The modern traveler has access to limitless information. A tech-savvy traveler will visit an average of 38 websites before confirming the booking dates. Similarly, pictures posted by friends on platforms like Instagram and Facebook are likely to attract the most attention. In this increasingly crowded digital space, brands have to make sure that their travel content marketing stands out and gets noticed!
With easy accessibility and transportation, it is quite simple to roam around the world. There are bucket loads of online information related to traveling which has successfully stirred the wanderlust spirit inside every individual. Instead of gathering material possessions, people are now choosing to spend their hard-earned money on making memories and lifelong experiences.
Thanks to the digital world, the travel industry is growing day by day. This year, online travel growth is expected
to rise to a staggering figure of $629.81 billion. But too much of everything can dampen the situation. If you own a globetrotting brand or a travel agency, you must be feeling the pressure already.
With so much competition, travelers have a vast range of options to choose from. According to research, travelers are inspired by travel reviews (59%), social media pictures (54%) and YouTube videos (31%) when it comes to planning their next trip. You must be wondering where travel blogs fit in this equation? Unfortunately, only a mere 11% thought that travel blogs were still useful.
So, how can you, as a travel agency or a blog, stand out from the crowd? In this super-competitive digital era, it is essential to plan your content marketing strategy very wisely. There is no need to work hard to find fascinating topics to write. There are thousands of interesting topics to choose from- including unique destinations to travel stories and so much more.
The idea is to make your content interesting and approachable, rather than throwing various brands in the faces of the readers. Let them find this information themselves organically. Be an intelligent marketer and help your visitor take the stress out of traveling by providing them helpful content.
Here are some more tips that can act as a definitive guide to content marketing; especially for blogs related to the travel niche:
1. Identify the steps that a traveler takes
For achieving an effective content marketing strategy, it is essential to understand the journey of your target customer. In this case, study the phases that a traveler goes through while finalizing a trip. Once it is mapped out, create engaging content that would help a traveler during each of these phases.
Usually, the first step is when a traveler seeks out a destination according to his or her budget. Travelers read countless blogs and reviews related to the travel destinations of their preference. After a talk with friends and reading reviews online, the traveler will confirm the destination and will start the booking process.
Nomadic Matt is my favorite example of a travel blog that inspires people to travel according to their budget and then guides them on every step. The blog has the perfect personal touch that stirs people from within and gets them reaching for their ‘trip jar,’ so that they can save and travel soon!
2. Publish helpful content and be consistent
In today’s digital era, there is no shortage of travel-related content on the internet. Thus, instead of being a run of the mill kind of travel blog, work hard and try to stand out. It can only happen when you publish the best content possible. Remember, it is better to publish one well-written post per week than to publish a mediocre post every day!
Don’t commit the mistake of trying to sell your product or service in every post. Forget whether or not the customer wants to purchase from you. Just focus on providing useful content that gathers the trust of the customer. It will pave the way for many future purchases. It is probably the only rule you need to remember for successful content marketing in any niche.
Fortunately, a blog related to travel has many ways of capturing the visitor’s attention. Use beautiful photography and videos to inspire people. Set the quality bar high and be consistent in maintaining the standard. Read this post which shares 11 of the most significant content marketing challenges and ways to overcome them.
3. Be picky while selecting your social media channels
As a travel marketer, you can upload excursion videos on YouTube, inspiring photography on Instagram and bucket list item boards on Pinterest. But instead of having a half-hearted presence on all social media channels, it is recommended to pick a few platforms and dedicate all your efforts to them.
Make an outline of creative strategies for your content and post on social media platforms that would draw and retain the most customers accordingly. Take inspiration from Jet Blue’s twitter account. They contact all their customers and respond even to the unhappy tweets.
4. Never underestimate the importance of SEO
If you want an effective marketing strategy for your travel blog, then you should have a strong SEO. SEO can be a little challenging for the travel industry. You should think like a traveler, give them what they want and integrate SEO with your content and marketing teams to create a recipe for success.
It’s hard work, but with the right strategy, you can execute it flawlessly and faster than your competitors too! Here is a great blog post on travel marketing ideas and strategies.
5. Get partners on board and share content
In the travel industry, there are countless opportunities for your brand to develop partnerships with other services such as airlines, hotels, restaurants, etc. You can devise a strategy where you share their content and link it to their sites while they do the same for your blog. You can even hold a contest with various partners on board. The marketing possibilities are endless.
A reputable partner can play a significant role in increasing your authenticity as a brand. So, get some social media influencers on board and watch your followers grow in no time.
6. Learn more about who is influencing your target audience
Reviews from family members, friends and colleagues are the number one influential factor in deciding upon a destination for traveling. In this case, your priority should be to increase word-of-mouth recommendations for your brand.
Work with bloggers and influencers who have a massive following of your target customers. It is a foolproof way to get more traffic towards your brand. Even Hilton gets bloggers to write about their stay and luxurious experience at the hotel so that their followers can know more about the hotel and its services through a person they trust. Here is another example of a sponsored post by Southwest Airlines, as they sent a few bloggers to Vegas to promote their affordable ticket prices.
The trick is to reach out to people who influence consumer decisions and ask them to review your service and brand. But take a look at the blogger’s audience engagement, traffic, followers, and quality of content before getting someone on board to work with you.
7. Tap the power of user-generated content
There is nothing more valuable than reviews of satisfied customers. After all, the number one influencer in traveling is a peer recommendation. If your customers have had a great experience with you, they’ll readily recommend you to other friends and family members.
You can run social media contests to gather more user-generated content. Ask your customers to post pictures from their holiday album, which includes your brand too. Or you can ask them to review your brand and its services.
Read more about various travel brands using contests to win user engagement. You can also learn how to come up with a successful content marketing strategy by reading about The Atlantis Resort’s Twitter contest. They held a social media contest when the band Emblem was performing. In only three days, Atlantis gained over 2,000 new followers.
8. Stay visible during the peak season
Spring is the best time to win the hearts, minds, and wallets of travelers. According to Bing’s travel research, most searches related to travel peak in April. However, it can vary depending on the weather and time zone of the country where people want to go for their vacation. Usually, the best time to feature cruises is in January, beaches throughout spring and summer, and theme parks in winter and summer vacations.
Make sure that you have a strategy ready for the peak seasons. Stay on the radar of your customers, so that they can buy from you.
9. Use Google Trends to see what’s hot
Vacation trends are changing every year. In the 1980s no American would have dared to visit Vietnam or even Thailand, but today, both these locations are popular tourist spots. On the other hand, Cuba is one of the latest tourist attractions today, when it was not even heard of only a year ago.
Be wise and use Google Trends to see which country is in demand. Become the first one to act on these opportunities so that you can grab a fair share of the market before your competitors. Google Trends is a must-have tool that predicts what’s trending and what’s dipping in the consumer search demand. You can keep an eye on the hottest travel destinations, and there will be countless opportunities once you test market response.
10. Pull some emotional triggers by posting videos
As the director of product management for Expedia Media Solutions, Wendy Olson Killion says, “Travel websites are completely functional and based on rational thinking. But travel itself is a personal and emotional experience.”
Expedia, the world’s leading online travel website, used this concept to design a marketing campaign three years ago. It was called “Find Yours.” Featuring user-generated content- mostly videos- it gave an insight into how travel changed people. Expedia tapped into the raw, emotional power of travel videos, and it turned out to be a
wildly successful strategy.
According to Killion, the campaign which ran for two months generated over 9 million Twitter impressions, 2 million Facebook likes, and more than 8,200 total YouTube video views. These are only marketing metrics. Their business saw a sudden surge and more than 22,250 airline tickets were booked within two months.
So, take some inspiration from Expedia and pull some emotional triggers in your blog’s video content.
11. Don’t forget to remarket
Traveling is a never-ending process. A travel enthusiast is most likely to start hunting for his next travel spot as soon as he gets back from his trip. In this case, remarketing can be your most valuable strategy. It ensures that a customer who has used your service makes it a point to interact with your brand again.
Remarketing has astonishing conversion rates and people who trust you as a brand, will be more receptive to future campaigns too. A returning customer has twice the chances of converting as compared to a first-time visitor. So, use the remarketing tool to make sure that travelers reach out to you while planning their next trip!
Content marketing can only be successful if you provide your target audience with the kind of content they want to see. Here’s a quick list of the type of content you should create that instantly click to a traveler:
- High-quality blog posts
- Guest posts
- Videos and pictures
- Product and service pages
Once you’re done with it on your end, try to get your hands on user-generated content as it speaks volumes about their experiences with your brand.
There is no secret behind a successful content marketing strategy. Think of your audience first and experiment. You’ll hit the jackpot soon enough!