The travel industry isn’t dead: 12 tips to earn money in the near future
Imagine yourself falling into the armchair on a comfortable plane that is about to take off. Flight attendants explain safety procedures you never listen to the end, seatbelts are fastened… Sorry, we have to stop here, as the plain won’t take off for a pretty long time. Flights are canceled, hotels are closed, and experts compete in forecasts on how long it lasts.
Thanks to Bloomberg, CNBC and other media giants we know that
Travel industry crisis sparks comparisons to 9/11 aftermath,
Coronavirus Pandemic Is a Disaster for Tourism,
The global travel industry may not recover for years.
But how much is the travel industry actually losing?
Actually, a lot. In 2019 the global leisure and business travel spending amounted to almost $6,000 billion.
2020 was meant to become the 10th consecutive year of growth for the industry. Before the pandemic, almost 40% of the travel industry revenue was made up of the flight’s segment. Then hotels & accommodation, tours, and activities markets were.
We were supposed to witnesses up to 4% industry growth. But instead, we have
- 55% decrease in the final week of March 2020 vs 2019,
- 44% decrease in revenues,
- 67.5% fall of hotel room occupancy rates (March 24–30 of 2020 vs 2019),
- 38% fall of stocks for online travel giants since the start of 2020.
Doing travel business in 2020
Are there any businesses that came out of this situation as winners? Actually, there are lots of them: online education, VOD, communication soft, online entertainment. Their only flaw is that they are not from the travel industry. All these products are partly replacing people’s emotions and the impression that they receive while making trips.
And now, let’s look at the travel business inside out and learn the ways to earn money in the future with Travelpayouts*.
Airlines have laid down, booking platforms no longer pamper us with exclusive offers. Influencers and affiliates marketers are left without the usual sources of income. But there’s no reason to worry too much about them. Big full-service airlines and alliances are very important for the global economy, so they will most likely receive generous government support. The low-cost airlines that were in strong health(there’re pretty much of them) before the coronavirus pandemic, can cope even on their own. Small companies that will either disappear and open more opportunities for others or become a part of larger enterprises.
Tatiana Buyanova: The COVID-19 outbreak indeed has harmed the travel industry’s credibility for the near future. But once the panic is over, we expect that domestic travel will recover first. The recovery in domestic bookings, although slow, began immediately after China reached its highest infection rate on February 17th. Once containment measures are lifted, most of the travelers will move inside their domestic regions or to the neighboring countries.
Tip # 1: Monitor the situation at internal and external borders, focus on domestic tourism opportunities and short-distance travel.
Hotels & Accommodation
In some countries, newly renovated hotel rooms with stained-glass windows are turning into hospitals, in others, they are simply closed. It’s a 10% occupancy rate in Canada, 22% in the USA, and 1.8% in Paris.
The hotel industry recovery speed will depend on the state of the economy and the long-term structural impact of remote working practices. The only thing that more or less is clear is that business travel demand will rebound a little faster than a leisure one. Individual travelers will get away on trips as far as they are sure it’s safe and it won’t hit their budget hard.
So, after lockdown end, the hotels will start filling up with people in suits and organized tourists, who came to the conferences, sports, and cultural events first.
Tatiana Buyanova: In today’s world, traveling in many ways became a necessity. First glad tidings are coming from China — the hotel industry has already started to recover and people are getting ready to travel again. The demand is rebounding in all major cities in mainland China. Global brands are poorly presented in this country. Therefore, the first who get the best of travel recovery is local players and their affiliate programs .
Tip #2: If you want to recover your cash flows faster, explore business travel market and start adapting to changing consumers behavior now
Tours and activities
Travel companies are relaxing their booking policies to encourage people to keep booking holidays during the pandemic or rebook them in case they decided to change the destination or the travel time.
Yes, now people are really afraid to plan and book trips for the near future. But we can see an increasing demand for tours in 2021. “On our Nordic destinations we’re up 66% overall”, said marketing director Georgina Hancock. “Which breaks down to Iceland up 23%, Sweden up 48%, Finland up 107%, Norway up 150%, and Arctic voyages up a whopping 220%.” — Discover the World says.
There are also two other trends in booking platforms traffic dynamics: a spike in searches for travel spots with no or very little cases of coronavirus and nearby ones.
Tatiana Buyanova: Due to the fact that people are looking for vacation spots near their city, such travel niches as accommodation, ground transportation, car rental, lodging, camping, and domestic flights will be on the rise.
Tip #3: Travel will be closer to home initially, so driving and non-package holidays are niches worth trying.
What about earning money in the travel industry in 2020?
Tatiana Buyanova: Travel industry has never been an easy one. First, because of the competition and high demands for travel products. Speaking in terms of affiliate marketing, the average income from a flight ticket is 1–3% of the price, while a hotel reservation makes 4–6%, and car rental is 5–7% of the total check. But now we expect attractive rates on ground transportation, such as trains and buses, or especially ride-hailing, as traveling within the country is becoming trendy.
Moreover, despite all the talk of the market oversaturation, it’s still not late to start a blog. This occupation attracts a large number of people, but only a few of them really know what to do.
Tatiana Buyanova: As we’ve already discussed, air transportation is the most popular travel segment, which basically means it’s the most saturated market. But even flight tickets might be offered as a unique service. For example, one of our affiliates tracks significant price changes for popular routes and shares it with his followers on Facebook and Telegram.
Big completion should not make anyone scary, as it’s just a sign that the vertical is truly attractive. Yes, you will not beat Google (sorry), but you still can create a unique service for your future loyal audience. The thing you need to do is to find a unique demand within a unique niche. Test different messages, angles, and creatives and find the best one with the help of A/B tests.
Tip #4: Find a unique niche and communication style. Test them and don’t stop experimenting. Read how to conduct a digital marketing experiment here.
What about now? How can I save my business when everything is closed?
Tatiana Buyanova: Even with a drop in sales, travel businesses still need to keep on working to get ready for the “new normal”. Recalculate your budget, write SEO-friendly content, finally redesign your website and gain leads. The most important thing for travel market players now is to use this time to our advantage.
It’s the perfect time to deepen your knowledge in strategy and make a solid plan for the future. In our blog, we regularly publish tips and advice on how to monetize your traffic based on our client’s and partners’ experience. And don’t forget to read Travelpayout’s comprehensive Survival Guide for travel blogger that will help come off with flying colors.
Tips #5–12: Prepare for the future
- Market research. Find specific customer pain points and watch the marketing trends to find uniques ideas to solve it. The outbreak is not the time to go with the flow. Read Travelpayouts’ comprehensive Survival Guide that will help come off with flying colors.
- Build a website to gain and monetize traffic. Don’t forget to choose a catchy domain name!
- Content, lots of content! Once you have 20 posts on your site, you’ll know what to delegate to freelancers if needed.
- Focus on SEO and transactional long-tail search queries — as usual, long-tail search queries are less competitive, the same time the transactional queries will generate higher profits then navigational or informational search queries;
- Start gaining traffic. Use various traffic sources — organic traffic from Google should not be the only traffic source of your blog. Drive traffic from social networks, email newsletters, content syndication, paid ads and other sources. Convert your visitors into leads to convert leads into customers next!
- Brainstorm on all the possible monetization models. There are tons of methods to profit from travel like working with Google Ads, affiliate marketing, selling guides and webinars and more.
- Build a brand — use White Labels or other solutions that help you leave customers on your website.
- Keep the focus on an audience that is ready to buy — a person looking for “tickets from New York to Los Angeles” is usually much closer to buying than a person asking about “the best places to travel with toddlers”.
And the last, but not the least
Indeed, the travel industry is going through difficult times. The worst thing you can do is give vent to emotions and start acting irrationally. Always back up your actions with reliable data. We’ll all have to adapt to another consumer behavior and change the usual promotion strategies. So, always track your traffic, and see what works and what’s not.