It’s absolutely true: if you want more travelers to notice your travel brand, you need to develop a content marketing strategy for your business.
Of course, the idea is to sell more tours. But it's also about building more meaningful relationships with your customers and providing them with valuable and inspiring content.
After all, not only are you offering tours, you are also selling dreams, stories, and memories. Giving travelers valuable and relevant information throughout the customer journey can help to grow your audience and nurture your relationships.
Ultimately, this can convince travelers to book with you over the competition.
Chris Torres, Marketing Expert and Director of the Tourism Marketing Agency, recently joined us for a webinar on this topic. Here, we share some of his insights (alongside our own) on how to build a content marketing strategy that provides value, engages your audience, and gets more bookings.
The Issue: Too Much Brand and Marketing Clutter
Chris starts by outlining an issue that he mentions in his book. And it’s something that we’re all currently facing: there is too much brand and marketing clutter out there. It makes it difficult for your customer or your target audience to select your business over everything else vying for their time.
In this sense, Chris says brands may think they are competing against the companies in their sector that offer similar products. But there are so many things people can choose to do with their time, and that's what you are actually fighting for.
How To Create A Content Marketing Strategy For Your Travel Business
1. Change Your Understanding of Your Business
To really shine amongst the brands that someone can select over yours, you need to change your mindset. Chris says to approach this by thinking of yourself as a media company that happens to sell a tourism-focused product.
Doing so will help you think about all the different marketing aspects you need to cover: the platforms you need to be on, the content you need to write, the videos you need to create. You have to put out so much media to stay relevant in front of your clients.
If you go down the route of becoming a content creator company that first sells the products and second is a tour operator, it will help you to be seen by your target audience. You'll be delivering content that inspires them to visit your destination, book your product, or take action on the lead you provide in your content.
2. Understand The Customer Journey
To create content that really resonates, you need to understand your customers' purchase journey and what motivates them.
While each person will follow a different journey that has many possibilities, here’s a general overview of what the path tends to look like:
- Dreaming moments
- Planning moments
- Booking moments
- Experiencing moments
- Sharing moments
Each of these moments has an impact on how people look for and consume content. They may seek inspiration and information in different formats from different platforms using different devices and tools.
For example, for inspiration, a person might watch YouTube videos on a destination.
They might do a Google search or turn to Airbnb to understand the accommodation and activities available at that destination.
A well-timed advert could bring the person back to your website at a later date where they look at your product in more detail, sign up for your newsletter, and join your social channels.
Once you have earned their trust, they might consider booking your tour. First, though, they might check reviews of what other people say about your business. From there, they go to your website and use your booking and payment software to complete their reservation.
When on holiday, the person might share their experience on social media and tag your tour guides, business, or destination.
All of this speaks to a critical point: it should be part of your content marketing strategy to understand where, how, and why you should be marketing at all of these touchpoints.
3. Set Clear Goals and KPIs
It helps to set clear goals to achieve with your content strategy. You should know what you want your business and audience to gain from these efforts and how to measure success (KPIs).
Ultimately, you want your content to increase your sales. But as we have already seen, there are several ways to work towards this.
A few examples could be to increase website traffic and get more engagement or followers on social media.
You could also build up search engine authority and work on gathering leads or boosting brand awareness.
4. Resource Work and Create A Content Calendar
You will need to appoint someone to take charge of content creation, curation, scheduling, and publishing for your business. If you plan on being active across various channels, there is a lot to keep track of. Laying all the scheduled posts out in an easy-to-view calendar helps to ensure that deadlines are being met and your audience stays engaged.
At this stage, you can also do some research on the topics and type of content you want to create.
5. Create Content To Inspire
Your content should inspire and earn trust to generate bookings.
Inspirational travel content could be anything from blog articles to guides, social media posts to video, downloadable PDFs to automated emails.
Avoid sales-heavy content, as this can put travelers off from engaging with your brand.
Instead, use CTAs strategically to subtly draw attention to how your company can help the person achieve their travel dreams.
6. Create Content To Build Trust
Building trust is the next important step in your content marketing strategy.
The goal here is to provide a reason for the customer to choose your business.
Content that earns trust includes positive reviews, testimonials, or automated email campaigns that create a connection with the customer.
7. Repurpose Content To Maximize Reach and Effectiveness
Now, you already know to use different marketing and communication channels to connect with your audience. But this doesn’t mean that you have to constantly churn out new content for each one.
Instead, think about finding ways to make your content go further. The goal should never be to reinvent the wheel; rather find new opportunities to grow what you've already got.
Say you create a 3-minute YouTube video on a specific destination or activity. There are several ways to repurpose this over your channels:
- Create an audio podcast episode or series from the video
- Split the video into numerous short clips to share across your social media channels
- Share still images and quotes from the video on social media
- Write a blog post based on the video content
- Create animated gifs/memes from the video content
8. Measure Success (and learn from failures)
Once you're in a position of regularly publishing content, it's time to turn back to those KPIs. Assess how your content strategy is performing, and record the results month-on-month or even week-on-week.
Doing so can highlight the areas where you are excelling and those that could use more work. Over time, you can optimize your strategy to make your content resonate even more and reach a wider audience of travelers.
Travel businesses are in a great position to grow their reach online. You've got loads of opportunities for creating exciting marketing materials that get your brand noticed.
With a clear, data-driven content marketing strategy to guide your actions, you will be in a position to drive your business forward and better serve your audience.
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