A lack of money is one of the biggest obstacles for individuals wanting to travel on programs abroad. Those who come from low-income households know the value money can hold—which can ultimately make or break their dreams of traveling abroad. Students coming from low-income households have gone their entire life facing hardships, carrying the weight of financial burdens on their shoulders, and have even had to give up their hopes just to make ends meet. Or, the student who has been working part-time to support his family since he was 12. If he’s not there, there might not be food on the table for his kid siblings.
How do we reach out, connect, and support these students in accomplishing their travel dreams rather than squash them?
As travel and international education program providers, it is our responsibility to make meaningful travel accessible and attainable to all. Use these four tips on how to better your marketing techniques to the low-income dreamer. Here’s how travel program providers can market to low income participants!
1. Show ‘em the $$$—Provide a scholarship directory
Funding is one of the largest obstacles for students looking to travel abroad since tuition, accommodation, transportation costs (and more) can be extremely overwhelming. However, many are highly unaware of the millions of dollars in scholarships available for those looking to travel abroad. The best way to show the love (and the $$$) is to set up a scholarship directory on your website! By providing this resource, you can counterague the idea that one has to be rich to go abroad.
Want to one up the directory? Start your own scholarship(s)! Set aside a portion of your budget to assist those in financial need. Maybe even get creative and have applicants submit a piece of writing or video entry? Or maybe have winners blog or vlog throughout their program abroad (and use these pieces for your social media or website)! Whatever the case may be, we’re here to help and support your goal. Take a look at GoAbroads scholarship directory for ideas and inspiration on things you can add to your own database.
2. Recommend budgeting resources and tools
Guides, articles, videos—opportunities are endless when it comes to creating resources to help low income participants overcome financial barriers and make meaningful travel accessible! Besides a scholarship directory, have team-members create a series of content to help potential participants budget and save for their programs abroad. Maybe even create a budgeting calculator or direct them to one that’s already been made (like Yale’s study abroad calculator). The more tools you offer, the more hope you will give to future participants that are worried about cash flow!
Make sure to add in some of your own recommendations too. Here are some to get you started:
- Download apps like Mint or You Need A Budget (YNAB) to keep track of all of your accounts
- Open a savings account
- Start a FundmyTravel account & raise money
- Avoid breaking into your piggy bank account
- Check out GoAbroad’s collection of budget tips
**Note: If coming from a low-income household, have your participants ask themselves these questions to make sure that traveling on a program abroad is best suited for them (or so they can at least start implementing financial strategies in advance):
- Does the majority of my income go towards supporting my family?
- Will my family’s financial well-being be affected while I am abroad?
- Can my family find other means of assistance (welfare, church, etc)?
- How much do I have to save so that I can keep assisting my family, while still being able to travel abroad?
3. Re-optimize pages on your website for new keywords
Your future participants are using Google to research and vet programs—there’s just no way around it. So, when a recruit is Googling options for low-cost programs, you’re going to want your program to rise to the top and hit that number one result! Make meaningful travel accessible and Improve your SEO game by rephrasing (some, not necessarily all of) your titles and meta-descriptions to tailor to low income participants. If you’re not game for doing this sitewide, consider creating new landing pages that cater to their unique needs.
Incorporate keywords like “affordable,” “low-cost,” “cheap,” etc. so that your programs will appear even more in search. Lucky for you, Google has increased the number of characters allowed in meta-descriptions—So instead of re-wording, you can just add on!
Sources like Moz will help you with SEO marketing and give you cool resources to implement with your own tactics. These little things are what will get your programs really noticed (and found by low income participants) in today’s digital age.
A word of warning: Don’t use this tactic to be scammy or not as click-bait from SERPs. Back up your claims of low cost programs by actually offering low cost programs or sharing extensive resources to alleviate the costs of your programs.
4. Share stories from other travelers in similar circumstances, and how they made it happen✨
Throw them some inspo! Inspiration is the key for all future travelers, regardless of socioeconomic background (and it always will be). From motivational TedTalks to cheesy Instagram posts, inspiration is what drives us to achieve our goals. By seeing others overcome the same situations we were in, we are given a sense of hope that we too can achieve anything. Which is why your organization should focus on motivating cashbound travelers and spreading the message that it is possible to travel abroad by utilizing real stories from past participants.
To do so, focus on attaining first hand experiences from those who have already gone abroad (and overcame financial challenges). Collect video interviews, blogs, articles, and quotes that can be re-posted and shared. Encountering first-hand experiences from others will give dreamers the push they need to believe that programs abroad are achievable! Sources tend to be even more reliable when they come from real people with similar backgrounds. Maybe even throw in a little #MotivationMonday on your Insta accounts to really set the mood. 🙌🏼
All people—regardless of income—deserve to travel
Using these four tips will help you break into that wanderlustin’ low-income traveler market. In turn, those dreamers will see that having a less-than-generous-budget was always just a minor setback in their past (and not a representation of their future). From then on, a revelation will begin and more people from diverse backgrounds will make their way into the travel market. Be part of the change and show even low income travelers that where there is a will—there’s always a way! 💪
That’s how you travel program providers can market to low income travelers.