The travel and tourism industry has seen a complete digital revolution over the last ten years. Long gone are the days of flicking through mountains of travel brochures to book your summer trip. Most consumers are now online-savvy and are not afraid of hunting for a bargain, which has forced the market to up its digital game.
But it’s not all bad news: to help combat this fundamental change to the way the market operates, the travel industry has changed its focus from aspirational to inspirational, and its content marketing is leading this transformation.
But what does great travel content marketing do and how can your business achieve it? We've pulled together some great examples of inspirational digital campaigns to help you see how it can be successful.
Capitalise on your positive reviews
TripAdvisor is seen as a necessary evil by most travel companies: with no control over content on the site, they feel somewhat held at its mercy.
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company took a different approach to their TripAdvisor presence and decided to use their five-star reviews to create original videos that relayed exactly what the visitors had written.
Why did it work?
The stunning videos brought to life the words on the screen, turning the reviewers into screenwriters and their written experiences into colours, images and movement. The videos featured on the Puerto Rico Tourism Company's TripAdvisor page allowed users to witness real-life experiences.
The fact that the reviews were from previous holidaymakers helped to build trust with their audience, both onsite and on TripAdvisor itself.
Face your challenges head-on
Norway has one problem when it comes to summer holidays: rain – and lots of it.
Instead of masking the inclement weather, Norwegian airline Widerøe decided to embrace it in a fantastic content marketing campaign – "a summer without rain.
The airline challenged two travel bloggers to explore the country for 20 days without experiencing a single drop of rain. The boys vlogged their experiences and uploaded all their activity to the Widerøe social channels.
This allowed their audience a real-time view of where the boys were and an up-to-the-minute update of the dreaded weather. These channels also gave followers the chance to directly communicate with the boys and even help them with their challenge.
Why did it work?
Most travel companies attempt to gloss over the less glamorous parts of their holiday experience. Widerøe, on the other hand, decided to go against this rule and tackle their major challenge head-on. The result was a tongue-in-cheek adventure that poked fun at Norway’s flaws whilst simultaneously highlighting the most beautiful parts of the country and all it has to offer – all in brilliant sunshine.
Tap into your audience's emotions
Matt Harding has become 'internet famous' for his wonderful videos in which he dances badly all over the world. The simple five-minute YouTube clips show Matt dance in front of famous monuments, in towns and villages with locals, and even underwater.
The United States Tour Operators Association asked Matt to challenge them, stating they could send him anywhere. The result is one of Matt’s classic videos, but each one highlights different tour operators they work with.
Why did it work?
The last couple of years have seen an increase of travel alerts, deterring people from travelling to exotic destinations and causing damage to the travel industry. USTOA used this video to help the audience tap into the human element of travelling the world and experiencing different cultures without fear.
Matt says his experiences have taught him that "the world is a lot safer and friendlier than it seems on TV". This short social-friendly video has gained over 500,000 views on YouTube, and has made it into Matt’s top video list on his own YouTube channel.
Understanding your audience's motivations
Whether it’s a British break, a two-week holiday, or a backpacking across a different continent, holidays let us break away from our everyday lives and allow ourselves to relax.
Great travel content marketing needs to appeal to that feeling of freedom we experience when we go on holiday – it should tap into our emotions and feed our sense of adventure.