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September 8, 2014

Guide to travel content marketing: part two

PART TWO: USING YOUR ASSETS WISELY AND WIDELY

As traditional marketing methods lose their impact, travel content marketing becomes more important. Are you using it, and are you creating the right travel content to market your business? Here, in the second of our five-part cut-out-and-keep monthly series, Melt Content’s Dan Hart guides you through the process of travel content marketing, from devising your plans to assessing their results. Last month he defined travel content marketing and explained its benefits; this month he discusses how to make the most of your assets.

What is an asset?

By definition, an asset is a useful or valuable thing or person. When it comes to content marketing, that really means anything which can help you achieve your content production goals. It can be an item of property (e.g. a camcorder for making viral videos), a facility (e.g. an idyllic sandy beach for taking photos), or simple brand-name recognition. But the greatest assets of all are people. First, there’s your satisfied customer base, which can provide with you reviews, testimonials and case studies that can form the basis of new content. But, equally as important, there’s your staff. Your company is a hotbed of travel expertise, replete with staff that possess a wealth of specialist skills and knowledge – so why not harness it?

Assess your assets

Take account of the people you have and how you can use them to create original travel content that will entertain, engage and enlighten your customer base. If you own a hotel, why not send your knowledgeable concierge out to take photos of his favourite sights in the local area? If you sell winter holiday packages, why not get your ski staff to produce daily snow reports? Or if you’re a travel agent, why not ask a sales team member to write about that time they helped a customer fulfil their lifelong dream of visiting an exotic destination?

It’s easy and cheap for staff to produce content. As well as utilising their downtime during work hours, you can also incentivise them to be creative in their spare time: For example, run an in-house competition (with a prize) to write a blog about ‘My best holiday experience’ and you’ll end up with reams of ready-made content. Don’t forget, content doesn’t always need to be complex or perfectly polished, as long as it is genuine and honest.

Keep it topical

Content around topical trends and current affairs can also help you drive website traffic by scoring highly in search results. ‘Peace of mind’ content around serious issues like social unrest in destinations may be picked up by concerned Googlers, while timely destination content can piggyback spikes in search traffic around popular destination TV shows such as The Only Way is Essex (set in Marbella). You can also use customer sales data as content inspiration, as this can reveal trends as simple as Apple Mac users tend to book more expensive holidays than Android users. And don’t forget that evocative stats can be used in infographics too.

Follow the lead

If in doubt, just look at some of the successes others have had. The Glacier Skywalk in the Canadian Rockies has a professional website full of slick photos and blogs, but perhaps its savviest content is an Instagram video of blogger Mike Morrison walking across the glass-floored observation walkway. Although filmed for free on his own iPhone, and just 15 seconds long, it went viral. Meanwhile, Monarch Airlines have recently launched a map of flight destinations accompanied by insider travel advice by members of their cabin crew.

Creating travel content doesn’t have to be expensive and doesn’t have to be extensive. Look around you – you might find many of the assets you need already at your fingertips.

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