Future-Proofing a Travel Agent During Global Restrictions with SEO

Bhutan & Beyond is a travel agency specialising in tours to Bhutan, Indian and surrounds. However, global travel restrictions meant they couldn't do what they do best. So, Localsearch put a plan in place to help them sustain their business. This is how.

About Bhutan & Beyond

Industry: Travel Agents
Location: Gold Coast (for Independent & Group Travel to Bhutan & Beyond).

Together, owners of Bhutan & Beyond, James and Nicola Irving, have more than 50 years of experience in the travel industry. In fact, their business is an official Australasian representative for Bhutan Tourism Corporation Limited (BTCL), Target Tours India and Intertours-Nepal.

This close relationship with BTCL, as well as James and Nicola’s own travels to Bhutan and surrounds mean travellers can get the most from their trip with a well-designed and researched itinerary. They can plan private and small group tours, as well as luxury experiences.

As experts in travelling to Bhutan, James and Nicola can help you organise everything from flights and hotels to activities and tour guides. With recent travel restrictions, they also know any and all requirements you may need to complete before you can safely enter Bhutan, India or Nepal.

It’s these restrictions that further strengthened James and Nicola’s relationship with Localsearch.

The Challenge of Being a Travel Agency During a Global Pandemic

In March 2020, Bhutan & Beyond received a sudden 85% decrease in website users from the month previous, following global travel restrictions.

Like any business owners, James and Nicola felt a sense of panic, with the instinct to pull their marketing budget.

Under the guidance of Localsearch’s search engine optimisation (SEO) experts, we recommended a strategy to not only increase their website traffic and brand presence, but also future-proof themselves against the unknown.

The Strategy

The natural instinct for most business owners when the pandemic hit was to save every dollar, including pulling their marketing. However, this is counterproductive if you’re still attempting to be found and continue operating.

So, step one of our strategy for Bhutan & Beyond was to re-align their strategy to meet new consumer queries to get them in front of people online.

Step 1: Strategy realignment.

Strategy realignment included:

  • Keyword analysis to find high-volume searches being performed relevant to Bhutan, international travel, etc.
  • Creation of new pages and content specific to above researched keywords.
  • Identifying content gaps competitors were not meeting.
  • Diversify content to meet consumers however they’re searching.
  • Update the business’s Google Business Profile with updates and news.

Step 2: The content strategy.

As part of Bhutan & Beyond’s COVID-future-proofing campaign, we utilised blogs and embedded YouTube videos answering the most frequently asked questions about travel during restrictions, particularly regarding Bhutan, Nepal and India (see below example).

Step 3: Securing the website against future Google updates.

Google was set to release several big algorithm updates in 2020 and 2021. Many were delayed, however, part of successful SEO is to always be prepared. This was a crucial part of the campaign.

Protecting Bhutan & Beyond against future Google updates included:

  • Improving the speed of the website.
  • Ensuring the website backend and plug-ins are kept up-to-date.
  • Removing any pop-ups.
  • Optimising images, content and page elements with relevant schema.
  • Implementing a strong heading structure.
  • Continuing to publish content on the website regularly, regardless of whether bookings could be made at the time.
  • Utilising forms to be able to notify interested consumers when they can look at booking trips.
  • Keeping the business’s Google Business Profile up to date to let Google know the business is open, operating and ready to help consumers.

And more.

The Results

With the change in keyword and content direction, Bhutan & Beyond were not only able to recoup their drop in website visitors experienced in March 2020, but increase their results. The work performed in 2020 and 2021 while their competitors took a break in their marketing meant a strong performance in 2022. Ultimately, this meant, despite a global travel shutdown, Bhutan & Beyond was able to come out of the pandemic stronger than before.

James Irving Bhutan & Beyond

From November 2021 to November 2022:

  • 443k+ organic Google impressions.
  • 5.5k+ organic website users.
  • 5.4k+ Google Business Profile views.
  • 1st position on search results for Tours to Bhutan from Australia.
  • 52% of all website traffic generated via organic search.

Want help with your search engine optimisation?

Localsearch is here to help with a future-proof SEO plan. Reach out to our digital marketing specialists to organise your free consultation. 

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