15 Jan How to create a winning content strategy for travel
Travel and content go together like sunshine and the seaside, one complementing the other perfectly. This is why coming up with content ideas is the easy part; the challenge is to develop a content strategy that delivers measurable results for your business.
With nine out of 10 people researching online before they book, good content has the power to convert, so finding a strategy that gets you noticed is the key to success in the travel industry.There are a number of golden rules when it comes to devising a content strategy for travel that delivers on your business goals. Follow these rules to help create content that helps you achieve your targets whether they’re raising brand awareness, increasing traffic to your site or driving more holiday sales.
THE GOLDEN RULES FOR A TRAVEL CONTENT STRATEGY
Act like a publisher
This concept is nothing new – airlines have been printing glossy magazines to enhance their brands and showcase destinations for decades. British Airways’ High Life magazine has long commissioned high-profile writers and photographers to create articles to appeal to its customers. More recently, Airbnb has followed suit, creating its own print magazine that illustrates the brand’s values of ‘celebrating humanity’ and the wealth of experiences travel offers.
Travel is one of the few industries where print still works, but even in the digital space, sophisticated consumers seeking inspiration still value high-quality editorial writing and ideas. Airbnb has recognised this, and its magazine also publishes content to the editorial sharing site Medium.
UGC (user-generated content) is a valuable promotional tool in any industry, but for travel, it’s critical to leverage good reviews. Thanks to the rise of sites like TripAdvisor, people are used to sharing their views about holidays, destinations and experiences.
This can work in your favour as it offers a chance to involve customers, or potential customers, in your content marketing. Invite them to share posts, or reach out to bloggers to carry reviews that link back to your website. This will help to boost SEO and improve site visibility, as well as creating really credible promotion as 76% of people find content posted by other consumers to be more honest.
A great example of this is Stories by World Nomad, a hugely successful blog that invites travellers to submit their own stories and images, creating a community around the brand. It perfectly reflects the brand’s target market of independent and intrepid travellers, making it the natural choice when they buy travel insurance.
Put the destination first
A good service is vital, but unlike a bank, which is only selling its services, in travel you are selling a destination or experience. Modern travellers are focused on finding something new to try, and they do their research online, so your content needs to tempt them to book by showing everything a destination can offer.
TUI’s Holiday Hypermarket recently revamped its website. The strategy focused on developing search-optimised content around each of its destinations to support both new audiences researching places to go through to post-booking itinerary planning. Over six months, this approach led to a 32% increase in organic traffic and a 99% increase in revenue from organic – proof that content creates conversions.
Be agile and timely
Last-minute bookings are on the rise, with most holidays booked 13 days before travel, and on mobile this window narrows to just five days. Add to this the fact that many tours and activities are booked just before arrival or in destination and your content strategy has to be agile. Posting about local festivals or the weather conditions can inspire spur-of-the-moment bookings.
While it can be hard to make an impact in a competitive market, if you showcase the unique benefits of a destination or experience to a specific audience, it can make them much easier to reach. You can achieve this by tailoring content to appeal to a particular market segment, for example families or honeymooners, or you can go further and attract a particular interest group.
A great example of this is Roanoke, Virginia, which has focused on attracting cyclists to its trails, allowing it to reach and nurture a whole new audience.
As with any content strategy, staying on top of technology trends is crucial. Creating Q&A-style content will help you win a Featured Snippet (the answer box that appears below the ads and above the organic listings on a Google search results page) and will help to draw more people to your site. It will also get your content prepared for voice search, as 80% of Google Home’s responses are drawn from these snippets.
Use content to counter complaints
Bad reviews are bad for business. A strong content strategy that supports SEO and keeps you visible on social can’t remove negative comments, but it does mean that bad news won’t swamp all your positive content. It also gives you the credibility to respond swiftly and visibly to complaints.
Get the basics right
With more people than ever researching and booking online or on mobile, your content strategy has to focus on getting the basics right, from technical SEO onsite, fixing faults, errors and broken links, to onsite UX and content navigation, ensuring your content is easy to browse and explore.
A site audit can ensure that everything is working properly and that the back-end code isn’t holding back your onsite SEO efforts, as well as identifying opportunities to plug any content gaps and streamline navigation.
FIVE-POINT CONTENT STRATEGY CHECKLIST
1. Just as publications have a specific tone and style, your strategy should start with developing a consistent brand tone of voice and persona. Think about how your content can reflect your brand values, whether it’s family fun or off-the-beaten-track exploration.
2. Identify and understand your target market and work out how to address their needs through content. Remember to think laterally about niche interest groups.
3. Carry out an audit of your existing content. Identify what performs well and any gaps where new content is required. Identify which type of content works best, for example image-led articles to illustrate destinations to itinerary planning tools to encourage experience bookings.
4. Create content that can be repurposed to help achieve multiple goals: for example, website articles can be turned into a Medium magazine site or used to create a downloadable destination guide.
5. Regularly review content performance and revise to optimise and reflect any changes in search algorithms or consumer behaviour.