The evolution of the modern traveller dictates regular reinvestment in the way travel products are produced, presented and promoted. Sure, it sounds like a lot of hard work, but what’s more exciting than an industry that keeps you on your toes? It’s a transitory playground for new concepts, technological innovations and travel inspirations – don’t expect travel to be dull!
Tourism Marketing is the ultimate winner and the traveller is its gold medal conquest.
We’ve gone on mad tangents about what goes into your offerings and how travel is now a buyer’s market and of course, the importance of compelling content. But doesn’t all commerce boil down to the simple principle of supply and demand? You start off with your raw product – activity, tour, accommodation, cruise, train journey – then you add the particular character and flavour that define your brand, and right at crunch point, you factor in your client.
Make no mistake, the latter is the main defining component of your final offering.
It’s what answers all those questions travellers ask themselves and muse to cyberspace about:
Have you got what they want?
Produce the experience, produce the content.
Let’s assume you’ve done sufficient research on your target market and your data analytics have painted a clear picture of who your travellers are, their likes and dislikes. You’re now ready to knead the basic ingredients of your travel product together with your consumer data, some unique services only you can offer in your particular location, along with some other diversifying selling points, value adds and/or specials. Voilà, you’ve created an experience to match your traveller’s needs! Next step: mix in the right amount of the right content. It’s an opportunity for you to let your creativity loose but know this: there is such a thing as a winning formula when it comes to travel content.
For hospitality and travel leadership, data is playing an especially crucial part in empowering employees at the operations level to create guest experiences that drive both revenue and loyalty.
I want to see what I’ll be experiencing.
I think of it as content DNA. Get the right combination together to tell your story with integrity and authenticity – a solid nod to content strategy, which is by now a staple requirement in travel marketing. And it requires you to put the traveller in the picture, so to speak, at all times.
Images Be your own photographer if you’ve got the skill, but it’s well worth investing in a professional to portray your property/product in photographic works of art. Light, colours and composition are so important! High resolution clarity is absolutely vital. And of course, they have to be optimised for digital consumption. Visual content is precious currency in travel.
Video I cannot exaggerate what a tremendous tool video is in travel. I call it Marketing gold – it’s no coincidence that shimmering, moving images attract the human eye like no other. Video allows us to inject other dimensions into the story we’re telling. With sound and movement, it has the power to mesmerise, energise and inspire in ways a still picture can’t do on its own. See for yourself.
62% of travelers want to watch videos of tours, sightseeing and cruises (as well as hotel rooms and properties).
360˚ images/film Invite prospective clients on a virtual tour of your location with this fabulous technology that puts them right on that lodge verandah or in a drone surveying stunning panoramas below in high definition. Google Street View technology now enables travellers searching your brand online to access your property and go right inside, virtually. Click above for a good look around.
Text Mind your language. A succinct, true description of what you offer is as important as it is to carefully choose the descriptive language you use to extend the narrative of your content. Do you mean to project a vibey, busy, hip and happening sort of experience? Or is it a grander, more elegant, sumptuous and high-brow sort? You can’t go wrong with a copywriter to get your content copy right.
And then translate that content.
Once again, it’s a reflection upon how well you know your clientele whether or not you bother to produce content that is accessible to all your target markets. Surely no-one’s so silly to assume everyone understands English.. (Even if I do speak some English, how nice to know I can give my business to a brand that cares enough to address me in my own language.)
Finally and crucially, the way you package your offering for public consumption has to adhere to the digital imperative. If your content can’t be accessed, consumed and distributed digitally, it’s not going to be very effective. At this stage, you must already be exploring collaborations with software providers that can put your products in the digital space to enhance the travel buyer experience.
Present the experience.
Travellers want to know you know them and their needs, and they want to know you can satisfy their tech savvy needs. The days of presenting a prospective client with paper brochure images and expecting your salesman’s gift of the gab to do the rest, are long gone and buried in travel dirt.
So is the email glut of random bathrooms pics and nondescript photo-shopped landscapes that tell no story in particular. And don’t get me started on the use of inefficient, limited image storage facilities some people rely on far too much in an industry where content needs to be refreshed and updated.
Clouds are more data-friendly that way 🙂
Seriously though, your presentations need to inspire visually and inspire confidence. People like to engage with anything cutting edge and innovative – it makes them feel secure, that they’re in good hands, that they’re being serviced by professionals on top of their game.
They want to know they’re shopping on the greener side of the fence, where expertise lives. After all, your presentation sells your brand – what you stand for and what kind of service clients can expect.
Travellers want to book and brag. An easier (than others), all-in-one comprehensive buying experience affords them those rights with the immediate ability to share socially being a huge bonus. If you offer value-add Apps that carry your story consistently across all media and throughout the travel buyer journey, this instills the kind of confidence and pride every traveller wants to have in the brand they’ve chosen to associate with.
…put the focus on proactive customer-relationship management, the kind that fuels loyalty, repeat business, and positive revenue outcomes.
Present your service as a product or as part of the product you offer by connecting your client with digital technology. It could take the shape of say, an in-room tablet your guest could use to regulate the temperature, order room service or research activities near the hotel, or perhaps a handy App that anticipates a client’s arrival.
With all sorts of travel consumer statistics pointing in the direction of the digital space, your website plays an increasingly crucial role in the way you present your content to the world.
Is your website mobile friendly?
Well, hopefully you have a website.
All I can say is: Produce for mobile. Present mobile-friendly.
Or expect the sound of crickets…
More than 148.3 million people use the Internet to make reservations for their accommodations, tours and activities…
Intelligent web design should really take your content further. It’s another investment in the health and future of your business that requires emphasis. Integrations with other technologies only serve to further your interests and ultimately, the traveller’s. Lightspeed aptly refers to it as ‘Unlocking the full value of your business, online’. Consider the benefits in the way it empowers your content:
- Good quality design will extend visual consistency across the various platforms that speak to your identity. Don’t want to look wishy-washy? Then try not to have a Facebook page that looks completely different to your website.
- SEO and User Experience (UX) considerations can direct the right kind of traffic to your site, and ultimately attract more visitors who stay on-site for longer. These are very specific skills that drill deeply into the science and psychology of Internet users and travellers. So don’t try winging this.
- Clever placement of appropriate clickable buttons and thoroughly researched Calls to Action (CTAs) generate the right kind of engagement with your content. It’s almost absurd how many studies have been done on the colours of buttons on websites – basic bread ‘n butter stuff to a good web designer.
Promote the experience.
Now that you’ve nicely packaged and presented your offering for prospective clients to consume, hopefully you’re able to connect the two fairly easily via the digital devices most commonly used.
It’s a dynamic referred to in hospitality marketing as Relationship Marketing, where the focus is to build strong loyalty and long-term engagement with a brand.
The spin-off is word-of-mouth promotion driven by satisfied consumers, both of the buying experience and the travel product.
The end goal is to develop a community of travellers/guests and having a self-perpetuating system of personalised offerings based on consumer data analytics.
Figure out what they want, create what they want, present it in a way they can relate to, then make it available to them.
What you want to achieve here is ubiquity – to be visible everywhere, all the time, on any device. Digital is the only way to do it. The right digital tools can take you there, whether it is via Apps, widgets, hyperlinks or embedded code. That narrative you want to carry across with your content can quite easily and efficiently make the journey around the world, especially when you apply those tools to the Social Media (SM) space.
Your content becomes your brand – it carries your particular style, voice, look and personality with it. That’s why it’s so important to engage in SM with those that engage with your brand and content – it’s a way to manage your reputation, yes, but also to promote your offerings. It is a bit of a popularity contest and you’d be remiss not to throw your hat into the ring (because so many of your competitors are already doing it, by the way). Where previously satisfied clients reinforce the value of your content with positive reviews or some of their priceless user-generated content (UGC), you’d be further negligent if you didn’t acknowledge them and strengthen those relationships.
In the world of the traveller, they say Content is King. In the kingdom of Content, bland, generic travel images are just an ugly old frog, and technology is the fair princess that smooches the frog. If like me, you have an aversion to warts and a desire to hop right across the globe, then get busy marketing with some techno magic: produce, present and promote Content that rocks and rules.