SEO to command majority of marketing budgets in travel

A joint study from Whatsonwhen and Travolution has found that search engine optimisation is picking up the lion’s share of any increases in the online marketing budget of a travel company over the next year.

Nearly 90 businesses across all sectors responded to the survey, which was carried out in July.

Search engine optimisation spend is being increased in over two-thirds of the companies which answered the question. Investment in content is on the up in half the businesses, while adword spend is on the up in 46% of cases.

The traditional banner ad has been under pressure recently, with the survey showing 21% of businesses actively reducing spend in this area.

However, overall budgets for online marketing are on the up, with more 50% planning to increase their spend with 32% keeping it level. Nearly 11% of respondents planned to increase their online marketing budget by over 50%.

The survey also confirms that travel businesses are recognising that the web site content is about generating revenue, with “increasing conversion” the top priority when spending on additional content. The second priority was to target specific customer sectors, with building their brand and improving the customer service coming in closely after that.

However, despite recent anecdotal evidence that video is starting to increase conversion rates, only 28% of responding businesses were investing here. One-third were planning to spend some of their content budget on facilitating user generated content.

Just over half the companies surveyed either already outsource their content (34.1%) or plan to (17.1%). The remainder (48.8%) plan to continue to service their content requirements in-house.

The businesses were circumspect about their customer acquisition costs. The average spend was £7.12 per customer, although the responses were spread over a wide range. Taking out the two businesses who said that they paid £25 and £40 per customer and the two who claimed a cost of £0.001, the average came down to £3.46.

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