Marketing

Travel writing 102: Publishing valuable content

Travel writing 102: Publishing valuable content

Nobody wants to read through pages and pages of text to answer a simple question. Let’s face it, nobody will anyway. If a potential customer lands on your page and doesn’t get what they’re looking for within 10 seconds, they’ll bounce (to your competitor’s site, no doubt).

This is why all your travel content needs to valuable — but don’t confuse value with quantity. Rather consider valuable content as that which meets the needs of your customer in a specific moment.

Think of your target customer, Mrs Mom:

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Mrs Mom wants to book a December family holiday for her family — her husband, her teenage daughter and her twin toddlers. Her family needs a break, with some adventure thrown in. Her husband would appreciate the opportunity to go deep sea fishing, while her teenager would be happy with days of sunbathing. For herself, Mrs Mom wants a hassle-free holiday with some me-time, so she would definitely look for places with childcare facilities.

The first thing Mrs Mom does is hop onto Google to begin her research, which, according to the sales funnel, will follow these steps:

1) I-want-to-get-away

Mrs Mom is in the ‘dreaming phase’ of her buying journey. She’s exploring holiday ideas and destination options with no firm plans in mind. How do you meet her needs in this moment with valuable content?

Consider what Mrs Mom’s search terms would be during this phase:

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Your top-of-the-funnel content here should be designed around Mrs Mom’s search terms and focus on inspiration. Blog posts work well during this stage and can take the form of listicles, comparative articles, visual-heavy content or even user-generated posts (perhaps you’ve hired an influencer to blog about her recent sponsored family vacation).

Mrs Mom clicks on a link to your blog: 10 Reasons Why Mauritius is Best for Family Beach Holidays

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You’ve successfully attracted Mrs Mom to your content and now you need to deliver on her needs. She will scan your blog for value, so make sure you’ve broken up your text with subheadings that speak directly to the unique selling points of the subject (in this case, Mauritius).

For example, valuable content in this scenario would include some, or all of the following keywords in your subheadings:

  1. Family-friendly resorts
  2. Adventure activities
  3. Relaxation
  4. Spas
  5. Easy travel logistics

If your content has done its job correctly, Mrs Mom will have decided on Mauritius as her family holiday destination, and will move further down the sales funnel.

2) Time-to-make-a-plan

‘Planning moments’ happen when your potential customer has chosen a destination. They are looking for the relevant dates, the right flight, the best place to stay, and all the things they will do while they are there.

Now that Mrs Mom has decided on Mauritius, she needs to work out the details. She still needs to decide if she wants an all-inclusive package or not. Perhaps she’s considering island hopping. Your blog would ideally have hyperlinked to these options, but if Mrs Mom didn’t follow your leads, you can still meet her needs in her new search.

Consider what her search terms would be during this stage:

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At this point, your content can start introducing products. But rather than aggressively pushing prices and packages, use this stage of Mrs Mom’s buying journey to continue nurturing her as a lead.  

Comparative articles are particularly valuable during this phase.

Think: Île aux Cerfs or Grand Baie? Which Mauritius destination is best for families?
Or even: Club Med vs. Beachcomber — we review the top family resorts in Mauritius

For travel brands, valuable content during this planning stage must include information related to affordability (perhaps one resort is four-star but a nearby five-star resort includes free childcare services), logistics (travel times, best time to go, getting around, etc) and travel regulations (visas, etc).

If you’ve given Mrs Mom what she needs in this moment and effectively nurtured her as a lead, she’ll be ready to book her Mauritius trip, which gives you an opportunity to meet her in the next stage.

3) Let’s-book-it

It’s time to punt your product. Let’s say that Mrs Mom has decided on an all-inclusive package to Mauritius. Well done. You’ve provided Mrs Mom with the right balance of inspiration and value to bring her to this point. There’s no need to waste more of her time. Get in there with solidly structured product content and make the sale!

For travel brands, valuable product content should be pared down to the most necessary information. For each all-inclusive Mauritius package you’re promoting, be sure to include the following:

Rate: per person sharing or per room

Length of stay: number of nights at the destination

Inclusions: details like flights, breakfast and any other awesome extras Mrs Mom is getting

4) Can’t-wait-to-explore

stil-336189.jpgNow that you’ve made the sale, your content needn’t dry up. As Mrs Mom nears her departure date, you can still continue to provide value. This is your chance to create highly shareable content that not only provides Mrs Mom with value for her upcoming trip, but gives her bragging rights on her social media channels (and gives your brand some much-envied word-of-mouth exposure). Consider infographics, flat-lay images and packing lists, tips on managing long-haul flights with kids, and local entertainment guides.

And whatever content you do create, don’t forget these golden rules:

1) Be there:
You can't win if you're not in the game. Identify the micro-moments for travellers that fit your business, then commit to being there when they happen.

2) Be quick: Consumers are making decisions faster than ever before. Write short, easily digestible copy with comfortable white space.

3) Be clear: Cognitively, a paragraph is a complete thought. If that thought is too long, the reader becomes impatient and moves on. Short, to-the-point paragraphs draw the eye in a predictable rhythm through the article.


For more delicious content inspiration, dip your hand into the Candy jar, here.


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