Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that engaging inspirational content is at the core of any travel brands’ success. It’s what sparks our interest when we’re itching for a change of scenery, and compels us to book the getaway of our dreams. However, with so many brands offering the same white sandy beaches and similar experiences, it’s important to cut through noise and truly connect with your customers. With statistics showing that only 15% of Brits on average travelled abroad in 2017, your content will need to work a little harder to capture their interest and imagination.
Inspirational content is often the not-so-secret weapon of the travel sector. It should appeal to your customers’ basic desire to have the holiday of a lifetime and guide them on their journey to their chosen destination. Whatever reason your customers have for booking, your content should be useful and show your customer all the great things they’ll get from a holiday with you, and help them achieve it.
Discover our guide on creating inspirational content for travel and learn how to stand out from the crowd…
Create content that allows your customer to picture themselves there
It may seem like an obvious point, but many travel brands fall into the trap of focusing too much on what makes them different from competitors, rather than what their customers want. In Donald Miller’s book ‘Building a Story Brand,’ he encourages all brands to be different by making their customer ‘the hero’ of the story and telling them how they fit into the picture.
Users searching for holidays are often looking to achieve a certain goal that goes beyond booking the holiday itself, so it’s important to think about why users usually travel and let them know what they’re getting the experience.
Are they looking for a luxury 5-star holiday where they can also bring the kids? Will they get to tick off an adventurous destination from their wish list? Do they want to unwind by the pool and forget about work? Will they get to learn a skill or experience something new and unexpected?
Long-form content gives you the platform to cover these details with evocative language that allows the user to imagine themselves experiencing the destination first-hand. Travel guides, ‘things to do’ lists and blogs are a great way to target those at the research stages by illustrating exactly what the customer might miss out on.
Our client Explore, an adventure travel company often uses this tactic on their blog with posts like ‘Five National Parks to Visit in Costa Rica’ and ‘The Most Eco Friendly Places To Visit On Earth’ to address questions their users might have.
This type of content also helps make the adventure more manageable; by shortlisting destinations or activities, holiday plans jump from concept to a tangible experience users can look forward to.
Focus on details to sound like you’ve been there
When it comes to writing effective copy that converts, authenticity and expertise is vital. There are hundreds of articles online about how to write flawless travel content, yet one recommendation that still holds weight is that detailed, well thought out story-telling is far more persuasive than generic optimised copy.
Travel is a largely visual industry and the content that sits alongside images should serve to fill in the blanks of the story you want to tell you customer. If you think of the images on your site as the book cover, your travel content should, at the very least, act as the blurb.
This is because good content ‘colours in’ the rest of the experience, and tells your customers about all the parts that can’t be conveyed in a picture. Rather than talking vaguely about what they can expect, go into the specifics to bring your copy to life.
What ’s more compelling? Reading about the ‘high quality food and drink’ at your hotel? Or hearing about how you can ‘discover the bustling Spanish tavernas of Madrid which serve authentic tapas dishes, including the local favourite Cocido Madrileno; a delicious simmering pork stew’?
Not only does this approach appeal on a sensory level, it will make your content sound more genuine and authentic – or better still – like you’ve actually been there yourself.
Provide a ‘Snapshot’ of the experience for mobile users
While long-form content is proven to work well for travel brands, you will also need to create content that’s still easily digestible for users booking via mobile. As our recent article on using your digital channels to secure new users suggests, video content and stunning Instagram photos can effectively capture audience attention, so your content strategy should always extend to your social channels.
But what about on-site? Why not try reframing on-page copy or repurposing blog posts and distil your story down to helpful, memorable titbits that users can refer back to? By introducing repeatable formatting on page (think sub-sections on ‘Food and Drink’, ‘Thing To Do, ‘Where To Get A Coffee’… etc.) your users can quickly skim towards the topics that interest them, while bullet points and ‘top ten’ style blog posts will provide a quicker route for users to understand what’s on offer.
Feature user generated content that will back you up
Sometimes your own word is not enough. User generated reviews, pictures and testimonials will cement your customers trust that your content isn’t just paying them lip service. Customers in a post-tech world are much more savvy when it comes to marketing, and reviews have become pivotal to the decision making process when booking a holiday.
Featuring user generated content on-page will give further insight to what you’re offering and potentially highlight extra details about your trips that might persuade users to book. User generated Instagram pics – pulled through to your trip pages with some clever technology and a dedicated hashtag – or video testimonials can work wonders for converting hesitant users into paying customers.
Even simple reviews can liven up your product pages.
Late night chocolates on the hotel pillow, the warm and funny tour guide who teaches helpful phrases and the surprise glimpse of a Mediterranean sunset from a cliff-side restaurant; while these details may not make the final cut of your own on-page content, reviews can still provide an extra dimension for the users carrying out extra research about their chosen trip.