A travel website has revealed that search engine optimisation (SEO) and social networking campaigns have led to increased sales and a more inclusive online experience.

According to Vnunet.com STA Travel, a student and gap year-based agency with a strong online presence, internet marketing has been crucial to business – with over 80 per cent of their customers now starting their relationship with the company online.

Craig Hepburn, head of e-commerce strategy at STA Travel said: "We have developed user-generated blogs where people can talk about their travels and review hotels, beaches and bars," he said.

He added that this content has not only created a way for the company website to build on features such as Google maps to offer more services to their customers but has also increased the number of visits they receive from potential clients.

"User-generated content is also fantastic for [SEO], it puts us at the top of searches," he said.

A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses said earlier this year that online advertising had now reached a point where companies relying on customers stumbling upon their site were losing out on a significant amount of business.

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