn it off and let engagement take off organically.
To reach a cold audience*, set up a proper, well-targeted campaign in Facebook Ads Manager!
*Cold audience are people who haven't interacted with your travel agency yet. They know nothing about you and are unlikely to book a travel right away.
The best way to attract travelers on Facebook is through Video Ads!
Video Ads are fantastic for travel, obviously, because it is a highly visual industry.
If you have great videos, leverage them. E.g. You can easily build re-targeting audiences on a group of people who watched a certain percentage of the video, showing that they are very engaged.
Otherwise, I recommend the Traffic, Conversion, Lead Generation and Page Post Engagement objective. Those Facebook Ad types most effective to attract travelers on Facebook.
If you have a bigger inventory, I cannot recommend Product Catalog Ads enough!
How to set up objectives in Facebook Ads for travel agents?
At the start of every campaign, make sure you ask yourself what your #1 goal is with the campaign. If it’s generating leads, obviously don’t use the video views objective.
Facebook is such a smart platform. The objective you choose tells the algorithm exactly what the focus of the campaign is. Therefore, it will optimize it for the people who are most likely to take that desired action.
When is the best moment to use each of these Facebook Ad types?
Think about your customers’ journey overall. The different touch points they have with your travel agency and how long it takes on average for them to book a travel.
Then you can see where Facebook Ads could help you fill gaps.
For instance, a travel agency is getting a lot of organic traffic already, but they aren’t converting enough leads. How to solve this problem?
They could re-target people who visited with a Lead Generation campaign.
Personally, I usually work with a two-step funnel at the very minimum. How to build extra steps into your funnel depends on the price point and the overall customer journey. At Breathing Social Media, we always look at the overall sales circle. Plus other marketing activities so we get the complete picture.
What should travel agencies know about Dynamic Ads for Travel?
Dynamic Ads for Travel are a fantastic way to dynamically advertise different travels to your audience, without having to create new ads for each travel manually. If you are a travel agency with multiple destinations and a big inventory, there is no better way for re-targeting!
As prices and vacancies are dynamic, Facebook has adapted to ensure the latest information is always displayed. I encourage you to use event tracking along the funnel. It's tailored towards the stages of travel booking.
Dynamic Ads for Travel allow you to attract travelers on Facebook way better! Just define details such as location, type of accommodation and star ratings.
The recommended daily budget for travel agencies to attract travelers on Facebook
Your ad budget depends on a variety of things. Firstly, I always like to look at the data that has been collected already.
Do you have an email list?
Do you get good organic traffic?
If you already have the data you can build audiences on. Increase conversions with a Facebook retargeting campaign! Basically, retargeting gives you a second chance to communicate with your visitors.
As you are already working with a warm audience*, you don’t need to spend the budget on warming up those customers. So, it also lowers the cost of advertising.
*Warm audience are your customers and other people interested in your offer. Those who follow you on social networks and visit your website.
If you have little data to work with, you will need more budget. The budget is needed to test audiences, creatives and offers in the first place. That way, you will figure out:
- What works?
- What your average cost-per-click is?
- What your conversion rates are?
Secondly, I always recommend working backward. Start with a campaign goal and you will have a much easier time working out a realistic budget. This article is a great resource to start.
GDPR impacts Facebook Ads for travel agents
Some travel agencies are based – or advertise – to customers in Europe.
If they plan to attract travelers on Facebook, there are special rules that apply to them.
By the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that comes into force May 25th, 2018, companies must explicitly get their customer's consent when gathering their personal data. That applies to the travel industry too.
As a travel agency who provides tours to European travelers, it is now your responsibility to collect consent from anyone in your database. As well as remove anyone who doesn’t explicitly agree to share personal data with you.
This means you need to inform your customers what kind of personal data you’re collecting, why and what are you doing with this data.
Travel agencies using a Facebook Pixel, Lead Generation Ads or Custom Audiences will have obligations under the GDPR.
If you have the Facebook Pixel installed you need to tell people visiting your website. And acquire consent from them. For example, you can do that by using a cookie bar.
If you attract travelers on Facebook via Lead Gen Ads, you might be interested to hear that this applies to Lead Generation Ads too.
When using custom audiences for advertising, make sure you are complying with GDPR before you upload any information to Facebook to use for targeting. And don’t be surprised if Facebook will require you to prove that.
Is Facebook Page enough for a successful sale of holiday deals?
An active and engaged Facebook Page is a great start. But a professional website definitely adds to travel agencies’ overall credibility as a business.
Think about customers who are looking to book a holiday, having several touch points with the travel agency and entails social media, a website as well as third-party and reviews sites.
Did you know that direct bookings on a supplier’s own website are ranked as most important for tour operators and activity providers?
With a strong increase in online travel bookings over the past years, it is essential to offer customers multiple channels to book travels on. Customers want to book at any time of the day without restrictions. So, you could be missing out on last-minute bookings if you do not offer an outlet to book travels online on the spot.
Additionally, while in a destination, travelers usually search and book experiences on mobile devices. Hence mobile optimization of any travel website is absolutely essential.
More About Orioly
Having mentioned that every travel agency needs an online travel booking system, Orioly offers a quality solution.
Orioly is a booking system developed for travel agencies, as well as for tour operators and activity providers.
Its newest features help you to stay GDPR compliant while using our travel booking system.
Test it out and see how you can close travel bookings 24/7 from your website and bear the fruits of growing your own distribution network!
Sign up for a free 30-day trial here!