Travel SEO and Social Media Content Development Strategies:
I’ve been working with a travel marketing client to create an effective social media and travel seo campaign. Recent research from the Journal of Travel Research has revealed that social media and blogging offer unique ways to target customer feelings and an affordable method of destination marketing:
Results revealed that major strengths of the destination were its attractions: historic charm, Southern hospitality, beaches, and water activities. Major weaknesses included weather, infrastructure, and fast-service restaurants. Qualitative results demonstrated that travel blogs are an inexpensive means to gather rich, authentic, and unsolicited customer feedback.
So whether you are promoting a travel destination in Italy, Orlando, or Hawaii, social media offers a great way to reach your unique travel customer without the downsides of interruption marketing or a mass media budget. Here are 12 content development opportunities in the travel and hotel marketing space: (Feel free to add your own in the comments section)
1) Wikipedia style entry. A wikipedia style entry will deliver high utility value, although not always the most link bait esque content. By adding colorful and capitivating vistas, useful maps, and resources.
2) Touring and Visitor Guide. Travel destination guides are extremely useful if written by actual visitors or by locals. If other content creators are chosen, this value is largely lost. Clearly needs to be visual and reviews should probably be one to three sentences. Can develop niche guides for types, intents, or budgets of traveler along most demographics. This will allow you to really set yourself apart in the travel industry. Dividing up your options into 3 page, 5 page, and 7 page guides may be helpful for targeting users and thinking about pricing.
3) Brochure Guide. One pager, similar to what concierges pass out so that the visitor can get a quick overview of the city on one page. By wrapping that content in a visually intriguing package and give visitors a special and valuable look into your travel destination.
4) Travel destination summary. Summary of a hotel, activity, or travel destination. (300 to 600 words)
• You get bonus points for including tips and resources and perhaps a visual element beyond a photo
5) Travel Feature. This is more magazine style writing about the destination, activities, or culture of the region. If its inter-culturally different, some attempt to bridge the language and cultural barriers will be helpful. (300 to 600 words)
• Including tips and resources and perhaps a visual element about the travel or hotel destination beyond a photo
5) Maps for Travel Marketing. Maps increase the ease of Geographical Navigation. Maps and enhanced maps (added links to top 10 or 12 destinations in 3 core categories) Consider creating a Google map for the customers of your airline, hotel, or vacation destination. For instance Vanderbilt provides a great Google map for their visitors. Playing around with Google maps is surprisingly fun and can potentially be great for your bottom line.
6) Be a Resource is a Great SEO Strategy. Aggregated reviews and content (best of)
7) User Generated Marketing. Provides very unique content. Also shows users you care. User generated content (email list, comments, Ning, or Boing Boing style). Also reviews of your service will be helpful. Potential interviews with your clients by seeking them out could be helpful.
8} Be the Source and Keep it Easy. Aggregated or widgetized news of interest to your niche audience. This simplifies your customer’s life and so is perfect travel destination marketing.
9) Capturing the Story of a Travel Destination. Edgy or opinionated travel writer. This falls under or at least can be grouped with the feature above. I guess this is personalized or edgy features.
10) Video is the Future of Social Media and Travel SEO. Video travel journal or review ads unique personal take on a particular vacation or travel destination.
11) Mobile integration. Tips delivered by mobile automatically or by request can be a unique form of travel marketing which helps leverage lifestyle marketing.
12) More Link bait ideas-Links to ipod tracks they can listen to on their mp3 player and language resources. Serves as lifestyle marketing.
Particularly in the case of the guides and features, its important that the reviews are spot on or at least feature a diversity of views about a locale. Intrinsically the more value you deliver, the more talkable your travel destination is and more value your customer is likely to give back to you.
These new efforts offer the opportunity to launch:
• new social networks around your travel destination.
• repurpose some old content for customer service and marketing
• and add partnerships with other travel destinations in the area
International Language Translation has an Incredible Value Add for Travel Social Media
Also, now that you have your content, language translation of your website at an affordable rate can be a HUGE value add to your customers and your business. The travel industry is all about being multicultural, multilingual, and global. This is also a very unique area in which you can create a nice competitive advantage over competitors.
Brand Experience for Better Travel and Destination Marketing
Total consumer experience is sin qua of extraordinary destination marketing. Travel customers are interesting in both comprehensive travel experience and that experience begins with your website. One part of the experience, especially in this down time is the affordability factor. People on tighter budgets are cutting corners on the travel fluff and looking for genuine value. They want travel destinations to deliver a complete travel experience on a budget. Popular travel websites like Farecast and Yapta get this fundamental driver of consumer behaviour. Major brands like Kayak and Sidestep are likewise on board with these recession based travel trends. The better your company does of providing budget price points which meet the customer needs, the better you will be able to success in the recession. Providing those price point options online can help facilitated a seamless customer experience for your customers online.
Travelers also want a customized experience. They don’t necessarily want a blank slate, because often we get overwhelmed by the parketplace of choice. Anyone who as staired for minutes on in the cereal aisle or Blockbuster knows this experience. Tourists need quality, helpful recommendations about their entire trip. This is the best way to ensure that your customers experience quality at every step along their travel journey. Touring websites like Inside Trip, Seat Guru, Open Table, and Zicasso get the importance that customers place on a customized experience. A tailored and customer service rich vacation is inevitably going to create better travel experience and more positive word of mouth behind your brand.
Direct and honest product comparisons drive trust and sales. Travel customers need and want product comparisons. This nicely dovetails with their desire for a customized travel experience. By providing comparisons you can save your customers time and set their minds at ease. One of the reason the mega-travel websites do so well is that they aggregate the information all in one place and provide direct price comparisons for the consumer. For instance travel sites like TV Trip, Trip Kick, and Trip Advisor know that customers really want this type of comparison and add to your overall brand value and customer relation experience.
One prime issue travels are looking for is uniqueness. People travel because they want to get away from normalcy and responsibility. Helping them getting way from normalcy by making your destination unique. I Escape and Unusual Hotels of the World help customize and provide a unique and engaging experience for travelers who are in search of an exotic experience that is outside the usual travel destination box.
Will revisit this post soon….hopefully What is your best travel seo and marketing tip? Where do you see social media moving in the hotel and travel industry?