The old saying "content is king" has been bandied around by many-a-marketer in recent years, but when it comes to online travel companies, why is digital content so important?
Quality content on a website is paramount if a brand wants to stand out from its competitors. According to Google Travel's Mike Gianotti, it is essential that travel companies understand the importance of online content in order to ensure market share. Having a user-friendly, eye-catching website is the first step, but then it's about finding the right copy to fill its pages.
However, this doesn't mean producing content for content's sake. There is certainly no shortage of travel content on the Web; however, only a small proportion of it actually offers tangible results. John Straw, Chairman of the Digital Advisory Board at Thomas Cook, once said of the travel industry: "We are good at dragging people in their millions to our websites... [but] then not converting them into sales."
With the explosion of mobile devices and the rapid uptake of mobile browsing, the type of content viewers are expecting is changing. When researching trips, people aren't satisfied anymore with simple text; they want the whole "experience" via news, 'top tip' guides, customer reviews, video and images prior to making the booking.
Gianotti believes that the best travel companies answer these three questions when a visitor lands on their site: Is it a true representation of what the reality will be like? Is it suitable for me and does it meet my requirements? Am I getting the best value for money?
According to him, all online content should attempt to answer these three questions, and this will provide more "rich ways of giving people an actual taste of what the holiday experience is."
In order to make travel content work, content needs to be written with the customer in mind at all times. What would encourage them to spend longer on your site? Use your brand's assets in order to emotionally engage your visitor; by telling your brand's story, you will connect with them on a personal level.
When customers are in the "consideration" stage, content can play a huge part in swaying their decision; if carried out correctly, it can convert them into customers by answering any questions they may have, before they need to ask. So, rather than trying to force them to book, you will be inspiring them to book.