Create the Luxury Travel Content Your Customers Really Want to See

Avatar on Nov 21, 2016. 7 min Read

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 88% of marketers rely on content marketing to grow their businesses. If you’re in marketing, you already know that — pretty much everyone today is busy building a content strategy to capture a bigger piece of the digital audience pie.

But I think we both know that as a travel company marketer, your content needs are different — your buyer’s journey is pretty unique. Unlike a customer shopping for a new car, for example, your customer is looking for information about something he or she has possibly never seen or done before.

And that means your travel content has to work harder.

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Hubspot recently surveyed online customers to see what type of content they’d like to see more of when making a purchasing decision (and the results might surprise you):

  • 44% wanted more news and informational content.
  • 33% wanted more online assessments and educational content.
  • 31% wanted more interactive tools and articles.
  • 29% wanted more long-form blogs and articles.

And — 45% said they wanted more social media interaction from brands.

So, what does this mean for the travel company marketer? For most of us, it means taking a closer look at our overall content marketing plans and re-aligning them in order to provide the type of content luxury travel customers really want to see.

Getting Social with Your Travel Customers

In my experience, there’s no doubt that social media is key to community building and engagement.

But you need good content to spark the conversation and interaction. If you don’t have anything valuable or interesting to share, you won’t get any traction pushing it on social.

Smart tour operators and travel agents leverage social’s unique strengths and use it as a way to promote their best content and engage their customers.

For example, at 10x Travel we recently crafted a thought-provoking article titled “Morzine vs Meribel: Which Is the Better Ski Resort?” for one of our customers and promoted it on their Facebook page, asking followers to weigh in on the debate.

The piece prompted a ton of social interactions, including likes, shares, and over 60 animated comments and conversations with their followers — which is exactly what good use of social is designed to do.

Remember, though: social isn’t for selling your product; it’s for positioning your brand as a trustworthy, friendly, and authentic authority on a subject your customers care about. The best social content invites followers to participate and get involved, to become part of your community.

Finally, keep in mind — to be truly valuable, your social content should do one of three things for your followers:

  • It should be useful and have great “share” value (think tips and how-tos).
  • It should give them insider knowledge and position them as someone “in the know” (think behind-the-scenes or first-to-know).
  • It should evoke emotion or tell a story (think reliving a special moment or anticipating an exciting event).
    Now that we’ve covered how to effectively use social to meet your customers’ desire for interaction, let’s look at how to create content that’s worthy of promoting on social — the content your customers want to see.

Use Informational and Educational Content to Give Them New Skills

Informational and educational content serves several important purposes for travel marketers:

  • It solves and/or overcomes a problem or pain point for your customers.
  • It positions your company as a helpful, trusted authority.
  • It gives your social followers highly shareable content that further increases your reach and engagement.

We take a focused two-step approach to answering your customers’ desire for more informational and educational content. We begin by building a customized six-part educational email course, written in a personal, conversational tone reflecting your knowledge and passion, that addresses a question, concern, or interest common to your customers.

Want to know what an email course is and how it could help your travel company generate more enquiries and bookings? You can find out more about our email course product Nurture here.

This is followed by a punchy, in-depth blog post that takes a deep dive into a topic your target audience is excited about. These blog posts have all the hallmarks of highly shareable content — emotional appeal, insider or behind-the-scenes knowledge, tips or how-tos — so they’re easy to promote across your social channels.

We find this combination is the best way to use educational content to nurture and nudge your readers further along your sales funnel, turning them from casual readers to qualified leads — and ultimately to satisfied customers and brand ambassadors who share your content on their own social accounts.

Show Them What’s New and Exciting in Your Niche

One of the easiest ways to create content luxury travel customers want to read is to add your own insights to newsworthy events in your niche. There are two ways to accomplish this:

  • You can curate a list of topical news headlines and share them with your readers in an email or blog post, or
  • You can write an opinion piece or explainer about how a topical event affects customers in your niche.

There is a wealth of easy-to-use content curation tools available for finding and sharing high-quality, relevant content with your target audience. In fact, some marketers suggest a content mix of roughly 70% original blog content and 30% curated or syndicated content is helpful for maintaining a consistent publishing schedule.

Engage Your Travel Customers with Interactive Tools

Studies suggest that interactive content (apps, quizzes, calculators, polls, assessments, etc.) are twice as effective as passive content in delivering conversions. In “Interactive Content & the Buyer’s Journey,” Oracle Marketing defines interactive content’s role in the path to purchase:

  • Awareness (“What kind of holiday will we take?”) — Polls, surveys, knowledge tests.
  • Evaluation (“Where will we go?”) — Interactive infographics, budget calculators.
  • Decision (“Who will we book with?”) — Video galleries, savings calculators, packing weight estimators.

Interactive content has the additional benefit of being highly successful on social channels, as well. Some of the best social campaigns in terms of ROI and engagement, in fact, are interactive contests (think “caption this” contests on Instagram for example, or user-generated photo contests).

Here’s a list of interactive content tools you can explore to help you get started creating interactive content.

Show, Don’t Tell, with Video

Contently recently published some eye-popping statistics on video:

  • Video engagement overall is up 255% over the past year.
  • Instagram’s video engagement in particular is up 622% over the past year.
  • Video sharing is up 140% over the past two years.

Video content, from a six-second Vine to a two-minute cameo or video tutorial and even a 15-minute interview or feature, is uniquely suited to luxury travel customers — and it’s effective just about anywhere you post it (your blog, your website, your social channels). You also have the option of reaching a larger audience when you host it on a platform such as YouTube. Best of all, perhaps, is that it’s equally well consumed on both mobile and desktop devices.

Do keep in mind, however, that not every content purpose is best met with video — there are definitely times when your audience would prefer to skim an article or extract information from a detailed data sheet.

Some great video content ideas for the travel audience might include:

  • How to measure and pack a carryon bag for a weekend adventure.
  • A series of video shorts about what a typical day on safari is like.
  • A day-in-the-life or behind-the-scenes look at a key staff member at a resort or camp.
  • A video gallery of the sights on a bicycle tour through Tuscany.
  • An interview with someone recently returned from a volunteer tour.

Win at Visuals with Great Infographics

Infographics make up the third leg of the visual marketing stool (the others being photos and videos). In fact, a survey from the CMO Council showed that 87% of marketers considered infographics either critical or important to their overall content marketing strategy; just 13% considered them “unimportant.”

And when it comes to social shares, infographics beat out all other types of content, in some cases by as much as 300%. They are more likely to go viral than just about all other content types, as well.

The key to a great infographic is choosing the right topic — and backing it up with some well-researched and thought-provoking statistics like the ones we put together about gap year travel for one of our clients.

You can get even more social traction for your infographic if you can piggyback a travel concept with a trending topic; tools like BuzzSumo and Google Trends are helpful for getting your creative juices flowing.

If you hit a roadblock brainstorming ideas for a great infographic, these tips are good for inspiration:

  • Mine your website — can your FAQs be turned into a visual display? Do you have research about the destinations you represent that might be converted into an infographic?
  • Look at your most popular blog posts, especially if you’ve published any top-10 lists or other type of “listicle” content. These can usually be converted to infographic form fairly easily.
  • Do you have any presentations, webinars, or slide decks you use to educate your customers? You can usually repurpose a lot of this content for infographics.
  • Take a look at your outbox and see if there are certain types of questions you answer more often than others, or bits of information your customers request a lot. You can get a good bit of insight about what’s driving your customers’ curiosity just by rereading your outgoing emails.

Most infographics fall into one of two types: Informative or entertaining, although the best manage to combine a bit of each.

If you don’t have a designer on staff, don’t stress — you can still create compelling infographics on your own with a little research and these free or low-cost DIY infographic tools. This guide by CoSchedule also offers some great step-by-step tips for professional results.

Putting Your Travel Content to Work

Getting the right content, whether it’s an instructional email course or a deep-dive blog post, is just the beginning for turning your website into a sales machine. Fresh content, published on a consistent basis (and optimized for SEO) not only grows your casual traffic, it helps you reach those customers who are actually wallet-out and ready to buy.

Hopefully, these ideas will help you get out of your content box and into a more productive zone when it comes to creating and promoting the high-performing content your travel customers really want to see.

Of course, if you’d like to turbocharge your content marketing and get more bookings fast with a custom email course to rev up lead generation — let’s have a chat.

About The Author

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Co-founded 10x Travel in 2012 to help ambitious tour operator businesses get more bookings online with a consistent, automated sales process they could rely on.

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