Travel and tourism marketers play an important role in the decision-making process of many holidaymakers planning their travel experiences. In fact, Google estimates that on an average, travelers visit roughly 22 different sites before making their booking decision.
With more and more travelers actively searching for travel guides, resources, lodging, event planning, transportation and so on, providing strategically written content creates a prime opportunity for service providers in the hospitality industry to increase exposure for their services and unique experiences.
But what makes potential customer opt for one destination vs. another, when given a plethora of options to choose from?
The team at Amadeus wrote a piece on how Big Data helps inspire a travelers’ choices.
Additionally, a TRAVELSAT© benchmarking survey suggests that four out of ten international visitors actually choose their destination based on recommendations from their trusted inner circle.
Obviously utilizing data and recommendations are extremely important, but for the vast majority of service providers, content marketing offers a quick and effective way to increase exposure, while capturing the attention of global travelers while they’re still in the decision-making process.
Below are a few strategies travel and hospitality service provides can utilize to enhance the success of their content marketing initiatives.
RESEARCH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
An effective content marketing strategy targeted specifically to carefully identified target audiences is the necessary first step towards creating successful content marketing strategies that resonate with the travel-focused mindset.
Target audiences can include:
- Regular holidaymakers with their friends and families.
- People who are driven by their passion and desire to explore new destinations.
- Fans attending events (Sports, Music, Industry, etc…)
- Virtual tourists who haven’t fully decided where or when they will travel
Understanding first-hand what questions these travelers are asking, distinguish your field of expertise and then produce relevant and valuable content that answers key questions they may have.
OUTSMART YOUR COMPETITORS
The travel space is hugely competitive irrespective of any specific travel line of business. Hence, it’s crucial to think of creative ways to do things differently than your competitors, utilizing effective content that engages the ideal customer by creating an emotional connection, which ultimately connects travelers to your brand.
A great example of this is the Qantas VR app – The official airline of Australia created a virtual-reality-enhanced app that provides potential visitors with 360-degree video tours of more than 13 tourism experiences they won’t find anywhere else on earth.
The airline was granted permission to capture aerial views of sacred sites at Uluru and Kata Tjuta – including areas prohibited to the public such as Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. And, after virtually hopping on a helicopter to see ancient Uluru or view the spectacular sights of VIVID Sydney, armchair travelers who want a more up-close and personal experience can book themselves a flight in-app.
CREATE INSPIRATIONAL CONTENT
Travellers seek inspiration that convinces them to hop on their next voyage. Therefore, unique content will allow you to both stand out amongst your peers as well as entice your audience to take action.
By figuring out what customers want and creating that’s shared exclusively on channels your audiences are actively participating in, such as Instagram and Facebook Stories offers prime opportunity for travel brands.
One thing to keep in mind is; Short form content focused on visually inspiring imagery goes a long way, as it’s easily consumed and shared.
LEVERAGE USER GENERATED CONTENT
Consumer opinions go a long way. This is especially true when it comes to travel destinations and experiences. Based on a recent study, 95% of travel planning study respondents report reading travel reviews prior to booking. Therefore, asking for testimonials from notable clients is a great way to let the reviews show off the brand rather than self-boasting.
Encourage travelers to share their experiences and contests are a grand means to source user-generated content and social proof. For instance, with decent social followers on Instagram, a photo-contest of travelers’ experiences is straightforward and undemanding to increase awareness and drive more traffic to the website.
AMPLIFY YOUR SOCIAL REACH
According to statistics, 52% of travelers change their original travel plans because they were highly influenced by social media. Hence, incorporating visual content and illustrative informative is crucial as it helps greatly with search engine optimization. While writing the post on social sites make sure it has the target keyword and a persuasive Meta description, which is typically 156 characters for good results.
Aside from visuals and posts, posting engaging videos on social media sites such as Instagram and YouTube is effective since more than 44% of travelers watch destination videos prior to booking or finalizing a destination. This number is bound to increase drastically in near future.
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