Defining Travel-Enticing Content
Content and content marketing is a tricky, often confusing subject for tourism marketers.
Definitions vary, experts disagree and consumers are largely, and unfortunately, ignored in the process.
In our post Creating Content to Entice Travel, we introduced our working concept…quite literally, as we are currently working with a major DMO to implement this model…of travel-enticing content, or content that entices travel.
So, what does that really mean?
In this post, we will attempt to provide definition to the concept, while looking for your advice and input. Digital is growing and changing constantly, so must our concepts.
Defining and Refining
Travel-Enticing Content: Content which moves the potential traveler closer to the act of travel.
Encourage, motivate, connects could all work as well.
Speaking specifically for destinations…DMOs, CVBs and NTOs…our role in the travel planning process is largely to inspire or inform, but we do not represent the final stage in the travel planning process. Because of your location in the travel planning funnel, your job, your role, is to move the prospective traveler closer to the moment of travel.
The size of the destination will determine the ratio between content that inspires or informs…geographically larger destinations (think countries, large states, etc.) should have a larger percentage of inspirational content and geographically smaller destinations (cities, small states, districts, etc.) will have more informational content.
In either case, the content should push the consumer further down the path to conversion.
Travel-enticing content should remove informational barriers and provide a clear next step for the consumer, or at least confirmation that there question was answered effectively.
Through story or direct answer, the goal is to move the consumer to the next step.
The Misconceptions of Content
Travel-enticing content is not a dead-end. It is not evergreen content. It is not search engine fodder…heavy on traffic, but lite on conversion.
It is a misconception to assume that more content is always better.
The concept of everything for everyone extends well beyond the scope of content, appearing in digital strategy, campaign creative, even logo development.
Too often, destinations and those who develop content plans assume that content for every possibility and subject is the correct strategy.
Someone might be looking for it, so write a quick trip idea about it.
Unfortunately, this halfhearted attempt at content does more harm than good. Weak on details, no clear path forward and a frustrating dead-end for consumers who want an answer to that question…not a search-friendly entry point into irrelevant content.
The concept of travel-enticing content forces the destination to understand, evaluate and eliminate this type of content.
The first step is understanding and accepting that your destination cannot and should not be responsible for creating content to satisfy every possible visitor query, question or need.
Why? Likely causes are scope, relevance, expertise or organizational goals.
Do not be afraid to remove content. To focus on content that connects directly to your goals. To reduce poorly performing organic traffic and increase high-value content.
Focus on content where your organization is relevant, can inform or inspire and ultimately move the consumer closer to the moment of travel.
Leave everything else to someone else.
Examples and Observations
Let’s illustrate our theory with a few content examples from our tourism peers, specifically examining whether the content provides the why, what and how of travel-enticing content.
The article does a fine job of answering the ‘what’ question. Camping with horses. And does a decent job answering the ‘why’ question. Because it is easier and you can see a remote section of the US. But the ‘how’ question leaves the consumer at a dead-end.
How do I camp with horses? How can I rent a horse? How do I find outfitters offering this type of tour? How do I bring my own horses to Wyoming?
I’m hooked. I want to camp with horses in Wyoming. Now move me to the next step.
Next, surfing in SoCal.
Decent ‘what’, an implied ‘why’ and decent on the ‘how’.
Although, there is an opportunity for more. Surf board rental locations, recommendations for lessons and how do I get to each spot from LAX?
The content is nearly there, ready to convert the consumer and move them closer to actually surfing in southern California. It is our job to make that transition as easy as possible to actually entice travel.
Disclosure, the Los Angeles Tourism + Convention Board is a client, but we did not provide content marketing strategy.
Finally, where to eat in Walt Disney World.
Alright, yes Disney has a significantly larger budget than the average DMO. And yes, the content request is specific to a single user (although others will surely find it helpful), but the important element to notice is the clear explanation of ‘how.’
What and why have already been defined due to the travel planning stage, but look at the depth in the ‘how’ answer. It clearly shows the consumer the next step(s) in the travel planning process. Granted, Disney Parks is at the experience phase, but it still moves the consumer closer to travel.
Why, What and How
As we develop this content strategy for our DMO client, I like the idea of clearly defining content through questions.
Does it tell the user why they should visit or experience?
Does it explain what is involved?
Does it tell the user how to achieve this experience?
Why, what and how.
Creating travel-enticing content that moves the consumer closer to the moment of travel.