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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.

Families taking more frequent holidays

Family holidayIt’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.’

Homeware companies get involved

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.

Personal fulfilment travel

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.

Solo-travel-friendly airports

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.

Get social while solo travelling

Solo travellerAlthough 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.

Sustainable travellers

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.

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.

It’s great for the ‘gram

 

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.

 

Excursions have become far more exciting

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.

 

There’s a lot to do onboard

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.

 

Self-contained luxury is hard to resist

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.

 

What is Virtual Reality?

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.

 

British Airways VR in-flight entertainment

 

 

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.

 

Virtual reality training with Lufthansa

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.

 

Virtual cabin tours before boarding

 

 

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.

 

Virtual cabin tours with Emirates

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.

Welcome to the August edition of our Travel Digital Digest. As you can imagine, a lot has taken place since July, with many people heading on holiday. It is now more important than ever to keep updated with industry news, and with the travel world constantly changing, you should ensure your content marketing strategy reflects this. From travel strikes to new technology and wildfires, we take a look at the industry news you should know.

Greek wildfires force evacuation

Hundreds of tourists have been evacuated from hotels and beaches in Greece due to an outbreak of wildfires. The BBC reported how residents and holidaymakers on the island of Samos were forced to evacuate while firefighters dealt with the wildfires, which have spread due to high winds and dry conditions. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its travel advice, and has warned of a high risk of fires breaking out on other Greek islands, such as Crete.

BA announces strike dates

British Airways plane tails

Anyone who is planning to fly with British Airways in September may be affected by strike action. The British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa) has announced that its members will walk out on 9, 10 and 27 September – with members voting 93% in favour of striking. BA has described the short-notice strikes as ‘completely unacceptable’ with the disruptions expected to cost BA around £120m.

'Arrogant' Ryanair slammed by customers

From a Which? poll of 100 brands, Ryanair has been rated the worst for customer service. The survey asked 4,000 customers to rate their experiences with the 100 companies, and asked questions such as how well they handle complaints and the helpfulness of staff. Half the respondents gave Ryanair the lowest-possible rating for complaint handling. Customers were presented with 50 words to describe their experience – and 'greedy', 'sneaky' and 'arrogant' were by far the most popular.

3D airport scanners to be launched by 2022

Airport Security

The Government plans to introduce 3D baggage scanners at all major UK airports by 2022. The technology – similar to CT scanners found in hospitals – are currently being installed at Heathrow Airport, and could improve security and speed up pre-boarding checks for passengers. The scanners could also mean an end to liquid restrictions that were first introduced in 2006 for UK airports.

 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented: ‘The new equipment will help boost the vital role our airports play in securing the UK’s position as a global hub for trade, tourism and investment.'

Late summer bookings on the rise

Travel analyst GfK has reported an increase in late summer-holiday bookings. Sales sales in the week beginning 10 August were up by 15% compared with last year. Family and all-inclusive holidays continue to drive the travel market, with all-inclusive bookings up 7% and family bookings up 21% in the same week.

 

Bookings for this summer are up 1% overall. David Hope, senior client insight director at GfK, says: ‘This is a strong 1%. The season has recovered from where it was.'

 

August has seen the introduction of many developments in the travel industry: from new 3D scanners to an increase in late summer bookings – the travel industry is constantly moving forward. As a travel SEO agency, get in touch with Ad-Rank and we can ensure your content is relevant and SEO-optimised. Don’t forget to check back next month where we'll have all the latest travel news for September.

If you’re fed up of being told to ‘picture yourself on a beach, under a palm tree, with azure blue waters lapping at your feet’, then join the club.

Travel copywriting should be an effective way to craft engaging content that elicits a sense of adventure in the reader, but so often we see the same old tropes being used to, at best, mediocre effect. Below, you’ll find a few of our all-time most hated travel writing cliches. Did your bugbears make the list?

‘Golden sands’

We don’t know about you, but we’ve never actually seen sand that glitters and radiates the same warmth as gold. Most of the gritty stuff that we’ve walked and laid on has been a dull beige colour, but nice enough to while a few hours away on if the weather is warm. As we see it, beaches come in pebble, black sand and regular sand varieties. All have their merits and don’t need to be verbally photoshopped.

'Vista’

When travel copywriting includes the word 'vista', it’s because the writer has struggled to find an alternative word for view. Everybody knows it, but nobody admits it, for fear of sounding less intellectual and worldly. The crux of the matter is that travellers want to know what they can expect to see, in terms of memorable sightseeing spots, not generically pretty views out over some water. After all, we’ve all seen a sunset by now!

Being nondescript about food

Describing the local cuisine as ‘flavourful’ or a ‘rich blend of cultural influences’ tells us nothing about the dishes themselves or, more importantly, if we’ll like them. A little research goes a long way here, so instead of the half-hearted ‘sweet, flaky pastry’ baklava descriptions, for example, let’s hear about the blend of rose water and pistachios that make for a floral yet earthy palate and the syrup topping that will have you desperate to clean your teeth (if you eat too many pieces).

Not every destination is ‘paradise’

One man’s heaven is another’s hell, so how can any holiday destination be described as 'paradise'? Let alone nearly all of them? Yes, perpetual sunshine, warm water and tasty cocktails on tap all sound relaxing and enjoyable, but is it really paradise? Let’s call a spade a spade, or in this case, a perfectly pleasant holiday destination.

‘Hidden gems’ are a fallacy

 

If the citing of every destination as paradise gets your goat then you’ll probably also hate the blanket use of the phrase ‘hidden gem’ for anywhere that has yet to become a top 10 holiday hotspot. Thanks to social media (Instagram, we’re looking at you), nowhere stays a secret for long these days and all it takes is one blogger with the right infinity-pool snap and filter to make what was a little-known treat the talk of the internet.

Aggressive calls to action

We all know that the point of creative travel copy is to encourage consumers to dig out the credit card and make a booking, but ending a piece of writing with a flashing neon ‘book it now’ button is so unappealing. If the writing had succeeded in whisking the reader off to another part of the world that they suddenly felt compelled to visit in person, this gaudy ending would snap them straight out of their fever dream and back to real life.

The water isn't ever just ‘blue’

Beach

Turquoise, azure, crystal clear, oh and don’t forget ‘gently lapping’. Water is a lot of things in travel writing, but rarely just blue. Wouldn’t it be nice to just have the sea or ocean described in realistic, relevant terms, rather than using every thesaurus entry known to man? And since when did water even need describing? It’s wet, refreshing to swim in after a day in the sun and covers a large proportion of the earth. Enough said.

There’s never really ‘something for everyone’

It’s shocking how many travel destinations seem to have incorporated ‘something for everyone’, if tired copy is to be believed. What a stroke of luck, for absolutely everywhere to be the perfect beach/snowboarding/spa holiday, all rolled into one. Pull the other one. It would be less trite to admit that there are plenty of activities, but the certain demographics will enjoy particular spots more than others.

 

Honest travel copywriting stands out for all the right reasons. It’s written by people who have clearly either been to the places they are describing or have done enough research to know what they're talking about.

 

Great travel writing instils a desire to see, smell and touch the individual elements that make a destination special. What it should never do is make the reader eye-roll through another exaggerated description of ‘rich cultural heritage’!

Travel is the second-fastest growing industry in the world and has outpaced global GDP growth for the eighth year in a row. It doesn’t stop evolving, and brands are always on the lookout for new ways to market and target their audience. Unfortunately, adopting new technology or publishing high-quality travel content isn’t what most brands are opting for – instead, they’re turning to influencers.

Influencers are people who have considerable reach through their social-media accounts, and have access to a potential customer base that travel brands find very appealing. They bridge the gap between brands and target markets, offer quick ways to engage with large numbers of people, and can help improve social-media visibility. They can also help diversify your content strategy, especially if you’re lacking the reach, followers or ability to use social media. But (and that’s a big but), there are influencers who are slowly killing the travel industry.

Just here for the 'gram

 

Influencers are responsible for driving 'shallow travel', as I like to call it. This is where someone travels purely for the reason to post an image on social media. Influencers are promoting visiting historic and iconic landmarks, cities and countries just to take one photo to say 'I was here.' Gone are the days where someone wants to travel to a country to explore its culture, cuisine, arts, music and architecture. To make things worse, this isn’t just a wild assertion; a recent survey by Schofields Insurance found 40% of 1,000 millennials (18- to 33-year-olds) chose a travel spot based on its Instagrammability alone. Visit the Taj Mahal to experience one of The Seven Wonders of the World? Nah, I  want a cool Insta photo!

Anything to get the perfect photo

Some influencers also promote irresponsible travel. From reckless driving in Iceland to dangling off of an infinity pool in Bali, there have been numerous incidents where influencers have set a bad example to other travellers. If behaviour like this continues, some of the world’s natural wonders may become off limits to tourists. Iceland could restrict access to some of its natural sights, which would impact travel to the country and in turn affect any travel brands with ties there.

Money talks…

 

Another unappealing trait of social media influencers in the travel industry is that they don’t have the right motivation. Some influencers are in it for the money, leading them to post unrealistic and highly-edited photos, rather than meaningful content. Influencer photos and posts are purely based on achieving as many likes, shares and favourites as possible which leads to large amounts of editing and shoot planning. Not only does this create unrealistic expectations of destinations, it doesn’t add value.

Furthermore, heavy airbrushing and image manipulation of these beautiful places gives a very artificial impression, rather than appreciating them in their natural form.

Blogger vs Influencer

Let's compare the approach of a travel blogger against a travel influencer. If you want to publish realistic, useful, informative content, you would collaborate with bloggers and engage in blogger outreach. Travel bloggers create content that helps people enjoy travelling. They educate them on the place they’re visiting and improve the whole travel experience. Influencers don’t create anywhere near as useful content as bloggers, and it's a shame that both are viewed as the same.

Not only is travel marketing changing because of influencers, it is suffering a slow death as they appeal to millennials. This segment of people will be travelling for the next 40 years, so communicating with them is critical, and influencers are who they're turning to. One thing that can't be denied is that influencers offer easy access to millions of people – that’s positive, isn’t it?

As a copywriting agency, WooContent can provide you with travel copywriting services, so get in touch today. 

 

When you think of cruise ships docking in ports around the Mediterranean, the image of the passengers disembarking for their day isn’t usually one of youthful vigour. Cruises have long been thought of as the holidays of choice for the over-60s. And why not? When all you have to do is get yourself to the port at the start of the cruise, they’re a great way of seeing a handful of different countries in one go, with minimal effort on your part.

 

However, things are changing. Cruisers have either discovered exceptional skincare regimes that roll back the ageing process and are fooling us all. Or, more likely, the people who choose to holiday this way are turning up before they’re eligible to collect their pension. So what’s going on? Ad-Rank digs deeper.

A better vacation

Santorini sea side

 

According to research carried out by Cruise Lines International Association:

 

'younger generations…are embracing cruise travel, rating it as a better vacation type than land-based vacations, all-inclusive resorts, tours, vacation house rentals, or camping.'

 

By choosing a cruise, holidaymakers are able to see and experience more of the world, the people, places and cultures that otherwise wouldn’t normally be easily accessible. And with our greater desire to travel, it makes sense that younger generations discover the benefits of choosing cruise-based holidays over land-based ones. With a cruise, you’re no longer limited to one location – you can travel far and wide while you sleep and enjoy a new place each day.

 

Getting younger

Two years ago, the BBC reported that more under-45s were choosing cruise holidays. They found that a cruise from Rome had people in their late 20s, family groups with young children, a 40th birthday party gathering, and even groups celebrating hen parties. It seems that what was once a holiday option reserved for an older generation who’d made their money and now had time to sit back, relax, and enjoy it onboard a cruise, is now a choice for much younger holidaymakers, too. And an article by The Maritime Executive found that the average age of a cruise ship passenger in 2018 was 47 years old – considerably younger than you might expect.

 

The benefits

Cruise Ship Pool

 

These days, cruise ships resemble floating mini-cities. Swimming pools, spas, shops, a different restaurant for every day of the week, climbing walls, gyms, running tracks, cafes, computer hubs, kids’ games rooms, casinos – the list goes on. And with so much to do onboard, it’s little wonder that younger generations are wising up to this method of holiday travel.

 

One of the benefits of taking a cruise holiday is how they can cater to each and every family member on the holiday. For the very young, there are the kids’ clubs that entertain them when parents are flagging. For the teenagers, there are games hubs, climbing walls, and cinemas. For the parents longing to see a bit more of the world, there’s a new port most days – and tons of relaxation facilities onboard. And for older folk, there are lavish restaurants, stylish sun decks, and West-End-style shows in the evening.

 

No need to fly

Cruising also offers a way for those who suffer from aerophobia – or fear of flying – to get out and see the world. Aerophobia affects around one in four people. And while these sufferers may want to see the world, often their fear of boarding a plane is so high that it stops them from travelling. Choosing a cruise that sets sail from the country you reside in is a way round this problem.

 

With the experience on board cruise ships ever improving, and with people looking for new ways to travel and see the world, we believe the average age of cruisers will only continue to fall.

Blockchain and travel – two words that invoke a lot of feelings on their own, but mostly confusion when combined. While blockchain may sound overly technical and complex (because, well, it is), we promise that its potential benefits to the travel industry are phenomenal.

 

When you think of travel companies, you may think that their content is the most important part of the package. While it's a huge part of the marketing mix, the logistical side is just as crucial, and this is where blockchain can make its mark.

 

Blockchain is a rather misunderstood protocol born of the crypto-currency age. It was originally designed for Bitcoin and Bitcoin transactions, but boasts extra security, boosted efficiency and reliability. It can create palpable, real-time results, such as faster and easier data access and cost reductions for businesses and customers. Therefore it's unsurprising that this nifty system is already making waves in a variety of sectors, from finance to enterprise.

 

Experts are saying that blockchain has the potential to transform the entire travel industry. As avid travellers, we're keeping our fingers crossed for its success – here’s why…

 

What is blockchain?

 

Blockchain is a system of decentralised storage that works by storing data on blocks that sit within a chain. This is network speak, of course – we're not talking about physical chains or blocks cluttering up server rooms. The idea of decentralising data means it is on a wider network that's easily accessed by all agents. It's more secure than local data, as is less likely to come under cyber-attack or data loss via accidental deletion. Blockchain can harvest a wealth of benefits from business to business, improving customer interactions as well as efficiency.

 

Does the travel industry need blockchain?

The travel industry is a very data rich sector with information shared in high volumes between a huge number of businesses, services and agents. This begins with the travel advisor, and goes onto the airline, hotel, car hire and even car parking and transfers, as well as credit-card companies and banks. There is data provided to and produced by nearly every single purchase or enquiry of a traveller's journey.

 

For the most part, this data is centralised meaning that information such as traveller names and passport numbers have to be passed physically from agent to agent. This obviously leaves a lot of room for error, this system is also more likely to experience a cyber-attack. With blockchain, all of this information would be stored on a network which is accessible to all of the appropriate agents, meaning the information is made available immediately when required.

 

Blockchain and travel applications

Airport security

 

Blockchain goes beyond the initial booking processes described above. When implemented correctly, it provides the foundation for more efficient systems across the entirety of the travel sector. The benefits are realised by both travellers and businesses. a great example of blockchain in the travel industry is the snappily-named Known Traveller Digital Identity prototype which is currently being tested in several countries. It allows customers to supply all of their ID information digitally, hugely speeding up passenger verification and cutting down wait times for security checks at airports. The full digitalisation of IDs and visas would see a massive boost in efficiency in these areas.

 

Also inside the airport, the world of baggage handling could be reinvented. If blockchain was implemented in a baggage handling system, luggage could be tracked instantaneously without needing to contact other airlines and handlers for tracking information, minimising luggage loss.

 

For frequent travellers, hotel reward points could become available from the moment they are earned, as opposed to waiting days for the hotel and reward networks to sync up.

Welcome to your July Travel Digital Digest. Time flies in the world of travel and with summer in full swing, we share some of the biggest highlights from July. With constant changes and developments, it's crucial you keep updated and ensure your copywriting strategy reflects this. From a new UK boss at Wendy Wu to new flights on Wizz Air, here's our latest round-up from the world of travel.

Sri Lanka woos new visitors

 

The Sri Lankan government has announced a visa waiver fee for six months for selected countries, including the UK. The move is aimed at boosting tourism, following the terrorist attacks in the country earlier in the year. If the trial is successful, it may be rolled out for a longer period. A 30-day double-entry visa to Sri Lanka currently costs Brits £27. Previously, UK nationals could only get a free ‘transit’ visa if they pass through Sri Lanka and stay for no longer than two days. This doesn't just benefit UK nationals however – the scheme is being implemented in 27 other countries including Australia, Canada and Singapore.

Booking.com under investigation

Travel aggregator website Booking.com is being investigated by Italian authorities over an alleged unpaid sales-tax bill of €150m (£137m). According to the Financial Times, the VAT is related to payments between individuals for rental properties advertised on its website – not hotels. The current investigation will decide whether Booking.com is liable for the VAT which was owed on payments made between 2013 and 2018. What's more, the €150m figure is believed to be a ‘conservative’ estimate, so the final amount could end up even higher.

Wendy Wu appoints new UK boss

Green landscape

Former STA Travel boss Glen Mintrim has been appointed as managing director for Wendy Wu Tours' UK business. He succeeds Mark Bloxham, who left the role in October last year. With previous experience at Qatar Airways and Tui, Mintrim plans to drive Wendy Wu's three-year growth plan and develop trade sales. This comes at a positive time for Wendy Wu, as its 2020 bookings are currently up by 44% from 2019. Mintrim said: ‘We have a plan that will see us launching new and innovative products as well as nurturing and developing our links with the trade.’

Wizz Air to launch low-cost flights to Russia

Wizz Air plans to launch new flights to St Petersburg and Moscow later this year – its first to Russia from western Europe. Fares for both routes start from £25.99 for a one-way journey. Managing director Owain Jones says that Wizz Air will be 'the only UK carrier flying to St Petersburg and on both new routes', adding: 'Our customers will enjoy Wizz Air’s great travel experience on-board Europe’s youngest and greenest aircraft.'

2018 heatwave a factor in Holiday Place collapse

Bench overlooking the sea

The 2018 heatwave and uncertainty over Brexit were both key factors in the collapse of The Holiday Place, parent company of Cuba Holidays. The company went into administration in May, owing £12m to creditors, and with nearly 500 customers on holiday at the time. Travel Weekly quotes administrator Begbies Traynor as saying: 'The unusually hot UK summer of 2018 resulted in low sales during that period, compared to previous years. The company saw a noticeable change in consumer behaviour. Instead of the surge in bookings for summer holidays the company traditionally saw in January, it saw a significant decrease.'

 

July has seen the rise and fall of travel companies, proof that nothing stays still for long in the travel sector. Get in touch with Ad-Rank today and we can help ensure your content and SEO is as good as it can be. Don’t forget to check back next month for the latest travel updates and news for August.

If your travel blogs are struggling to get out of the slow lane, then it may not be the writing that's the problem – it's the images.

 

You may have immaculate intros, beautifully written blog posts and snappy conclusions, but if your travel images don't cut it, then you are missing a huge opportunity to engage with your audience.

 

So, not only does your travel copywriting need to be first class, your images do, too.

 

Make your brand stand out

 

The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words has never been more accurate in travel writing.

 

Every brand is looking for their next piece of viral content and the right image could be just what you are looking for. With careful research and planning, the simplest image ideas can be the trick to what makes your brand recognisable.

 

Example: Photographer Murad Osmann went viral after uploading a photo of his wife leading him through the streets of Barcelona. Now with millions of followers and voted by Forbes as one of the world's top travel influencers, the couple are recognised solely by their iconic image.

 

An SEO boost

Did you know that relevant images are a ranking factor with Google?

 

Landing the top spot on search engines is made easier with pictures. The benefits of using great images aren't just visual, but also work behind the scenes, too. When search engines crawl sites, they're also able to pick up images.

 

Make sure that all of your descriptions, tags and titles are up to date, so that search engines know you have information relevant to the search on that page.

 

It's all about readability

Kyoto, JapanThe rise of digital has meant reader attention spans are lower than ever. Everybody is looking for the next best thing just a click away.

 

However, no one wants to read a blog filled with lengthy text. Make your blog visually appealing by breaking your page up with images. Easy on the eye, readers are more likely to read the post, rather than give up faced with a text-heavy post.

 

A good travel copywriting agency will always use images in its blogs that simplify complex information and create an easier visual experience for the reader.

 

Sharing is caring

Standout images are a must for social media content.

 

When it comes to social platforms, people tend to scroll through their newsfeed until something catches their attention. Eye-catching images that make the user stop in their tracks are the perfect form of clickbait to increase traffic and engagement on both your channels and website.

 

And they all lived happily ever after…

White-sand beach in the Maldives

The key to the perfect travel blog is understanding the art of storytelling. Adding a picture to a post makes all the difference, with audiences likely to remember 65% of them, compared with just 10% that don't have imagery.

 

The secret behind a great story is having the visuals to match. Audiences become emotionally connected to your brand through identifying with your words and also the images you use. If you're talking about a specific location, the reader wants to see what you experienced.

 

A brand that is great at using both images and storytelling is Airbnb. Using the campaign Meet Your Host, it shares information on different locations worldwide from a local perspective.

 

From photos to infographics and screenshots, there are many different types of images that can be used in travel blogs. Travel bloggers can turn to user-generated content or supply people on location with a professional camera to keep costs down.

 

A final point is never post images for the sake of it, and always take the time to plan which images are most relevant to your blog – that way, you'll gain the best results.

 

Using these top tips and examples, sit back and relax as your blogs are transformed through the use of great imagery.

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