Travel Marketing 101: Develop your website around the audience you want to engage. Speak to your audience’s interests through website layout, media, and content.

While all travel retailers want to compel site visitors to complete a booking, the student and youth travel (SYT) market approaches your website with certain goals in mind for their trip. For them, travel is:

  • A form of learning
  • A way to get in touch with other cultures
  • A means of personal development

Successful student and youth travel marketing will acknowledge these goals on the website and consistently match leads with their ideal adventure. Less than half of all travel website visitors click to a second page. Online travel vendors and agencies need to learn how to connect to the next generation of educators and families.

In particular, there are three aspects of your website that you can optimize for student and youth travel marketing: information architecture, adventure profiles, and search functions.

In our context, information architecture is the way you organize content on your website. Strong information architecture will increase site engagement and ROI by guiding different audiences to their correct conversion point.

Every SYT site visitor holds the overall travel goals mentioned above. Yet, each user also has immediate goals dependent on who they are — an educator, a parent, or a student.

In the example below, Global Works identified their two main site visitor personas:global-works-homepages

  • Students and educators researching planned teen summer service adventures
  • Educators, administrators, and private groups looking for custom experiential learning opportunities

Tailored website structure allows you to speak directly to different audience segments and personas. For the Global Works website, specialized home pages were designed for each segment. These home pages were supplemented with sub-pages, copy, and media that spoke directly to each audience.

Teen Service Adventure                  Custom SYT Group Travel

Create adventure profiles that sell the experience – i.e. the goals of each trip and what it can provide the traveler.

All travel websites include some key components on ‘destination’ pages:

  • Photography/videographyglobal-works-adventure-profile
  • A summary of the area
  • Accommodation information
  • Travel and itinerary information and tips
  • Optional add-ons

When marketing to the SYT audience, you need to adjust the importance of some components. Your destination pages should be Adventure Profiles with:

  • Highlighted photography and videography that draws attention to the cultural aspects of the location and potential experiences along the trip
  • Information that focuses on the goals of the trip and how it relates to service, education, or self-development

Global Works developed Adventure Profiles by relying on their media library and traveler stories. These destination pages offered SYT visitors insight into the meaning and purpose of every trip.

Search functions on travel sites are crucial. Travel consumers rely on intuitive filters when researching trips, and they greatly increase site engagement. However, 47% of US travelers are still frustrated by the online experience.  

Speak to the needs of your SYT audience. Traditional search functions are not enough; the student and youth travel market has concerns beyond departure dates or locations. They want to be able to filter by the experience they’re going to have.

Think on your offerings and separate them by these experiences. In the example below, Global Works identified and tagged each of their summer service trips with a unique “focus”:

  • Conservation and Ecologyglobal-works-adventure-finder
  • Enrichment
  • French Immersion
  • Global Action
  • Language Immersion
  • Pre-Med / Public Health
  • Spanish Immersion

Separately, custom group travelers were able to filter programs by “themes”:

  • Conservation and Ecology
  • History & Culture
  • Language Immersion
  • Service Learning
  • Social Justice & Action

Strategic execution is required in every aspect of travel marketing, no matter the niche. Take a closer look at how we helped Global Works engage their audience. Reach out to us below to talk about your digital marketing plan and what we can do to help.

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