Tourism

How to better sell travel destinations

Lauren Quaintance

The Head of Content at Storyation, Lauren Quaintance, has shared with us her insights on how to nail travel content marketing like a pro, and you best believe these tips are worth noting.

Content might be the latest marketing buzzword, but travel brands were the original content marketers. From visitor guides to brochures and magazines – and now on the web – travel companies have used content to sell destinations for a hundred years or more.

But what travellers want from a holiday is changing, and that means travel content needs to change too. Not only is international travel more accessible than ever thanks to low cost carriers, easier access to visas and global devices, but travellers are getting more sophisticated.

A generation ago Australians packed up the car and spent a couple of weeks at the beach, but now we’re jetting off to Bali, Sri Lanka and Aspen, and we want more than a sun lounger and a cocktail by the pool when we get there.

There’s a growing desire for authentic and transformative experiences that provide a real contrast to traveller’s day to day lives. It might be learning to cook a rogan josh in a local’s home in New Delhi, or watching green turtles hatch on an island in Queensland.

These experiences make us feel different, as if we’ve accessed something real or unique and they also give us something to brag about to our digital friends.

A straightforward beach holiday is increasingly seen as being one-dimensional and even a little bit shallow.

Smart marketers know the best travel advertising now talks as much about people as it does about place. It focuses on the emotional journey you’ll have in a destination or the human connections you’ll make. Just take South Australia Tourism’s 2012 Kangaroo Island ad or Tourism Queensland’s latest ‘I Know Just the Place’ campaign that features real locals highlighting unexpected places in the state.

Airbnb has built their entire content strategy on the idea that travellers want more local, more authentic experiences and a sense of community. The Airbnb Neighbourhoods series is about breaking down cities suburb by suburb, recognising that you’re not just travelling to Tokyo but to Ginzu or Harajuku and their content helps you to live like a local when you get there.

The 25 best destination travel websites in the world as identified by Skift are responding to this changing landscape by shifting away from being bloated directories of travel product and becoming more editorial in style with a curated, journalistic approach and authentic tone of voice.

As well as being focused on experiences those websites are more “human” with insights from locals and a greater focus on neighbourhood level content which better reflects the nuances of a place and the kind of culture and atmosphere a traveller can expect.

There will always be a need for more practical content to help a traveller plan a trip such as information about geography, weather, flights, accommodation, but creating inspiring content that truly reflects the changing needs of travellers is a challenge marketers need to embrace.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

  • Renee Lodens

    Great insights! Thank you.

  • sting

    …it’ really funny when they talk about being human…. try to call their offices and a mechanical voice will answer…

  • John McDonald

    airbnb doesn’t work in ski resorts. You might save $5/night on accommodation, but then get no deal on lift tickets. Some Colorado ski resorts, offer up to 96.5% off ticket window prices for prebooked lift tickets, with accommodation.

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