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How travel brands can win at content marketing in 2018

We may only be part way through 2017 but content marketing professionals are already starting to look forward to the new trends and media opportunities 2018 might bring, to help get ahead in travel. Its made even more difficult with a staggering 94% of leisure travellers using more than one device when planning or booking a trip. Brands are under increasing pressure to create seamless cross-channel content that both evolves with the times and aligns with their overarching business goals.

An industry as diverse as travel presents natural opportunities to tell interesting stories that encourage shares and engagement. Still, the content marketing process needs to be refined if brands are passionate about using it to truly improve ROI. Here we outline a few recommendations for creating compelling content that keeps user intent at its heart.

Understanding user intent

The consumer decision process can vary greatly between industries, but for travel it can be roughly sectioned into three key parts – pre-trip research, decision making while travelling and post-trip engagement. As such, it’s vital for travel brands to create content that’s of value throughout each step of the process, or “micro-moment”.

These moments should form the focus of any travel content marketing strategy. From the initial idea to plan a trip right through to the experience itself, the goal is to generate relevant, branded content that can be accessed across a range of devices.

1. Pre-trip research and planning

At this early stage travel content should be all about selling an experience. Decisions regarding where to go, how to travel and plans for when they arrive are all made here. In order to offer genuinely valuable content travel brands should really get into the mindset of their customers, factoring in important considerations like how budget and time constraints might impact the decision making process.

Striking the right balance between serious, information-led content and that which sells a fun travel experience is crucial. For many, the research phase is one of the most important and enjoyable parts of the travel experience, so making sure that your content is entertaining is also key.

Useful tactics:

A strong visual focus – consumers aren’t purchasing static products, but an entire experience. Visual content is predicted to be huge in 2018, so make good use of high-resolution imagery and video content that enables users to visualise exactly what they’ll be signing up for.

Shareable branded content – unless they’re loyal to one particular brand, consumers are likely to shop around during the early decision making process. Focus on creating content that encourages social shares and engagement in order to get your brand at the forefront of people’s minds.

 2. Decision making while travelling

Exactly how we choose to access digital content is evolving all the time, and in 2018 it will be more affordable than ever for consumers to use the internet on the move. In 2016 it was estimated that 85% of leisure travellers wait until they’ve arrived at their destination before deciding on activities, a number that is likely to increase as mobile access becomes even easier abroad.

Informational content that is fully mobile responsive should be your focus. Consider how content hubs and other branded content can be utilised in a way that encourages engagement while travelling. There’s also ample opportunity for travel brands to make the most of location-based content. GPS and location accuracy is continually improving, giving brands the chance to share content tailored to users’ destinations.

Useful tactics: 

User-generated content – not only is user-generated content hugely valuable within the travel industry, but it’s usually completely free to create too. Consider how photography competitions or branded hashtags can help to spread the word about your services online, while showing future consumers exactly what they can expect for their money.

Destination-led content – content that is specifically geared to each individual and their destination of choice is crucial here, so think about ways of making your consumer really feel a part of something. Remember, location-based content should not only be fun and engaging, but should offer genuine informational value to its audience.

3. Post-travel engagement

Contrary to popular belief, the need for travel brands to continue their content marketing efforts doesn’t end as soon as the plane touches back down on home soil. 92% of people booking travel online admit to using review sites as part of the research process, so it pays to encourage those who have used your services to share their thoughts and feedback afterwards.

Post-travel engagement has another purpose too – attracting repeat business during the inevitable stage of post-holiday blues. Time your content correctly and you may just be able to convince those struggling to adjust back to normal life that the ideal way to get over the last holiday is to start planning the next one.

Useful tactics:

Reviews and feedback questionnaires – consumer feedback not only has value for the brand itself, but reviews and recommendations are also effective in encouraging future sales. In fact, on-site customer reviews were proven to increase conversions by as much as 74% in 2016 . Encourage users to share their thoughts and experiences or offer incentives – like money off vouchers – to users who spread the word about your brand.

Personalised email marketing this is the point when email marketing really comes into its own, giving travel brands the chance to infiltrate consumer’s inboxes with further deals and recommendations that are likely to appeal to them. Create a regular flow of relevant content to entice users back time and time again.

To discover how Ad-Rank can help your travel brand to get ahead of the content marketing curve, get in touch today.