Travel marketers worldwide are acutely aware of the challenge around creating content that not only inspires but engages and converts an audience.

They’re also acutely aware that video by far outweighs other content formats to achieve this. Some 66% of travellers watch travel-related videos when thinking about a trip (Google), 57% of travellers are more likely to book a hotel after seeing a video of the property (Expedia) and, staggeringly, video content generates 1200% more shares than text and image-based content combined (Wordstream).

But creating video can be an expensive exercise and can still fail to achieve the engagement and conversion you’ve been betting on, particularly in a cluttered digital world where brands have cottoned on to the importance of video in their marketing.

According to Hubspot, 85% of businesses now use video as a marketing tool, with more than 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute (Hootsuite). It’s a hungry beast with an insatiable appetite that needs to be fed, daily!

So, what’s the secret to visual content that grips your audience?

The answer lies in a golden triangle, according to Reel Stories founder Nidha Narrandes. The recipe, quite simply, is Authenticity, Brand Collaboration and Entertainment Value. Tick these boxes and your content will inspire, engage with and convert someone to travel.

Delivering authenticity

If we had a dollar for every time we heard the word “authentic” in travel marketing, we’d all be chilling on a tropical island living our best lives. But it happens to be the first criteria in our golden triangle (of course) so here’s our attempt to share a practical explanation of how “authenticity” translates into compelling content.

Capture the essence of a place, a person, an experience through visual storytelling showcasing “real people”, “real experiences” and “real moments”. Your content must accurately reflect what you’re promoting, not a veneer thereof. This means showing your audience what they can expect when they arrive, thus creating a sense of trust, relatability and transparency.

Everybody has a unique story to tell and there are golden nuggets in these, so we always ask our clients to tell us about their business from beginning to end. There are stories in your successes and failures which people want to know about. These can be turned into beautiful stories if you just look for them

says Narrandes

Take a coastal destination for example. Beyond the beautiful beaches, the stories of the fishing communities, the fishermen, how the traditions have been passed through the generations. As a content creator and traveller, I want to be on that boat with him, hear about his struggles and what makes his fish special. When you tell stories like that, it compels people to visit and be part of it.

Special Tip: By collaborating with like-minded brands, businesses can tap into each other’s respective loyal audience bases, reach new audience and create compelling visuals that showcase their destination or experience. Selecting the *right* brand whose audiences and ethos aligns well with your target market segment is essential.

Entertainment value

None of us got into travel to sit uninspiringly behind a desk, right? Travel is all about creating memorable experiences, and your visual content should reflect that. Content that entertains and educates is more likely to be shared, which increases your visibility.

So, what does that look like? It must be easy to consume and be visually appealing. Your audience must be able to understand quickly what you’re trying to convey – within a few seconds, in fact. From funny memes to striking drone footage of epic landscapes, storytelling is vital when creating an emotional connection with your viewers.

Don’t be afraid to use humour and keep it short and sweet. With most viewers’ attention spans shortening, you may struggle to keep them engaged with lengthy videos, particularly on social media platforms where reels of 15-30 seconds, and even shorter, perform best.

Special Tip: Trending music can be used to great effect in video content to create an emotional response and increase virality of your video content. Choose music that fits the tone and mood of your video.

Lastly, but most importantly, there’s one golden rule in addition to your golden triangle. Many brands create content that talks about themselves, but unless you’re creating content that is valuable for the audience – what they care about – it’s not going to be nearly as effective.

The biggest problem a lot of travel brands face is psychological. They’re stuck in this old era of advertising where a brand would produce a TV ad and pump up the volume as much as possible by paying for more people to see it. “We need to move away from that and focus on the consistent delivery of the golden triangle for compelling content in the long-term. If you’re playing the long game and focusing on consistency, you will see results,” Narrandes concludes.

Tourism marketing and sales teams are stretched thinly responding to the pent-up demand for travel, so playing the long game means understanding and leveraging your highest value, then letting technology take care of the rest, Paul de Waal, WETU CEO explains.

Those brands that are qualifying their leads and structuring their teams to help each individual focus on the role they perform best within the workflow of servicing that enquiry will perform best in the long term, particularly as demand rises and the capacity issue persists.

Wetu plays an important role in enabling the tourism and travel community to share, curate and use visual assets so that teams enhance their efficiency while delivering a visually appealing travel value proposition to the end client that will inspire them to travel

adds de Waal.

Our entire tourism eco-system has a role to play in this. It starts with tourism product investing in compelling visual content leveraging the golden triangle method, then making it easily available to their trade partners who then use the technology at their disposable, like Wetu, to curate, create and inspire.

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