Mobile Marketing for Post-Covid Travel Success

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Going global: Attracting international tourists through mobile marketing

In the wake of the post-Covid travel recovery, a shift towards mobile-first strategies has become pivotal for travel businesses aiming to attract international audiences. This article explores the rising significance of mobile marketing, offering insights on how travel companies can harness its potential.

Mobile SEO: Mastering global visibility

In a world where people increasingly use smartphones to plan their travels, searching in more complex ways, mobile SEO is crucial for global competitiveness. To improve mobile search visibility, travel businesses should focus on:

  • Designing a mobile-friendly website catering to various screen sizes.
  • Enhancing page speed through image compression and efficient coding.
  • Implementing local SEO for mobile with location-specific keywords (for example, “things to do in New York”) and updated Google Business Profiles (formerly known as Google My Business listings).
  • Understanding and using mobile-friendly keywords, particularly considering voice search trends. For example, on a voice assistant, instead of saying “best restaurants in New York”, a person might say “What are the top-rated restaurants near me?”
  • Crafting concise and scannable mobile-optimised content – since content that works well on larger screens may not be suitable on mobile.
  • Creating compelling mobile meta-titles and descriptions for higher click-through rates from Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Mobile meta descriptions typically need to be shorter than desktop versions.
  • Verifying separate mobile site indexing with mobile sitemaps.
  • Implementing structured data markup for rich snippets in mobile search results.
  • Integrating mobile social media profiles and encouraging user-generated content – given the role social proof plays in inspiring holidays.

Mobile paid media: Targeting across continents

But it’s not all about SEO. As the digital landscape becomes increasingly competitive, paid media ads are claiming more real estate on smaller screens. For an effective paid media strategy on mobile, travel marketers should concentrate on:

  • Creating mobile-responsive landing pages prioritising fast loading times.
  • Taking advantage of mobile-specific ad formats like carousel ads and interactive formats, to maximise storytelling opportunities.
  • Using location-based targeting and running location-specific campaigns.
  • Exploring in-app advertising within popular travel and navigation apps. If you have your own app, run app install campaigns for exclusive app-only deals.
  • Incorporating mobile-specific keywords and enabling clickable phone numbers in ads.
  • Investing in a paid social strategy targeting platforms relevant to your audience, which may vary by market.

Don’t overlook TikTok, especially for younger travellers: on the company’s blog, they say that since 2021, they’ve seen a 410% increase in views of travel content, with 71% of European TikTok users saying they’re likely to book a holiday based on recommendations they’ve seen on the platform.

  • Implementing mobile retargeting ads for user re-engagement.
  • Considering Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for quicker loading times.
  • Implementing mobile analytics and tracking for data-driven optimisation.

Mobile User Experience (UX): Seamless journeys without borders

Mobile screens may be smaller, but user experience should never be compromised. First, travel brands need to use responsive design, so that websites work well on all kinds of phones and tablets. This means not just adjusting the layout but also making sure buttons and links are easy to tap. Improving search features so people can find things quickly, no matter what language they speak, is also important.

The booking journey needs to be as simple as possible, offering easy ways to pay – bearing in mind that payment preferences can vary by market. Providing clear contact information and helpful support, like through chatbots, is essential for helping users if they have questions or problems.

Showing prices in local currencies and offering offline access to important information, like maps, makes things more convenient for users. This is especially helpful in places where internet connection is limited.

Using reviews and recommendations from other users can influence people's decisions. Encouraging reviews on mobile platforms helps build trust. And using location data to personalise the experience improves user satisfaction.

The importance of localisation for international brands

For brands operating across borders, culturally sensitive localisation is a way to forge a deeper connection with your target audience. The optimal way to achieve cultural sensitivity is by using Local In-Market Experts to guide your campaigns.

Local In-Market Experts can help to build trust with target audiences by understanding their preferences and how they understand and search for your product in their market. Travel concepts don’t always resonate across borders – for example, the notion of an open-air sightseeing bus tour isn’t well recognised in China.

Local In-Market Experts can help you avoid cultural misunderstandings. An example of one such misunderstanding was Airbnb’s 2017 campaign called ‘Floating World’ to promote rentals in Kyoto, Japan. The campaign featured serene images of bamboo forests and traditional tea ceremonies. However, it received backlash for perpetuating stereotypes of Japanese culture and promoting overtourism. Critics argued that it overlooked the complexity of Kyoto's heritage and failed to address issues such as sustainable tourism.

Local In-Market Experts can help you to localise language, idioms, and colloquialisms. They can adapt content to reflect and capitalise on local trends, enhancing engagement and relevance. Moreover, they understand the nuances of humour and tone within the cultural context, and possess the insight to adapt visuals, colours, and design elements to match cultural preferences.

The future of mobile marketing for tourism

The future of mobile marketing is being shaped by a combination of technological advancements and evolving consumer behaviour. Key considerations in this landscape include integrating Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies into mobile marketing to provide immersive experiences. Additionally, leveraging AI-driven technologies enables personalised recommendations and travel assistance, such as creating custom itineraries based on individual preferences and current location.

The advent of 5G technology is enabling high-quality video content delivery and real-time interactions, enhancing user engagement. Location-based services are increasingly used for targeted marketing efforts and tailored content delivery. Furthermore, optimisation for voice search is becoming imperative as voice-activated virtual assistants gain wider adoption.

In conclusion

The future of mobile marketing in travel and tourism is being shaped by rapid advancements in the digital realm. Using AR, VR, AI, and 5G will enrich user experiences, but there are also marketing challenges, such as data and privacy concerns and how to stand out in a crowded space. To succeed in this fast-changing environment, travel companies must be flexible and creative to connect with future travellers.

Oban International is a digital marketing agency that specialises in international growth. Since 2002, the agency has helped various travel and tourism businesses achieve international success using a unique network of Local In-Market Experts. To find out how Oban can help your business, please get in touch