The dreaded global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has stopped the tourism industry dead on its tracks, prompting both leisure and business travelers to cancel their plans up until the end of the year.
This puts the entire industry in a tough and unpredictable situation. Some are even saying that this will set global tourism back for about 20 years, while others share a more fatalistic view, saying it will never ever be the same again.
However, as history dictates, the travel industry is more than resilient, and has been shown to be an excellent industry in bouncing back from such events. This means that if you run a tourism or hospitality related business, YOU CAN BOUNCE BACK.
And perhaps you can be better than ever.
But before we delve into that, let’s look at how the coronavirus has affected the industry in general, as well as how SEO and digital marketing got affected by this as well.
Springtime is typically the best time for the tourism industry. But, because of the virus grounding airline industries, travel spots became desolate. Of course, the essential travels were permitted with a lot of limitations. As for the leisure travelers, they thinned to nothing when the lockdowns were implemented.
People stopped thinking about leisure and focused on how to keep themselves safe. And what can they do because the government itself ruled no travel notices?
It has also devastated the hospitality industry. Global quarantine may have kept a lot of people safe from the virus, but, it has hurt restaurant and hotel business on an unprecedented scale.
SEO guru, Neil Patel, said it himself that organic traffic is down in most industries during the pandemic with the travel industry getting a big hit at almost -50%.
As traffic went down, it was also seen that conversion also showed a dip in the scale.
While you’re experiencing some inactivity from bookings and reservations, this quiet period may be the perfect opportunity for you to reevaluate, restructure, and revisit your digital marketing strategy – specifically your SEO campaigns.
With that being said, here are some things you can do to turn this downtime into an opportunity so that you’re well prepared when bookings pick up again.
With the dawn of smartphone technology and e-commerce systems, most customers are now comfortable researching, planning, and finally even booking all of their travel plans and trips using their mobile phones – sometimes in the comfort of their own bathrooms!
Thus the reason why your website should be adaptive to mobile users. Not only should it look good (UI), it should also provide a great user experience (UX). This will keep your potential customers on the site longer, while also IMPROVING YOUR SEARCH RANKING on both mobile and desktop.
What are inbound links?
Inbound links come from reputable, high-ranking websites that will help you improve your own ranking on Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages).
These are also known as BACKLINKS.
To ensure that you’re getting good inbound links or backlinks, you should try to limit your links from references or resources that are relevant to your particular industry, in this case, travel, lifestyle, and tourism.
A few of these good sources include travel review sites (TripAdvisor comes to mind), official government-owned tourism websites, travel directories, famous travel bloggers and more.
While Google now prioritizes content and relevance for your digital content marketing efforts, keywords can still provide a great benefit for you and the way you channel your content.
For instance, your keyword focus may dictate the competition you might have for ranking. Let’s say you focus only on the search term “European Tours”. That keyword phrase alone returns over 250 million research on Google – and you’re competing against all of that.
By being more creative with the keywords and phrases found within your content, you’ll be able to improve online visibility and create a niche for yourself.
While it’s good to have general keywords, try to incorporate long-tail keywords as well.
These keywords are more exact and more unique to the people looking for a specific result on Google. Following our example earlier, you may use the following keywords to achieve better rankings instead:
To discover keywords, you can do your own research by looking at what your clients mostly book or look for. You can also use Google Adwords’ keyword planner or Moz’s SERP analysis tool to assess your keyword strategy.
Think of your website as a glimpse to the tours that your customers will be taking part of. Not only will this net you good points for content, it will also improve your SEO ranking.
This is why landing pages on different destinations are a good idea for your website. With these, you can use more targeted keywords and phrases, create exciting content around destinations, and maybe even do some stunning scenery videos in 4K!
While in downtime, you can create great content that will lead to a better search ranking for your pages and website as a whole.
A great looking website is one thing – but a great looking site with structured image file names is loads better.
When you use descriptive filenames instead of a mess of random words and letters (DCIM0122.jpg), you’re telling Google the content of the photos, paving the way for your images to land better on the SERPs.
This is known as the alternative text (ALT TEXT or ALT TAGS), which impacts your SEO and makes your website better for those with visual impairments.
And since we’re in the topic of image improvement, you can also compress your image sizes to improve page speed. A better performing page nets you good points on Google’s ranking.
While these tips above cover the basic SEO, providing a great experience for your customers should still be on top of mind if you want to get the best outcomes.
These may help you weather the storm while in the pandemic, and bounce back as a better and more resilient company once this all fizzles out.
Comment below on how did you adapt your strategy during Covid
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