The new face of product content is targeted, focused and detailed, and it’s designed to make your brand stand out above the rest. It asks travel brands to arouse the right kind of interest, highlight their suitability, and guide clients or agents towards making informed decisions. We no longer sell our wares just for the sake of it – we want to be ideally matched. In the age of the personalised travel experience, it’s about the right product offering for the relevant traveller type and about the right clients for the special interests you cater to.
Focusing on trend
There are quite a few popular trends in tourism creating opportunities for travel brands to explore and expand the scope of their marketing potential. Those trends that influence travel decisions present you with criteria according to which you can define your brand and/or particular aspects of your offering.
Travellers looking for immersive experiences don’t want vague references to generic products that may or may not interest them – they want to be convinced that since they’re solo travellers intent upon exploring your town from a different perspective with some authentic rural activities and local living, the products you’re promoting were designed specifically with their interests in mind.
The key, therefore, lies in tailoring your content to project the brand image that would attract the clientele best suited to it – this entails your use of text and imagery, as well as how you sell yourself to trade partners.
For sure, anyone that creates tours will be moved to include your product(s) in personalised client itineraries based on how accurately they can match up what you offer with what their client needs. Put this in the context of competition in your destination, then that targeted representation of your product and how favourably it compares to the rest, are what gets your brand picked. The reverse is true if you’re prepared to be overlooked or throw your fate in with the same old way of doing things. So keep an eye on those trends and identify which of those you can cater to, and clearly communicate that in your marketing material.
Get to know the events and festivals that take place in your destination, take note of when they happen, and promote your brand around those too. Understand the nature of the traveller types taking to travel in their numbers, so that you can identify how your product(s) suit their particular needs.
Fortunately, all destinations are multi-dimensional; so you can pitch your brand in a range of ways.
It does mean of course that you look a little further than your own doorstep and incorporate the vicinity with all it has to offer the traveller as part of your appeal. That’s you doing your bit for destination marketing and tapping travel trends for compatibility.
Focusing the last minute shopper
Speaking of knowing thy client, the millennial and family traveller as it happens, are the 2 major traveller types we’ve studied that seem to look out for those last minute deals – not necessarily because they’re looking for bargains, but this is actually part of their travel buyer persona.
There may be others who like to wait until close to travel time before they purchase, whether it’s the weather in-destination that concerns them or a bit of instant gratification they’re after.
How you draw in these travellers depends on the special offers you promote – again targeted in terms of interest, season, or added value. To trade partners looking to grab some of this business, it helps to be able to equally grab your product from among a host of others in your area because you’ve presented it in a way that leaves no doubt in the mind.
The way you depict your offering should be highly visual, especially if you’re aiming to impress millennial travellers, and it’s a bonus if your content is easily shareable online. The most obvious reality of this type of traveller has to do with time: if they’ve made up their mind to travel at the last minute, there probably isn’t time for a drawn-out decision-making process. With targeted content you make it a lot easier for operators to find your specials at the right time for the right client, and make their proposal in double quick time.
The call for languages
It’s a buyer’s market and your prospective buyers are speaking all sorts of languages. Can you accommodate them? All you need do is show the international traveller a bit of courtesy and invite their interest (and trust) in the shape of your content in their language.
It’s a one-time investment in the relationships you can expect to develop with existing or past clients (to convert them into repeat clients) as well as with potential clients. The demand exists and it’s here to stay. Increasingly, your trade partners are also heeding the call for itineraries in their clients’ native language where possible.
It supports their cause knowing they can access your product content in the same languages that they want to create those client proposals.
Consider the dilemma they have when they need your type of product in their itinerary in Spanish: they’ll have a couple of suitable brands to choose from in your destination but let’s say only 1 of them has a content translation into Spanish available. If the rest of the itinerary is in full Spanish, which brand are they likely to choose? It’s just another way to pip the competition to being first choice, purely because you’ve made it easier for the agent trying to personalise a client itinerary. And it puts your brand into a collaboration with trade partners to actively market your experiences and destination to a bigger audience.
Supporting Business Intelligence
You do this for yourself as much as you do it for the trade at large – business intelligence in travel is about fostering a system of organised information that should ultimately enable better business decision-making. It ensures seamless connections between traveller, tour operator and your supplier products.
Ultimately, the hope is to be able to outsmart & out-deliver competitors, while proactively addressing customer needs.
The challenge of content as a business intelligence tool lies in providing that missing link between what you know of your product – the details we don’t show the travelling public, but that impact hugely on making the right choice for them – and what the trade perceives.
In the best case scenario, trade partners send their consultants on site inspections and educationals to your premises to learn in person about your offering.
The best way to sell an experience is to have the experience.
But what about those that can’t? Resources, time, capacity, lack of proximity, money are all reasons that some are unable to gain firsthand experience of the products they (may) sell. Then it becomes a problem where out of sight means out of mind, and out of the sale.
Your content has to be structured and presented in such a way that you highlight and classify the special interests and theme categories, seasonal activities, special rates or offers, as well as details of amenities (do you offer free WiFi?) and facilities on-site, proximity to airports, and room types, all the way to stating classifications such as star grading based on tourism regulation. It assists your trade partner with a way to take a data selection approach and almost quantify your suitability for a client itinerary in the pre-planning stage. If they have these details to compile their BI like an enhanced product inventory list, they’re able to conduct fast, targeted searches and find what they need quite simply.
No spending hours online looking at generic information that might display differently across different platforms; no guessing at the suitability of a product. And when it’s a good alternative to a first choice they want, this inventory is a quick reference that shows them how your brand compares with other preferred suppliers of the same sort.
With product classification, your brand and offerings acquire a kind of consistency in that what your trade partners see, truly is what they get.
It’s the perfect match up with the type of holiday they’re trying to market, a perfect match to the personalised client itinerary they’re trying to sell, and a way to potentially put your brand in the running to form part of new product development.
It’s the missing link you offer them to effect efficient content management through easy access – a way to ultimately support smarter business decisions that require less time and effort to make.
Targeted content on digital tap
Might I suggest that digital is the information substitute for traditional site inspections? When you create intelligence around your content including the various classifications, the easiest and most convenient format to provide quick access must be online. For one thing, if it’s centralised it’s easier for you or anyone in your organisation to edit and update. Changes are instantaneous and immediately visible wherever anyone else accesses it. Offering a special to folks attending a local festival in your area in 3 months’ time? Easy to find and easy to use make it easy to select and sell. No need to create a brand new fact sheet for that purpose to email out to everyone you think might want to know. Then what about those operators that have never used your brand before?
If the information is centralised and in a format that can be accessed online, directly from the tours consultant’s computer while they work, you empower your re-sellers with a super efficient content value add. Your flagged classifications and defined features are what facilitate a targeted search and find function for them to drop the corresponding products directly into their itineraries. Think of it as offering the trade a virtual but comprehensive educational on the nature of your products in a way that helps them make sense of the disparate mass information that exists in the online travel content space.
Beautiful, visual content is what makes the product attractive. If you do that already, fabulous! Keep your momentum going, stay consistent, and your brand will become synonymous with quality content. Now, give your content context and jazz it up a wee bit with some business intelligence savvy. Remember that information is power – the number 1 tool in your bag of marketing tricks. Reliable, current and targeted content is what makes the sale easier.