2017 Content Marketing Trends for the Travel Industry
Hilary Lewkowitz | March 28, 2017
Content marketing very quickly became a mainstay in the travel industry. It allows brands to strategically create and distribute high quality, thought-provoking and relevant content in order to build a stronger presence and ultimately drive sales. Content marketing became popular as consumers are not responding to traditional advertising, but instead want to be inspired, educated and entertained. This strategy will only continue to grow and adapt as technology changes and travelers and the trade demand higher quality content. In order to best use content marketing strategies and connect with target audiences, travel brands need to follow current trends. We looked at several 2017 content marketing trend reports as well as calling on our own experiences, and here’s what we came up with as a short-list of trends to drive your content marketing strategy:
1. The Travel Influencer
Social media influencers have an incredibly large global following in their area of interest and the ability to shape the attitudes of their audience. They are photographers, writers and people who just figured out how to market themselves. Chris Burkard, photographer and adventurer, has 2.4 million followers - his instagram profile description, “have camera, will travel”. In his Instagram post pictured here, he had nearly 75,000 likes and 600+ comments on his photo from Switzerland. This type of user-generated content is much cheaper than traditional advertising and a more targeted audience. Chris Burkard's 2.4 million followers are probably more likely to travel than the general audience watching a 30 second ad on television.
Pros - User-generated content is more influential because of the “testimonial” component. Influencers can better speak to the millennial audience, that same audience travel brands are trying to target. Also, influencers can have a big reach with a small budget.
Cons - How much influence do influencers really have? It’s very challenging to track the ROI of an influencer, and there's no guarantee that a positive comment or a ‘like’ converts directly to bookings or sales. Another issue with the influencer trend is the lack of quality. Influencers are not necessarily aligned on your brand’s strategy, positioning, voice and other key factors that create quality content.
2. Native Advertising
Native advertising is content created to look and feel like the same content as the platform on which it is displayed. The intention is to promote a company’s product in the voice of the chosen platform and in a way that is educational or informative. For example, the BuzzFeed article (pictured here) is native advertising paid by Sony, but follows the same flow as a normal BuzzFeed article.
Pros - You have great content but how will it be distributed? Native advertising allows distribution of content to platforms with greater exposure. Most publishers offer native advertising which provides a variety of platforms to push content.
Cons - It can be time-consuming to create this highly crafted content. Native advertising needs to fit the voice and tone of the chosen platform, while simultaneously capturing the audience’s attention. Also, native advertising is not cheap - top tier publishers (think National Geographic) charge anywhere between $50,000 - $200,000 per article.
3. Email Campaigns
2017 trend reports suggest it’s time to revisit email campaigns, as open rates and sign-ups are on the rise. Why might email be making a comeback? Since media channels changed algorithms it is more challenging to have a large organic reach. Email campaigns offer a solution to target your audience, but strategy still needs to be a major component. Here are a few suggestions for a successful email campaign:
- Make it mobile friendly
- Embed high quality videos and pictures
- Add social sharing buttons to videos and each article
4. Video + Storytelling
Video continues to dominate social channels - consumers are now spending about 6 hours per week watching video. In a recent study by Brightcove, 74% of consumers claimed a connection exists between watching a video on social media and purchasing decisions. But it’s not just any type of video that leads to sales conversions. Consumers are drawn to character-driven and emotionally compelling stories. Video storytelling has the best chance at hooking and holding your audience’s attention. So, with the growth of video and storytelling, where should it be positioned for maximum exposure?
- Add video to a landing page, it’s shown to increase sales conversion rates
- A majority of videos are watched on phones, so use mobile friendly platforms that are easy to share
- Consider social videos that are easy to follow without sound or include captions, most social videos are watched with no sound
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Luke Bajarski, New Skift Research Report: The State of Content Marketing in Travel 2017. Skift, March 14, 2017. https://skift.com/2017/03/14/new-skift-research-report-the-state-of-content-marketing-in-travel-2017/
Mike Templeman, “ What To Expect In 2017 And Beyond “. Forbes, November 3, 2016. https://www.forbes.com/sites/miketempleman/2016/11/03/content-marketing-trends-what-to-expect-in-2017-and-beyond/#28da67cf48bb
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