Whatever your business, content is a crucial component in your marketing efforts. Content marketing boosts brand awareness, helps you to become more visible and recognizable, and, in turn, builds trust with customers. It can help you to communicate exactly what makes you unique as a company, as well as drive traffic, increase conversions, and generate leads.
And for any travel company—whether that’s hotels, airlines, restaurants, or activity companies—good content is even more indispensable.
Who travels anywhere without doing research first? People need content to learn about destinations and attractions. They need it to inspire and inform them. And, in a competitive industry dominated by big players, content is a pivotal tool to help you stand out.
But how can you get noticed in an online space that appears filled with an overload of travel content? How can you stay relevant and make your content work for you?
Here are 11 steps for using content to boost your travel business.
How to Use Content to Boost Your Travel Business
Speak Directly to Your Audience
Before creating any content, you need to know who you intend to reach.
- Who’s your target customer?
- What age are they?
- What are their habits, preferences, and opinions?
- Where do they hang out and what do they want?
- What are their pain points?
- What other brands do they like?
Ask your customer support staff for more ideas or send out surveys to discover more about your customer base.
You also want to consider where they are in their travel journey.
- Are they just dreaming about a holiday or trip, and looking for inspiration?
- Are they at the organization stage and about to book?
- Or are you targeting customers who are already on holiday, in the process of experiencing a destination?
Who your audience is—and where they are in their customer journey—will dictate the kind of content you create and where you distribute it. The more specific you can be about your ideal buyer, the easier it will be to create successful content.
Choose a Type of Content
The next step is choosing the content you want to create. This will depend on your skills and resources, as well as what your audience is looking for. How much money and time can you dedicate to content creation? What kind of content will your audience enjoy or benefit from?
Blog posts – these can be inspiring or educational and are low-cost to produce as long as you or a team member is a competent writer who can produce engaging copy.
Guides – creating destination guides that spark wanderlust and give people ideas for potential itineraries is a great way to boost engagement and encourage conversions.
Videos – images are essential in getting people to imagine a destination or activity but videos are even better. However, this can be resource-heavy.
Infographics – these are very shareable and a great way to deliver informative content in an easy-to-digest format, whether that’s safety and security information or destination facts and figures.
Newsletters – email newsletters allow companies to reach their audience directly and even personalize their messages. It’s a cheap and easy way to connect with customers and build a relationship.
Podcast – according to Hubspot, in 2019, 17% of marketers anticipated adding podcasting to their content marketing strategy and you can be sure that number has grown since. If you’ve got the money and time, creating podcasts is a great way to drive customer engagement, especially for travel companies. You can interview locals or explore a new destination and connect with listeners in a personal and compelling way.
Establish Your Brand Voice
Determining and sticking to a brand voice is essential for any company because it helps to make you recognisable. To build credibility and trust with your audience, you need to be easily identifiable and this means that all your content needs to have a certain and consistent style.
Determine your brand persona—your values, culture, and the feelings you want to evoke in your readers—and make sure you express this in all the content that you create.
Make it SEO-Friendly
Boosting your site in search engine rankings requires that all your content is SEO-friendly. At the very least, this means making sure that you’ve answered customer questions clearly and concisely, that you’ve included all the necessary keywords, and that you’ve optimised your internal and external links.
Visual Can Trump Text
Images are incredibly powerful at attracting attention in a world of information overload. People’s attention spans are short and they’re more likely to be drawn to a striking image than to scroll through pages of writing.
And so, if you can, incorporate lots of quality images into your content. Make sure they look glossy and professional and bear in mind that the Internet has probably reached saturation point when it comes to beautiful images of mountains, beaches, and infinity pools. Try to think of unique and unusual shots to post.
Even better, make it a video. Video is incredibly immersive, making it a great choice for travel content. In fact, according to Hubspot, when video and text are on the same page, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service.
Consider creating a YouTube channel where you can post alluring videos of destinations, customer testimonials, or how-to guides.
Most travel companies will include a blog in their content marketing initiatives. Travel blogs are a great way to share destination information, behind-the-scenes looks at your company, interviews with interesting people, and answers to customer questions.
To create blog posts that drive traffic and generate leads, you need to choose topics that interest your reader. Conduct customer research to find out what questions they’re asking or what they find appealing.
Make sure your writing is easy to read. If the aim is to inspire, you need to make it exciting. Tell a story, get the reader to use their imagination, and encourage them to picture the place or experience you’re describing. Pique their interest by sharing little-known details, avoiding clichés, and making your writing unique.
If the aim is to inform, your text needs to be clear, concise, and easy to navigate, helping to facilitate readers with their travel planning process or finding the information they need. This will allow you to win their trust and appreciation.
Keep your blog content fresh and up-to-date to help with search engine rankings. And, as we’ve established, all your blog content should be written in your brand voice. It should be relatable and friendly, as though coming from a real person, not a company.
Get in Their Inbox
Email newsletters are a great way to target people who you already know to be interested in your business. Grow your subscriber list by having a pop-up on your website. Offer discount codes as an incentive.
You can use your newsletters to promote your products but it’s also a great opportunity to build a relationship with your readers by sharing content that they might find inspiring or useful.
Make your emails relevant to a particular date or season, such as Christmas, or talk about upcoming festivals or events. However, remember that people often book trips well in advance so you may want to start talking about summer holidays as early as January.
Send your emails regularly—but not so regularly that people feel harassed. Segment your email list to personalise your messages and consider sending specific emails when it’s a customer’s birthday or anniversary. 53% of travel and hospitality companies personalize email content.
Make It Social
A social media presence is the cheapest and one of the most effective ways to engage customers and build brand awareness.
Choose the platform that’s best for your customer base. In the travel industry, visual content is dominant, so you’ll want to be active on Instagram and maybe even Pinterest. Facebook is also essential for nearly every business and you should be posting at least three times a week.
Share your blog content and post regularly so people get used to seeing your name. Avoid posting content that’s explicitly promotional. Instead, focus on boosting engagement. Share eye-catching photos, emojis, questions to encourage a dialogue, useful tips, and links to other travel content, as long as it doesn’t come from a competitor.
Twitter is the best site for reposting things that might be of interest to clients and generating discussion. You could also use Facebook Live or Instagram stories to post real-time footage of your tours or to give people a behind-the-scenes look at the company.
Learn to Influence
Consider partnering with an influencer—any business or individual with a lot of reach with your target demographic. The bigger their social media following, the better.
Their endorsement of your company can either be paid or earned—perhaps in return for a mention or recommendation in your blog article or newsletter.
Even better if you’re able to interview them for your blog or podcast. Or it could be a mutually beneficial relationship where you both promote each other.
Instagram influencers and vloggers are particularly influential in the travel industry, but you could also try reaching out to local celebrities in your chosen destination. This is an effective means to get the word out about your business and attract people who otherwise might not notice you.
Get Help from Customers
User-generated content is incredibly valuable. Share any videos or images uploaded to social media, retweet comments, and share reviews. This works as social proof, helping to establish trust with other customers who will value these unbiased recommendations.
60% of consumers were influenced by consumer-generated content when planning travel compared to 19% influenced by professional brand images.
You can also encourage customers to generate content by holding competitions for the best image or video. But bear in mind that you might need to moderate user-generated content to ensure it meets your content guidelines.
Finally, you could even reach out to loyal customers and see if they might be willing to come on your podcast or appear in a video testimonial.
Work Out What You Want to Accomplish
To track the success of your content marketing efforts, you need to have goals and metrics to evaluate how well you’re doing. What is that you want your content to achieve?
Tracking different metrics will help you to adjust your content strategy and continue to reach your goals.
- Traffic – how many people are arriving on your site because of your content? Do they come via your newsletter, social, or organically?
- User behaviour – how long are readers spending on your page? What’s your bounce rate? How many people are returning visitors?
- Social media shares and comments – how are people engaging with your content? What’s popular and what’s not?
- Conversions – is your content channelling customers down the sales funnel? If not, do you need to include more calls-to-action, such as newsletter pop-ups or download buttons?
- SEO performance – is your content helping to boost you in the search engine rankings? If not, do you need to target different keywords? Make your page more mobile-friendly? Update your content?
Content Marketing and Travel: An Ongoing Relationship
Travel companies can’t survive without content in today’s information-driven world. You need to be producing quality content, whether that’s blog posts, videos, or podcasts, in order to stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape and articulate to your audience what makes you unique.
But learning to use content to help boost brand awareness and drive engagement is a question of trial and error. Test out different approaches, monitor their success, determine what it all means, and try again.