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Your feelings about business travel probably depend on what you do for work. If you’re a steel salesman who has to make biweekly trips to Alaska, you may not be too keen on the whole thing. If you’re a golf reporter for ESPN who gets paid to hang out on beautiful, sun-soaked courses and mix it up with A-list athletes, business travel is your favorite hobby.
Regardless of your feelings on the industry, business travel is a huge marketplace. In 2015, it contributed over $280 billion to U.S. gross domestic product—29% of the American travel industry overall. Business travel is steadily growing by a few percentage points every year, and by 2020 the annual number of trips will be approaching 500 million.
Clearly, it’s not a terrible time to be a business travel marketer. But, at the same time, it’s frustrating to lack the time needed to master the nitty-gritty of online advertising. So, we’re here to help!
The business travel sales cycle isn’t quite as long as that of vacation travel. Whereas the latter is rarely done on a whim, many working professionals are familiar with the last-minute business trip. Marketers should recognize that their prospects are acting relatively urgently and write ad copy accordingly. Assuming a business traveler feverishly searching for a flight doesn’t take the time to carefully read ad descriptions, marketers should promote special offers in their headlines. “Low Fares for Last-Minute Trips” and “Free Business Miles for Capital One Customers” are two examples of how you can grab the attention of someone skimming the results.
That doesn’t mean business travel marketers can’t remarket, however. As long as there’s time between a traveler’s initial click and his final purchase, you have the opportunity to use your best banner and sidebar creative to keep your brand at the top of a prospect’s mind. Assuming your prospect regularly uses websites on the Google Display Network—it would be exceedingly strange if he didn’t—you can make sure he doesn’t forget about you. Even better, remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) allow you to increase your bid on a particular keyword whenever one of your remarketing prospects includes it in a search query. This way, when your opportunity to convert someone peaks, you have the ability to move up the ad ranks and capture their attention.
Business travelers are often frequent fliers. Marketers should aim to retain customers and become their go-to airline. To that end, use landing page offers to turn first-time clickers into long-time customers. Offer a one-time upgrade to first-class seating in exchange for an email address and subsequently use that contact information to keep the customer up-to-date on all your latest deals and promotions.
Alright, that’s enough of the paid search stuff for now. Let’s talk organic tactics. Business travelers are always looking for hacks—creative ways to make their trips seamless and enjoyable. Add a blog to your airline’s website and use it to provide all kinds of helpful content! By publishing personable, informative articles—how to get the most out of business travel, a weekend guide to Nashville, and so on—you’ll drive organic traffic to your site and capture the leads you’re not driving through search ads. Plus, publishing content makes it easier to get links from other websites—an essential SEO tactic known as link building that helps immensely with organic ranking. Combining a strong SEO and content strategy with optimized paid search ads is a surefire way for business travel marketers to get the most out of their online marketing budgets.
For more marketing tips and tricks, check out the WordStream blog.