As marketers, we always have to be reactive to what is happening in the wider world to generate interest and success from content marketing campaigns. The current Coronavirus pandemic is no different – since lockdown, we are seeing an increase in search across the internet.
We’re seeing a surge in those researching around the virus; Google itself gave a great example of amending its marketing strategy due to an increase in Covid-19-related searches. It has launched a corona-virus hub looking at search-related terms.
There are many ways that us as brands can adapt our strategy, because the data suggests that people are still actively purchasing online. However, we also have a responsibility to be sensitive to what is happening in the world while advertising our services and products. Here’s how brands can adapt their current marketing strategy to stay afloat.
1.Honesty is the best policy
We are not living in the same world as we were six months ago. Consumers have different fears around making a purchase, and honesty has never been more vital for brands to build rapport with them.
We need to make customers aware of the changes the pandemic may have to your service. It could be longer delivery times, lower stock or even a change in business hours. This can be done effectively by creating a banner that either lets your users know what changes have been made or links to a dedicated page.
Some examples of travel brands using this can be seen below:
2. Dedicated FAQ pages
As well as being honest in your approach, it’s important to consider further questions your customers may have. These are unprecedented times where no question is a stupid question. Clearly, it is not viable for businesses to put all of their resource into answering every question, but it’s worth putting together an FAQ section or dedicated Coronavirus page where your customers can get the information they need. It will also prevent your business being overloaded with requests.
Royal Mail provides a great example of this.
3. Be reactive to changes in search
It’s important from a business standpoint to be reactive to the market. One of the things I’ve noticed across my clients is an increase in desktop users. Now that we’re in lockdown, we are no longer on the move and searching as we have been, and this seems to have led to a change in the devices we use.
Many brands are optimising their sites for desktop due to many of their users using this platform. I’d recommend the following:
4. Adapt your offering
Many companies have changed their offering to make their service and product more viable for customers given the current Government guidance over social distancing.
From my time working in London, I was a big fan of a stall in Westfield that specialised in cookie dough. They’ve since created a dough that customer can have delivered to their homes and bake in their own kitchens. Customers can then create the experience from the safety of their own home. Their campaign used the hashtag #BakeItYourself.
This is just one example of how brands can adapt their offering. Personal trainers are now turning to home-video workouts for their clients to keep their businesses going.
5. Be selfless in your approach
Since the arrival of COVID-19, we have seen some thousands of amazing gestures to help those who are in need. From the Run 5 Donate 5 Nominate 5 initiative to Captain Tom Moore, the war veteran who has raised millions for the NHS. We are seeing inspiring stories daily and many of these gestures are coming from businesses. LinkedIn is full of professionals offering free advice and services as many businesses are experiencing hard times.
As a final thought, have a think about how you might be able to help the wider community. Any gesture has the potential to form strong business relationships and provide future clients.
Author: Michael Ryan is an SEO consultant based in Essex. His approach is to provide ROI-led transparent SEO consultancy.
The travel industry is constantly developing and has to move in tandem with consumers changing attitudes and behaviours – and this makes it hard to know what next year will hold. Content marketing is a driving force in inspiring people to travel, and marketers are well adept to helping shape future trends. From eco-friendly travel to family holidays, let's look at six trends to watch out for in 2020.
It’s estimated that roughly half of the UK and US workforce will be freelance by 2020 and there now are more children homeschooled, which helps contribute to an increase in family-holiday bookings. This should lead to families being in a position to take more frequent holidays. Ian Crawford, a representative of Holiday Hypermarket, says: ‘Parents will take advantage of the flexibility that freelancing and homeschooling offers, and will look to go on more holidays as a family. This presents holiday companies with a great opportunity to offer tailored family holidays.’
In an unforeseen but clever move, homeware brands are now getting involved in the travel industry by opening hotels. One of the first to do this is Made.com, which opened its own MADE hotel in Manhattan in 2017 and a boutique Boathouse hotel in London in 2018. The success of the two will pave way for more homeware businesses to open their own hotels – and giving the chance to showcase their products to customers.
People are now seeing travel having a level of personal fulfilment – a recent survey showed that more than half of respondents said that their trip taught them valuable life skills. People are now wanting to experience a level of personal fulfilment when they travel and are often wanting to learn life skills and experience the local culture. Couple this with an increase in interest for volunteering, personal fulfilment while travelling will be something people look for and should be considered if you’re a travel company.
As the number of solo travellers increases, airports have begun to find ways to make passenger journeys easier. Dublin Airport discovered that the majority of passengers coming through the airport were solo travellers, and decided to find an initiative that would make solo travel easier – Bus & Fly. As the solo travel segment gets bigger, airports, holiday suppliers, hotels and more can find their own ways to serve this portion of travellers better.
Although solo travel has been on the rise, it can be quite lonely – this is because finding good, cheap accommodation such as hostels and Airbnbs often means having to stay outside city centres. WeLive (a sister company of WeWork) now has apartments aimed at connecting solo travellers with each other through co-living, joint activities and relaxing common areas. You can stay there for a couple of nights or even a couple of months – the focus is on creating a social atmosphere.
With more travellers wanting to make more sustainable travel decisions, travel-related businesses will want to keep this in mind. The majority of travellers have indicated that this motivation will have an impact on how they travel, so the industry will need to align themselves with this viewpoint. If not, there could be tough times ahead for those not willing to keep up with the growing trend of eco-friendly travel.
As traveller attitudes and behaviour and the global environment changes, it’s key for the travel industry to keep up. These five travel trends to watch out for are some of the largest, but only time will tell if there are any others to be wary of.
Check out WooContent's video marketing services and see how we can take your travel brand to the next level.
Online product descriptions are one of the most important features of your e-commerce arsenal. They have the power to hook in prospective customers and answer any questions they might have, differentiate you from other companies selling the same or similar items, and they can bolster your SEO performance. Think of them as your digital salesperson, whose charm, knowledge and helpfulness might give potential customers the final push they need into purchasing.
Using generic, bland descriptions just doesn't cut it in today's competitive e-commerce marketplace, so follow our top tips on how to write the perfect product descriptions and see increased sales success.
If you're short on time or resource, lack the experience in-house, or maybe just don't know where to start with your product-description writing, a copywriting agency can help. Writing persuasive descriptions designed to sell the product benefits and drive people to purchase will be second nature to their staff. Plus they'll have years of experience across multiple sectors, giving them the ability to get under the skin of your customers with wording that's memorable and compelling.
If you're tackling product descriptions yourself, put yourself in your customers' shoes. Who are they? What are they looking for? How can your description help them, enlighten them and persuade them to buy? Try working with your colleagues and using your customer data to develop personas of your customer base. This will help you tailor your product content so it resonates with the people who matter most to your business. 71% of companies who outperform their revenue and lead goals have documented personas, so it's a great place to start.
If you use duplicated or similar product descriptions on your website, search engines will not be happy when they come to index your website. It can confuse them and disrupt your rankings. Make sure that both descriptions and product titles are different for every product you sell. If you've got lots of products and not much time to write unique descriptions, you can add a no-index tag to your page to tell the search engines to skip the content for now.
Including keywords in your product description is important, especially for search engines. When your prospective customers search online for your products, you need your pages to rise up against your competitors with high rankings. Avoid keyword stuffing in the body copy but be sure to include any keywords in your page title, headlines and sub-headings. Getting your on-page SEO right can be easy to accomplish, and it's well worth investing the time and effort into doing so.
Do not underestimate the power of your product descriptions. As you can see from these top tips, they can be your key to converting customers and increasing your search-engine visibility, helping grow your brand awareness and prospective customer base. They might seem a simple, throwaway feature of your product landing pages, but the more you refine and perfect them, the higher your sale conversion rates will be.
Get in touch with WooContent today to find out how we can support you with writing the perfect product description.
Communicating your brand, proposition and key messages to your audience has never been so important. People are inundated with marketing messages on a daily basis and choice between brands is more competitive than ever, so making your content stand out with fantastic copywriting is key to winning brand preference – and, ultimately, new and repeat business.
You also have to make sure that your copywriting combines creative, engaging writing with SEO best practice. This ensures that when your potential customers search for your products, services and brand online, your web pages will rise above the ranks to beat the competition and generate valuable web traffic that could convert to leads and sales.
Follow our five killer SEO copywriting tricks to make sure that your content is searchable, visible and engaging enough to drive business growth.
Working with a copywriting agency is a surefire way to create first-class content with an SEO twist, especially if you don't have the resource or experience in-house. Agencies combine years of experience with talent, creative flair and technical know-how, plus they know how to get under the skin of your audience to craft content that will resonate and provide value. Plus they'll be up-to-date with emerging SEO trends and algorithm updates, giving you a competitive advantage over your competitors.
If you're taking matters into your own hands, make sure your website content is as search-engine-friendly as possible. This includes knowing your target keywords and ensuring they flow throughout your body copy and page tags. SEO guru Moz has a really useful resource to help you check off all the key on-page elements.
Three key KPIs for your copywriting should be engagement, shareability and search-engine rankings. All of these will be impacted by whether you display your content in a mobile-friendly manner. Plus research shows that 61% of local searches will contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly website. As page-load times increase from one second to five, the probability of someone leaving your website without going any further increases by 90%. Is your website mobile responsive? Does your copy load quickly, without being slowed down by clunky images and videos? Deliver your content quickly and simply on mobile, and both your customers and search engines will take your work much more seriously.
You might have crafted your most engaging, optimised piece of content yet, but if your headline is weak, people will not click though to view it. This is true for your search-engine listing, social media posts, paid media and email campaigns. Research suggests that including numbers and making them unequivocally clear can vastly improve click-through rates.
Every audience is looking for the same thing: a clear, simple experience that is useful, answers their questions and adds relevant value. Google uses copy readability as a ranking factor, meaning that your copywriting has to combine compelling creativity with a clear narrative that leads to a call-to-action. Headlines, sub-headings, bullet points and consistent formatting can all help your audience and search-engine bots consume and understand your copywriting easily.
These five killer SEO copywriting tricks are by no means exhaustive, but they are a great starting point for any brand with an online presence. Don't underestimate the power of combining great copywriting with search engine optimisation – get started today and watch success against your key SEO, engagement and conversion metrics soar.
Get in touch with WooContent today to find out more about our SEO copywriting services.
Writing a blog might seem pretty simple and in theory, it is, unless you want it to become one of the most read examples on the internet. That takes certain skills and excellent copywriting ability, so which are the most popular as of 2019 and how do they keep their readers’ attention?
Despite the name, it’s not only business that's written about on this all-encompassing blog. Covering tech, finance, politics and general-interest stories, Business Insider aims to offer a no-nonsense overview of what's happening in the world and the formatting further amplifies its unfluffy approach to current affairs.
2017 was a record year for views for owner Henry Blodget and his team and the success of the blog is intrinsically connected to a comprehensive complementary social media presence. Using Facebook and Instagram to showcase interesting new articles, followers click through to the blog in their droves and fellow bloggers regularly link to the site as well, creating new traffic streams.
Covering the full spectrum of human interest, The Verge was founded in 2011 in a bid to bring technology news to the masses, with easy-to-read and enjoyable articles that demonstrated how new innovations impact on everyday life. In order to stand out from the crowd in a saturated blogosphere, The Verge has been a multimedia project from the start, featuring editorial pieces alongside video content and podcasts.
Having branched out into entertainment reporting, the easy-to-navigate blog has become a daily favourite with an enormous audience that doesn’t want to scour numerous sites to find out everything that’s happening. The straightforward article titles are a breath of fresh air in a pun-driven online world as well.
It’s a digital world, and TechCrunch has leapt at the opportunity to report on all things technology based. While there are a number of simplistic articles included, those with technological know-how benefit most from TechCrunch's blog and keep coming back for informative reviews, editorials and announcements.
Founded in 2005, this was one of the first blogs to talk in detail, about tech start-ups and where they sourced their funding from, leading to a niche place in the blogosphere and interest from AOL, which eventually purchased TechCrunch in 2010 for US$25 million. It continues to build its audience through reliable daily reporting and the popular TechCrunch Disrupt annual conference.
Still touting itself as a ‘men’s fashion, lifestyle and fitness’ publication, the GQ blog enjoys popularity across the board, thanks to its forward-thinking approach to traffic-inducing editorials. The popularity of the blog stems from the sleek look of the magazine, originally founded in the 1930s and enjoying a considerable legacy on high-street shelves, being available daily and via any electronic device.
Alongside light-hearted interest pieces such as 'The 100 albums you need to own', readers can also find good old-fashioned hard-hitting journalism and surprising editorials. Just this year, the GQ Awards, which traditionally recognise men who have accomplished excellence, named Greta Thunberg, the teenage, female, Swedish activist as ‘Game Changer of the Year’. Gone are the scantily clad model pictures – in their place are engaging editorials, men’s fashion and grooming tips for skincare-savvy gentlemen.
Targeting a young female audience, Refinery29 was founded with a mission to educate and inspire in equal measure, while delivering exceptional editorials and inspiring storytelling. It’s a high mantle but the blog has cornered the market thanks to an inclusive vibe and a desire to be truly diverse, all since 2005.
Offering colourful fashion stories, uplifting life editorials and beauty-myth debunker, Refinery29 has become both a little slice of daily escapism and a reliable source of female-relevant news. It also uses social media to further bolster its loyal reader numbers; a quick look at its Instagram page reveals a cacophony of colours, body shapes and empowering slogans.
At one time, there might have been a clearer gender divide between the most-read blogs, with ‘mum blogs’ proving exceptionally popular, but today, business, tech and general lifestyle sites are reigning supreme. Perhaps this represents a shift in gender roles and attitudes or even the ages of audiences, but whatever the reason, there’s something oddly satisfying about tech blogs being the most read, on the internet, via electronic devices. How meta.
Good content is a powerful weapon that has the ability to make extensive audiences engage with you and your business, while keeping you at the forefront of potential customers’ minds. Bad content, on the other hand, will make you a permanent fixture in the minds of discerning readers for all the wrong reasons.
Read on to find out which cardinal sins of editorial creation make for the worst content, and, most importantly, what you can do to avoid them harming a carefully crafted outreach strategy.
A shockingly prevalent issue, poor readability can make the most fascinating article slip by totally unnoticed. You'll see extraneous pauses and sentences that go on forever, leaving you out of breath when you’re only reading in your head. This isn’t a spelling and grammar issue, either, just a simple case of a writer not expressing themselves in a fluid and natural way.
The solution: use a readability checker. There are numerous free-to-use sites online that will assess a piece of content and give it a readability score, to let you know you’re on the right track. Think of it as a spellcheck with extra gusto.
It’s easy to assume the best content is content that reaches the biggest audience, but if you alienate the actual target demographic chasing meaningless numbers, the quality of the piece will be compromised. Better to be read, shared and engaged with by relevant people than skimmed, clicked off or ignored by the masses.
The solution: think carefully about content placement. Niche blogs might see less traffic, but it will be meaningful. Plus, a slow burn in terms of shares, reposts and backlinks can prove infinitely more beneficial than trending for 30 minutes.
No content writer can be an expert in every single subject, regardless of how much they claim to be a master of all trades. Ignorance shows. No award-winning content has ever been created after a perfunctory skim of a Wikipedia page, so don’t think you’ll be the first to get away with putting in minimum research and zero effort.
The solution: factor in research time for every piece of content so it can be written with genuine knowledge and interest at its core. Key audiences will be able to tell the difference and are more likely to share something that resonates with their own experiences.
Have you ever noticed that everybody seems to be a writer these days? While most people can cobble something legible together, it takes a particular set of skills to craft succinct, powerful copy – and for that, you have to pay. Using budgets as an excuse for amateur material just doesn't cut it in today’s competitive content market.
The solution: hire a professional. It might cost you more, but you’ll have to deal with fewer rewrites and will usually have assurances of getting a piece of work you're happy with.
Rule number one of content writing has to be never to rely on spellcheck software. There are a host of things that could trip you up, from predictive text settings through to the wrong dictionary being active on your publishing software – who hasn’t been caught out by US English?
The solution: get in the habit of properly proofreading any and all content. By taking the time to read through an article more than once, you’ll get a feel for the rhythm, flow and tone of the piece, allowing any ‘sore thumb’ words and phrases to be deleted. You’ll also get to recognise which words you frequently misspell and recurrent grammar issues.
When is a cliché not a cliché? When it’s a universal truth. The adage of ‘quality over quantity’ can be applied to countless aspects of life, but especially content creation. Don’t use 1,000 words when 100 will do, and never chase word counts, as it will dilute your words and undermine their value.
The solution: get your key points written down and fleshed out, then go back and see if you can embellish a little more. If you’ve made your point, have great readability and your grammar is on point, why try to fix what isn’t broken?
The crux of the matter here is to create with intuition. Write as though you’re having a discussion with an expert on your subject matter and you want to impress them. Forget word counts and jargon and concentrate on producing honest, good content that resonates with the right people.
Looking to improve your content? Get in touch with WooContent today to find out how we can help you.
One man’s trash is another’s treasure, which is why there have been some seriously odd insurance policies taken out in the past. Talking about the weird and wonderful types of insurance helps to put the more everyday policies into perspective. Plus, they’re a little bit of fun – how many of these have you heard before?
From particularly fine moustaches to unofficial trademark chest hair, people have been insuring their follicles for plenty of money for decades. Perhaps the most insane policy was that of Tom Jones, who covered his chest hair for a whopping $7,000,000. It didn’t help his singing, but it played enough of a role in his persona to warrant a premium.
Certain celebrities are known for their fantastic bodies and Jennifer Lopez was the original ‘curvy-bottomed’ superstar. Protecting her main asset, she took out an insurance policy for $27,000,000 to ensure that any loss of earnings incurred by a change to her derriere, not as a result of her own doing, would be covered.
They don’t get much weirder than this. Alien abduction insurance, which pays out $1 a year, for a million years, has not only been taken out, but at least two successful claims have been made as well. We assume it’s to cover the space and time difference, or maybe the aftermath of any tests that are carried out…?
Babies are a blessing, but more than one appears to be a nightmare for some expectant mothers, who take out multiple-birth insurance. Yes, that’s right. If a mother has been told that she’s having just one baby by a medical professional, and more pop out, she can claim on her policy, ensuring some money to cover the extra costs. Is it paid per child, we wonder?
As of 2019, the average cost of a wedding in London is nearly £25,000, which is why an increasing number of brides and grooms to be are taking out ‘jilted’ insurance. The weird part about these policies is that many policyholders don’t tell their betrothed about the premium, even of the day goes ahead. What a great way to start a marriage, with a huge secret and a lack of faith!
Confidence in one’s abilities is great, but a UK comedy troupe took things a bit far when they got themselves insured against ‘death by laughter’. They were genuinely convinced that they were so funny that an audience member could die from laughing too hard and they didn’t want to be sued if it happened. What a joke.
Winning the lottery is a dream held by many a work syndicate, but employers have seen the potential pitfalls of a mass resignation and taken out lottery win insurance. The premium is designed to cover the costs of hiring replacement staff and temporary team members in the event of a win.
Actually, it’s more like legs $2.2 million in Heidi Klum’s case. As a world-famous supermodel, she insured her pins against damage and mutilation in case she couldn’t work again, but the really weird part is that one is insured for more than the other – the reason is that her left leg already has a small scar on it.
If a food critic loses the ability to taste, they are, essentially, out of a job, which is why the late Egon Ronay had his taste buds insured for $400,000. The premium would pay out if he had accidentally eaten a dish so spicy that his tongue was irreversibly damaged, or harmed in any other way.
The Rolling Stones might be ageing rockers now, but Keith Richards hasn’t mellowed in his later years. Determined to always be able to use his middle finger to express his disdain for certain people and actions, he has insured it for $1.6 million. If at any point he can’t extend and accompany it with some choice words, he can make a claim.
Celebrities do seem to have cornered the market in bizarre insurance policies, but everybody can protect themselves from, near enough, anything. It all comes down to finding an insurance company with either a good sense of humour or the ability to gauge a genuine risk – regardless of how unusual.
E-commerce has become a necessary tool in the fight for market share and profitability, but not enough companies understand how this burgeoning shopping trend can boost physical sales. That’s all about to change, however – and here are 20 key E-commerce statistics you need to know.
1.18% of all purchases made in the UK in 2019 are expected to be via E.commerce.
Put into understandable terms, that means that almost a quarter of all sales will be made online, instead of in a physical store. It begs the question, will shops become obsolete?
2. The percentage of purchases made online is expected to rise to 95% by 2040.
Experts are predicting that in just 21 years, shopping in any way other than online will be all but a thing of the past. It’s true that we are a convenience-driven society, but that’s a huge shift in purchasing behaviour.
3. 67% of online shoppers acquaint themselves with returns policies before clicking ‘buy’.
If you think your Ts and Cs page isn’t important, think again. Shoppers like to know how easy it is to return an unsuitable purchase before taking the plunge.
4. 38% of people won’t buy from an ‘ugly’ website.
Design counts, so do your research and try to understand the aesthetics that your key demographics are drawn to. Investing in expert web design is an investment that you can expect to make a return on.
5. Two-thirds of online shoppers expect a 24-hour response to inquiries.
Actually, most will be disappointed to not receive a reply within the same business day, so either have enough support staff in place to handle demand or include a clear message about response times on your contact page.
6. 77% of adult shoppers have bought something online.
From car insurance to ski boots, there’s seemingly nothing that you can’t buy online – and UK adults are increasingly taking advantage of that fact.
7. 85% of online purchases are started on one device and finished on another.
The most likely scenario is that an advert on social media leads to a clickthrough, but larger pictures are needed, so the purchase is completed on a desktop or laptop computer. Mobile optimisation is crucial.
8. 71% of mobile purchases can be connected to electronic mailouts.
Retailer newsletters have a massive impact on a consumer’s decision to buy, or not. Knowledge is (spending) power.
9. 57% of mobile consumers leave slow-loading sites.
Patience is a virtue but not to mobile shoppers who want to click a couple of buttons and wait for their package to arrive. Slow sites are off-putting.
10. Up to 70% of shopping baskets are abandoned.
Whether shoppers get distracted, dislike shipping rates or simply change their mind, you need to find a way to turn an unsure customer into a repeat one.
11. 54% of abandoned baskets are seen through to purchase if a discount is offered.
Companies that email a discount code for the contents of ‘forgotten baskets’ see an impressive rate of sales conversions.
12. 23% of customers will abandon a basket if they have to create an account.
If there is no ‘checkout as guest’ option, almost a quarter of shoppers will go elsewhere for a faster and less invasive experience.
13. Welcome emails can lead to a 40% open rate.
Customers who are sent a personalised welcome email, after opening an account, are far more likely to open future email correspondence.
14. 80% of shoppers find email recommendations helpful.
Demonstrating an understanding of what customers will most likely enjoy helps to build brand trust and loyalty.
15. 20% of online marketing uses behavioural targeting.
This is a staggeringly small percentage, given how responsive shoppers are to a more personal approach. This is a prime opportunity to stand out for good reasons.
16. 93% of businesses have witnessed increased sales conversions through personalised marketing.
Something as innocuous as an email newsletter that is addressed to someone specifically could be the difference between a sale and an abandoned basket.
17. 50% of shoppers are more likely to shop with a company again if it sends targeted discounts.
This is particularly true when it comes to grocery shopping, with the increase in plant-based and specialist diets that aren’t usually covered by generic discount vouchers.
18. It costs seven times more to win a new customer than keeping an existing one.
This is worth thinking about when considering introductory offers for new customers only. Consider rewarding loyalty, too.
19. 18% of businesses dedicate time to customer retention.
A simple ‘checking your details’ or ‘we’d value your feedback’ email could go a long way to making a one-time customer a repeat one.
20. Millennials are leading the way by making 54% of their purchases online.
There’s most likely a correlation between social media adverts and online purchases here, giving you an idea of where to spend your marketing money.
There’s no escaping the fact that the E.commerce sector is growing stronger, but will you be enjoying a significant portion of it or ignoring these statistics and getting left behind? Using them as a jumping off point for a dedicated marketing strategy all but guarantees a significant upturn in your E.commerce fortune.
In certain circles, cruising has garnered a reputation for being something of an older-person’s holiday option, but taking an objective look at what a break on the water can offer reveals that it is so much more.
Forget what you think you know about cruises and you might just discover that they are the perfect holiday choice for most, if not all of us.
Modern travel marketing has taken an interesting turn. While there is still a huge amount of fantastic writing, coming from a place of genuine experience and interest, social media has leapt in to take holiday promotions to a new level.
Instagram has been particularly useful for the cruising world, with travel influencers posting pictures of incredible sights, irresistible food and stunning cabins, all while topping up those picture-perfect tans or wrapping up in the latest must-have outdoor gear. This might sound like a superficial motivation for boarding a luxury liner, but with holiday bragging a serious cause of jealousy on social media, travellers of all ages are trying to get THE picture that will make strangers follow them and friends mute their feeds. Selfies in the Norwegian fjords, sunbathing on the deck and sailing into the Caribbean, all hashtagged #wishyouwerehere and #wanderlust, are proving that cruising is still a popular holiday choice.
Back in the day, cruise excursions were a little less imaginative than they are now. You’d pull into port, jump onto dry land and spend a few hours seeing all the expected tourist sights and, if you were lucky, maybe a market. Today, things are radically more interesting, with scenic and cultural shore excursions allowing cruisers to see as much of every country as possible.
Many cruises are meticulously planned to allow passengers the maximum amount of time on dry land, if they wish to leave the comfort of their cabins. Pulling into port early in the morning, liners are emptied as curious cruisers head out into new cities to get a feel for the local charm and they now spend all day exploring. Booking ahead can open up even more experiences, such as local cooking classes, 4x4 tours and tables at the most exclusive restaurants, but that’s not to say that a lazy day or two on a new beach isn’t a worthwhile pursuit, too.
If the idea of wandering around the same deck for days or even weeks sounds like your idea of holiday hell, that’s because you missed the memo about all the entertainment aboard the best liners now. There’s more to cruising than just sun loungers and shuffleboard.
Depending on which company you decide to cruise with, you will find yourself hard-pressed to enjoy everything that a modern cruise ship has to offer. Numerous restaurants, fitness facilities and evening entertainment are all a given but what about multiple swimming pools, zip lines, yoga classes and cooking courses? Even younger children can be kept amused, when parents want a little grown-up time, as many operators offer kids' clubs that keep youngsters occupied into the early evening.
Think about a traditional holiday and you’ll realise that there’s usually an element that doesn’t quite live up to your imagination. Whether it’s a pool that’s out of action, a hotel that’s less glamorous than the online images, or food that doesn’t quite hit the spot, something often fails to impress. With a cruise, that’s unlikely to be the case.
From bow to stern, cruise liners are designed and built to offer the most luxurious accommodation possible, with nothing left to chance. Even the more modest cabins are fitted out to offer comfort and style, just in smaller proportions and then there’s the food. With numerous restaurants on offer, the dining options on a cruise are incredibly varied, meaning that you’ll always find something to satiate your appetite, whatever your cravings.
Cruising has enjoyed a buoyant few years, with 2017 setting new passenger number records and the trend continuing. If projections are accurate, upcoming years are set to break records as well. The reasons for this are numerous, but multigenerational cruising, where families travel together, an increase in wellness awareness and sustainability are all cited as key motivations.
As more travellers look for thrilling holiday options that leave a smaller footprint but don’t diminish the Instagrammable moments, cruising looks set to enjoy another surge in popularity, proving that wanderlust on the water is anything but over.
The aviation industry is ever-changing, and investing in content marketing, travel SEO and PR is paramount to success. Embracing new technology can also help companies gain a competitive edge, and Virtual Reality (VR) is one of these technologies that’s changing from being a novelty to having real-world, profit-driven uses. We look at how VR is being used by airlines today.
VR technology comprises a person wearing a VR headset that immerses them into a 360° environment. In addition to visual stimulus, there can also be audio and physical stimuli as part of the VR experience, working seamlessly to transport the user into a new environment. So, you would be able to see a door in front of you, interact with it and open it, while hearing the handle turning and the door being pulled open as you do it.
Since August, British Airways has offered passengers the opportunity to experience VR technology on select First Class flights between London Heathrow and New York JFK. It enables passengers to watch documentaries, movies and series in 2D, 3D or 360° formats. This offers another level of service to First Class passengers and may entice people to fly with BA as it offers a unique in-flight experience. BA’s move to trial new entertainment technology shows that being an industry leader is important in this highly competitive market.
German airline Lufthansa has two VR training hubs – one in Munich and the other in Frankfurt, designed to help cabin crew with training. Lufthansa projects that 18,500 cabin crew will be training in these state-of-the-art hubs each year. Using VR tech in this way, Lufthansa is able to reduce cost and increase efficiency as multiple cabin crew members can train at one time without the need for a real, physical aircraft.
Furthermore, the interactivity aspect of VR technology means it's favourable to a basic simulator as cabin crew are able to carry out physical tasks and encourage muscle memory of actions – such as safely securing doors and exits.
It’s important to note that VR training of pilots and cabin crew isn’t going to replace training in actual aircraft completely, but it does significantly reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Lufthansa also has virtual reality assets of its cabins and uses them at a crucial point in a passenger's journey – just before they board their flight. Lufthansa use VR technology as a method to up-sell their premium cabins to people as they allow passengers to experience the cabins before their flight.
This usage of VR technology is ingenious as it is an information rich experience that could encourage a passenger to upgrade their seat before they fly.
There are plenty of airlines investing in VR tours and experiences of their cabins, but Emirates VR tours are some of the most comprehensive. You’re able to experience Economy, Business and First Class cabins, the on-board bar, and shower and spa rooms. You can access these assets when exploring cabin options for potential flights, and offer yet more information to passengers so they can make an informed choice on who to fly with.
The power of these 3D videos give passengers better spatial information and is closer to the actual experience passengers have on an Emirates flight.
Adopting new technology is just one step towards creating a competitive advantage in the fast-moving airline industry. Knowing when to use the technology and when to put potential customers into contact with it is key for airlines. VR is one of those technologies, and we’ve seen innovative ways of embracing it. And in the years to come, the use of VR in the airline industry looks set to soar.