Many travel business are too focussed on immediate return on investment on social media, according to fast-growing deals publisher Holiday Pirates.
Speaking at this week’s EyeforTravel Europe summit in London, the firm’s chief executive David Armstrong said firms need to invest in content and brand and not be too sales focussed.
He told delegates how the German firm has grown from a travel blog purely on the back of its social media presence, ostensibly Facebook, and has spent nothing on Google Adwords.
“Many businesses are focussed on immediate ROI and that’s the wrong thing to be focussed on if you work on social media.
“It will come, but it will come over time. If you invest in content and in brand and not be too sales pushy, that’s a big mistake companies make trying to sell things the way they do on Google.
“That won’t work. You have to invest time and resources and technology but when the ROI comes it’s really worth it.
“Other businesses want people to immediately buy what they want them to buy. That’s not our approach. We try to keep in touch day after day.
“People want contact with our brand every day to see nice deals. That’s what they want, good value for money deals and when they see one they like they really hop on it.”
Armstrong said Holiday Pirates is a very healthy company financially with €362 million annual total transaction value (TTV) and could buy traffic on Google it just does not have to.
He said figures shows how the travel sector contributed $12 billion of Google’s global revenues in 2016 with Expedia, Priceline and Airbnb alone accounting for half of that.
Armstrong said Holiday Pirates took the decision to “fish where the fish are”, highlighting fantastic deals to its 10 million Facebook fans in a relevant and engaging way.
The firm has also seen 10 million app downloads, and is ramping up its presence in messaging apps like WhatsApp which its users are increasingly turning to to engage with brands.
“It sounds easy, but you really have to go into all these channels and understand them. They all work differently.
“That does not just mean throwing money in to new channels and buying traffic somewhere else other than Google. It’s about organic growth.”
Armstrong added: “Be relevant with content and deals but also address topics that are current. Have a call to action and be creative to foster engagement. That builds trust and inspiration.
“Stay fresh, inspire and traffic and revenues will come. You have to really inspire people, draw their attention and everything else will come more or less on its own.”
Holiday Pirates says it is seeing increased mobile usage but continues to enjoy 93% organic traffic across all channels while 66% of users are existing followers and 34% new to brand.