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  • Writer's picturePru Goudie

Marketing - top tips on how to push the 'reset button' and inspire customer confidence!

By Pru Goudie

SEO, Paid advertising, website development - marketing departments well and truly took a hit during the pandemic. But as companies start to find their feet again, how do you press the reset button to get customers confident in your brand and generate those much-needed sales.

During an ATN22 Conference panel session, introduced by Pippa Jacks, Group Editor of TTG Media, we welcomed Matt Ilston and Matt Cook from Mr Zen and Tom Dunn from Wild Dog Design to give us an insight on how travel marketers can get back on their feet.

Here are some of the top takeaways.

Image from Left to Right: Matt Cook, Tom Dunn and Matt Ilston

Increased customer expectations in regards to digital experience

All of our panelists agreed that digital experience was key in resetting marketing for travel brands. Tom highlighted that whilst overall website traffic during the pandemic was down, people are spending more time significantly browsing and viewing more pages.

People are taking their research seriously and looking for reassurance when booking a trip. This means your website needs to be a forefront to focus on for marketing in 2022 and onwards.

“Customers are looking for a smooth digital experience, especially on mobile” Matt Cook, Mr Zen.

Tom Dunn at Wild Dog Design agreed, adding:

“From a first impression point of view, it’s crucial to remember that this now predominantly happens on mobile - desktop comes in later at the serious decision-making time. Think carefully about your mobile first impression. It’s a small canvas compared to a laptop or desktop, but gives people a reason to dig deeper and not hide behind confusing mobile navigation.”

Matt highlighted the importance of clear trust signals on your site. This includes legitimate reviews for new customers so they can understand your product and your brand.

In the past travel companies have struggled with digital integrations, especially between website and booking systems. However, Matt Ilston spoke about the growing technology landscape.

“There are far more integration opportunities available. A new breed of SaaS tools are available which can help with managing and taking bookings, automation and even accountancy”

Tom’s key takeaway to the digital experience was work backwards. Find the customer 'pain points' and fix them. For instance your passengers should not be waiting 6 days for a quote to come through. This should be an instant digital response after the initial search on your website.

What to spend your marketing budget on?

With budgets lean it is important to direct the budget into the right tools for the job. In terms of customer acquisition it’s vitally important to “tailor your messages, mix up email content, increase online reputation and use email automation”. Matt Cook gave us a breakdown of some of the top areas your budget can make a difference.

Images from Left to Right: Pippa Jacks, ATN23 Conference Audience, Matt Illston


Paid ads are still important for businesses bouncing back. Matt highlighted how Google ads are really good to test the current market, testing specific destinations for people actively searching with your keywords. Other top takeaways include bidding for keywords with clear conversion and intent and using PPC display to increase brand awareness as well as remarketing to those who have come to your site and left.

Social media

Social may have become more quiet during the pandemic, but it is important to keep those pages alive. Share content and keep your brand in the forefront of your customer’s minds. Paid ads are a useful tool to push distressed products - last minute deals or trips that need to be prioritised. Generally Facebook advertising is cheaper than Google


53% of traffic to travel companies is still coming from organic traffic. SEO is a sustainable strategy, not an immediate sales tool. It should be a long term effort, not a quick fix. The key is to internally if possible, improve on site content and then use experts selectively for performance (speed for example)

Quality of SEO content is key. Tailor your content behind the intent of the search query. Create content that compliments your tours and answers questions. Publish content regularly before pushing on social and focus first on high traffic landing pages.

Optimise content to make sure you aren’t just offering your product (we go here / we do this) but are offering inspiration (showing you have the expertise), and useful reassuring content, as this is a much bigger need since pre-pandemic.”

Mobile site speed - travel businesses often have complex search functions but mobile speed will determine page ranking. Optimise your site and spend on development if needed.

Link building from external sources is still key. PR activity can complement this, but the main takeaway is the quality of the referring domain.

Want to hear more from the experts?

Matt Cook & Matt Ilston would be happy to talk more about their website and reservations tool Mr Zen/Rez Kit.

Website -

Tom Dunn welcomes new clients wanting to talk about Wild Dog Design / Wild Dog Canvas, a tool generating travel proposals as an instant microsite.

The next Adventure Travel Networking Conference & Marketplace will take place on

21 & 23 February 2023 as a hybrid event.

Register your interest HERE

Pru Goudie, Founder


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