What evolves tourism are the different trends reflecting traveller interests and demands. In a year of trends, now is as good a time as any to consider how you’ve evolved your brand and adapted to the diverse tastes and needs driving tourism. With content bearing your brand identity, have you used the tools at your disposal to hit the markets you wanted? We hold up a mirror to your efforts to celebrate how you’ve triumphed and what lessons are still to be learnt to achieve your business aspirations.

How have you competed in the online content space?

When we talk about digital content, we’re really inviting a conversation about competition: how your brand compares and competes with similar service providers and travel products for attention. There are plenty of choices among the content portals and 3rd party sites that can host your product content online, but how easy have you made it for your trade partners to use that content in their proposals and their own marketing collateral?

If there’s a lot of cutting/copying and pasting required, getting permission to use content, requesting updated content, those are barriers you can easily remove for them.

👈🏽Your content is super easy for them to access in Content Central and manage in their Consultant Portal where trade partners – tour operators, DMCs and travel agents – have identified you as a preferred supplier.

You should be keeping it fresh and attractive, optimise your content rating and do regular updates, so that your products are easier to select and sell. Set your brand apart from the rest – that’s being competitive and top of mind! How deep is the detail of your product content?

To be credible and reliable is to produce and present quality content that is always easy to find.

Competition for attention within the travel inspiration space online gets rougher all the time and if you’re not hitting the sweet spots where travellers are looking for it, sourcing reviews and endorsements from peers and influencers, then you’re missing opportunities.

Have you utilised your content effectively to manage your brand reputation? Digital links to your sales and marketing collateral should be everywhere on travel websites and social media, easy to click on and consume. As for engagement, you should be retaining consumer attention for longer to improve your chances of making a sale. Interactive content is the way to go – there’s nothing like giving your audience the instant gratification of accessing your content at the click of a mouse; except maybe empowering them with the choice of what content they’d like to focus their attention on.🖱

Finally, have you got the 20:80 ratio correct?

Best practices for online shopping, travel in particular, suggest rich, vivid, emotional, relevant, visual content, with lower demand on the consumer to read. Also less chance of boring anyone to sleep.

You can have all the details prospective clients might want, give them the choice to consume that info, but balance the content offering with plenty of pictures, colours, moving imagery (video, VR) to seduce the senses. Are you winning the content contest with your competitors? If you find your brand lagging, it’s a good idea to revisit how proactive you’ve been getting your content in tip-top shape and in the right spaces.

What has tech done for your brand this year?

As long as a piece of string is, so far and wide your brand can go.. with technology in your toolkit. You should be deriving maximum benefit from your beautifully maintained content, not least of which are consistency and reach. The embed widget is not nearly as complicated as it might sound, even easier to use and far more versatile than preparing new content each time. It’s a time-saver too, considering any and all updates you make inside your product account translates across every platform the widget has embedded your content onto.

Have you shared the good news of that bit of code with your trade partners? They can literally just copy and paste, drop it where they want to feature your products on their website. You should be doing the same. It’s brand consistency with the same content represented wherever your products are featured.

Where your content fits in nicely with an operator’s own collateral, tech affords you the generosity of a re-branding option. They can add their logo to your content (and so endorse it) to embed onto their website and they can add their logo to your iBrochure or Digital Catalogue – group a choice selection of accommodation, activities/excursions and restaurants together to showcase your destination, a trend-based theme, or simply to feature your entire portfolio of products in 1. Speaking of versatile digital sales tools with reach, your iBrochure should be your primary sales and marketing tool. You should have it fully loaded with juicy, relevant content and just as importantly, you should be pushing it out to the world at every opportunity.

Leave it sitting there like something that’s just pretty to have is an injustice to your brand. Do all your trade partners know you’ve got one? Do they know everything they could possibly ever want to know about your products is contained in this single source of information? Do they even know it’s available for them to use in their itineraries, making them look amazing and impressing everyone who sees them? You should let it speak for your brand before and after trade shows, when you’re out of the office and unable to attend to content requests..

In fact, that should be a thing of the past: content requests are a waste of everyone’s time and it’s just not necessary any longer.

Anyone who accesses your iBrochure should be assured they’ve got your latest, best stuff right there, at their fingertips.

Your brand should be ubiquitous – visible everywhere – and that’s the power of the link. It’s your digital representative that doesn’t require you to physically be present in all corners of the globe, 24/7, outside or inside of your normal office hours. And the Book Now/Enquire Now button should serve as that direct link between you and the traveller who has just decided to purchase your offering. No barriers to the sale.

Links can go on social media, on newsletters, on email signatures, on website or blog footers, in the body of an email, even on WhatsApp!

In the final analysis, it means you have more time to do other things – the real work of marketing your products and destination; taking new pictures for your image gallery or producing more videos to match new trends; meeting people and developing new collaborations within the trade; engaging with travellers in the social sharing space; crafting new offerings and designing new specials; researching trends that resonate with your brand. All those things you need to do to grow your brand.

How have you adapted your content to trends?

Your products cannot exist in a vacuum, an entity promising wonderful experiences that may or may not have anything to do with what travellers are looking for wherever they choose to travel to. You should incorporate growing trends into your offering and communicate clearly how relevant your brand is to the prospective clients you hope to attract. Have you found resonance with any of the past year’s trends in travel? Trends like road tripping, niche tourism (which we’ll take a closer, in-depth look at), events and festivals, family travel; as well as photography, urban tourism, and the big one, solo travel.

You should have taken these trends to heart and factored them into your sales/marketing collateral, filled your iBrochure with activities corresponding to trends and special interests, even if just to provide thorough information on what your destination has on offer. Have you added any special offers around upcoming events or for solo travellers? And don’t let the foodie travellers down – whet their appetites with all your dining options on show. Have you translated your content to benefit multilingual markets?

As it happens, operators are pitching proposals in their clients’ native languages in increasing numbers; so they’ll be looking out for supplier content to fit naturally into those translated itineraries.

You should definitely provide updated maps and clear directions to and from your premises, to make travel easier for road trippers wanting to explore your area.

Finally, have you added the human touch? Clients want to know there are people working the brand, that they are approachable and caring. Your staff video added to your iBrochure fixes that. Humanising your brand makes people feel more comfortable to buy into your offering. Simple solutions that promote credibility, accessibility and reliability in 1 digital swoop!

Why work harder to achieve all those things when you can work smarter, right?

The challenge, as always, remains to be seen, found and used in the sale. But you want to achieve more than that, surely. You want to be a brand that’s reputable and recognised as on top of your game, on trend, and in tune with what travellers want. It’s well within your grasp to reach a global audience with technology drawing your expertise and content into focus; so that you can speak to trends, support the trade, and engage with travellers. The advantages of adapting your brand and content to the trends are obvious – it’s just a matter of using the tools at your disposal. And accept tech as your vehicle of change.

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