By: Stephanie Garnica

Selected among the resurgent economies to check out, Japan has its new set of policies meant to make the country more investor- and visitor-friendly, hence giving a brighter future to travel. Local visitors are increasing and its outbound market, although sluggish, has shown remarkable changes in how travelers are arranging and buying travel. Online travel is the talk of the town not just in Japan but all throughout Asia. As online travel continues to thrive in Japan so is the customer demand. Consumers log on, browse and match shops that offer the best deal.

When booking for a holiday you basically have two options, you either use a travel agent or book it yourself online. In the recent years, the latter has become by far the easiest, the most convenient and the most favoured choice. The Internet has revamped the way holidaymakers make their travel arrangements so it’s no wonder why a myriad of online travel agencies have popped out while others have gone bust over the last few years. The competition is undeniably fierce. Given that, you need to stand out, and that means understanding how to market and publicize your travel services to help you gain more customers than your competitors.

Five Quick Start Up Tips

Decide on what you want to become. Do you see yourself as a franchise owner of an established travel agency, an independent travel consultant for a travel agency, or the sole owner of your own agency?

What types of travel services do you wish to offer to your clients?  A travel service includes transportation arrangements on rail (shinkansen or bullet train), land (bus and private cars) air (airplane) or water (ferry); hotel and resort reservations; specialized tour packages and cruise packages. To make your business distinct from the others, you may want to specialize entirely in educational travel or corporate travel, family travel and senior travel.

Develop a marketing plan.  A well-planned promotional offer provides a “road map” to your goals’ accomplishment. Set clear objectives for your travel business. Who are your target customers? What marketing strategies and tactics will you use? Who are your main competitors?

Create a website. If you don’t know how or don’t have one, hire a web/graphic designer to help you. Your website should look attractive and professional to gain your customers’ trust and confidence. Three essentials things to remember: great design + convincing content + easy to maintain and update.

Spread the word. There’s no better way to market and increase your travel business awareness but by word of mouth. Tell your family members, friends and current customers through this free form of marketing.

Delve the Web: Why and How?

A business that doesn’t have an online presence is said to lose big time that is because people are now turning to the web to search for information.

Promoting your travel agency successfully is outstandingly easy, though it entails you to take an active, and preferably constant interest. Find the know-how that work well for online or offline travel agencies, whether they concentrate in serving a niche market or a wider audience.

Market on Youtube

Make a quirky video of your travel agency and post it online. YouTube, with the million users it has, surely got the power to make your business a household name. Creatively unique videos have a good chance of going viral. This simply means even a viewer who doesn’t plan to go on a vacation will watch your video and then share or pass it on to others. If you’re lucky enough, your videos might make it to the evening news, attracting another crowd of potential visitors to check out your clip and your travel services.

Harness the Power of Free Venues, Blogging and Social Media

Place ads on Craiglist and other free online advertising sites. Dedicate some time daily to repost your ads to the biggest sites and without a doubt, you’ll attract a lot of online interest in your listing.

Submit high-quality articles to travel blog sites and link them to your website. It is a brilliant method to improve your search engine rankings and power up your travel agency’s authority on travel.

The dominance of social media networks like Facebook and Twitter is amazing. Invite your friends and family to ‘like’ your travel agency on Facebook and follow you on Twitter. The more ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ you have the more confident people will feel about your business.

Hit Bull’s Eye through Article Marketing

Learn the importance of writing articles online. Look for professional writing services that can create quality content for your website. Let’s say your online travel agency specializes in family travel; the article writer must be able to craft appealing and keyword rich articles relating to family travel. Correct usage of keywords and phrases can give your website a high rank in the search engine results. A good content gets visitors to linger on your site, resulting to longer and more visits, higher search engine traffic, increased sales and social buzz. Your target is to have your website fall on the top five result on every major search engine. This greatly increases web traffic to your site, bringing you in countless of potential customers. And never ever forget to have your business information included in the body of the article.

You can never go wrong in article marketing. It is a win-win opportunity! You win by attracting more customers as you increase your travel agency exposure and your customers win because they gain knowledge from your superior quality content.