Everyone who works in travel marketing knows that, at its core, it’s about selling a dream. Most people can only go on holiday once or twice a year, and they may do a lot of shopping around before they settle on a deal, but reading about holidays and looking at pictures that make them feel as if they’re there has year-round appeal. Give them those things – the holiday dream that gets them through day to day – and they’ll keep coming back to your site. Then, when they’re ready to book, you’ll be their first choice.
This is where content marketing comes in. Unlike other forms of marketing, it’s about building up a narrative and developing a voice that your customers can connect with. It lets you establish expertise and industry leadership whilst appealing to customers in a very natural way. It can boost your SEO without any need for the keyword cramming that upsets search engines, and it will naturally improve your rankings.
Content marketing is a valuable strategy if you’re selling a lot of similar products and services and want to cultivate repeat customers. It’s perfect for the travel industry because even if you shift your focus between different destinations over time, all the articles you accumulate will continue to strengthen your SEO, attract prospective customers and sell you as a holiday expert.
Content marketing for travel, tourism and hospitality
There are many different types of business in the travel sector, but for general operators, the most effective content will fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Location. You’ll struggle to compete with official marketing boards when it comes to countries, but they’re still worth mentioning as this will boost your natural SEO and will increase the frequency with which you show up in search queries at the next level: regions, cities and towns. Articles on these subjects are the most likely to attract potential customers, but you’ll need to deliver something original and different if they’re going to stand out from the competition.
- Activities. After deciding which area they’re interested in visiting, most people then search to see what kind of activities they can enjoy there. This doesn’t just mean active activities, such as kayaking or horseback riding, but also things such as visiting museums and lying on the beach. Articles on these subjects, linking them closely to the location, constitute an area where smaller businesses can compete more effectively with the big players as there are still a lot of angles that are relatively unexplored.
- Accommodation. Holidaymakers want to be confident that they can stay somewhere that meets their expectations, which vary from person to person, so you should not normally write only about five-star hotels. If you don’t sell packages that include accommodation, consider cross-promotions with people who do. If you’re not sure which accommodation you will be using, try to give readers an overview of what’s available in the area.
If your business focuses on a single location or activity, you can also attract attention to your site by running news stories to keep people up to date on related issues. These are particularly popular with search engines and make it easier to update frequently so that you keep your ranking high.
Remember that content doesn’t necessarily need to be about holidays. People will also come to your site if you have articles about subjects such as the history, architecture or cuisine of particular regions. These are still valuable visits because most people book a holiday at some point, and they may keep coming back if you have other material that interests them. They may also be sufficiently intrigued to start thinking about visiting the region straight away, in which case you can quickly convert them into customers.
If you plan to write your own content, you will need to make sure that you thoroughly research each area you’re writing about, because mistakes could be bad for your reputation. Remember that in order to be useful to readers, your content will need to say something original, so you can’t just copy what you find elsewhere. Speak to local agents and operators to get useful information, and make sure it’s up to date.
Many travel sector businesses prefer to commission content because, whilst it costs money, it saves a lot of time and trouble. Bringing in professional writers also helps because of the importance of using language that customers will find appealing.
Engaging with customers
Using your travel content to start conversations with customers and get them talking to each other through the comments section is a great way to encourage people to develop a personal connection to your site. When people start sharing their travel experiences, this also creates valuable content. You can encourage engagement by running polls, which double as useful ways to get feedback that will help you understand your customers better.
Content marketing and the travel sector are a natural fit. By inviting your customers to connect all year round with the things that remind them of those precious weeks away, you can position your business as the first that they will think of when the time comes to choose their next holiday.