In the early days of online travel the focus was largely on price. Of course, competition within the tourism industry has meant that while price remains a factor, customers are now looking for something more – and so are the sellers.
Today's travellers are looking for inspiration, community and engagement; today's vendors are looking for a better relationship with their customers. Luckily, there's one thing that can deliver the best results for everyone – and that's quality content. For a travel website to be successful it needs content that is compelling, creative, full of inspiring images and video and packed with customer reviews. It also needs content that is accurate all the time.
But how can you achieve that level of quality? There are three key stages in the customer experience that help businesses create content that oozes quality. Let's take a look...
There are multiple channels through which a user may be led to your site, but the majority will find you via a search engine. SEO is one way to improve search engine rankings, but Google doesn't let businesses rest on their laurels. With complex, constantly evolving algorithms – in particular the latest version of Google's Panda algorithm means the site doesn't suffer poor content gladly.
The bad news is that poorly written, sales-heavy, static sites may incur the wrath of the digital giant. The good news, however, is that with fresh, well-written content that integrates social media, your site will pass the Google test with flying colours.
It's one thing getting a user to visit your business website, it's another thing entirely to get them to make a purchase. After all that hard work drawing a user to your website, the next challenge is encouraging them to spend their money. But while high-quality, inspirational content might keep potential customers on your site, it won't necessarily persuade them to put their hands on their pockets. The travel industry is renowned for its low online conversion rate; in fact research shows that 80 per cent of travellers abandon their online bookings – all too often when the price is revealed. Giving customers clear pricing so they know what is available and at what cost can make a big difference to their purchasing decisions.
So, you've made a sale – great! But the work doesn't stop there. A focus on quality content can help nurture a relationship with a customer that extends far beyond the transaction. Allowing customers to write reviews and share their travel experiences helps build these relationships and gives potential customers added the confidence that they are making the right choice. It also portrays your business as being customer-friendly, rather than sales-driven, and creates a real sense of community.