What is the Essence of a Great Travel Article?

That is the question to ask or you’ll never create one.

And the answer might surprise you because it has to achieve a lot, and can’t just “read nice.”

We know travel content is the most lively, inspiring, and personal type of content.  So the bar is set high even before you try to optimize for impact, engagement, credibility, branding, SEO, benefits touchpoints, and sales conversion goals.

When you think about the most successful travel sites you know, you might not realize they have big budgets that draw readers, so their content doesn’t work as hard. An SMB travel content strategist on the other hand has to be better which is why many niche travel blogs have very rich, relevant content pieces for their niche audiences.

However, the question is, does that content have everything required to get the sales conversion?  Because if there is no sales or revenue, it’s hard to claim the content is great and successful. You’re not running a free library.  You have tangible sales goals to meet.

The Essence of Successful Travel Content

The essence of elevated travel content strategy is to entice readers to purchase and live out a mesmerizing, enjoyable journey to a place they’ve heard about or might like to go.

The compelling article is about the places they want to go and the personal experiences they will have there. It’s a vehicle to help them live out their travel dream and strengthen their desire to book that vacation through you or via your SaaS travel management software.

A great article is a powerful sales tool for any travel agency, DMO, tour operator, travel software company or hotel manager. A great article impacts and engages the reader and prepares them to book your service package. If you get no booking or revenue, then it’s difficult to say that its a great article from a business point of view.

The end result must be a sale. Great content gets results by showing actual real proof that it was great. It was compelling enough to fulfill its purpose.

What Comes Before a Great Trip

Following up on my previous blog on what makes a great travel experience is what comes before any great trip — the content experience.

Travel Planning
Photo: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

I alluded to the idea that the mind and heart travel first, so developing content pieces that respond to the hearts and minds of your specific customer target group is critically important.

Gen Z’s solo trips, parents traveling with kids, and seniors in groups are entirely different each with their own ideal travel vision.

If you’ve marketed to multiple audiences at once, you know how frustrating and ineffective that can be. What turns on one group turns off the others. So going nichey and targeted is a big part of creating high-quality content and ensuring you don’t ruin your own good effort. And it has to seem like it’s meant just for them.

Bottom of Funnel Content

That doesn’t mean you won’t at times be creating epic general audience content for search engines and those who are doing some research, but the BOFU content that’s going to convert to a booking or subscription is this highly targeted, personalized content..

Your Target Profiles Should Guide Creation

By now, you’ve collected a sizable quantity of travel consumer research, web traffic data, ppc campaign data, and responses to surveys so you understand your audience better. Out of all that we hope to build a customer profile or persona. If you don’t have that data then you need to develop a content and advertising campaign to capture that information.

One thing’s for sure, someone will love your content and your travel products and services. Right now, you’re just not reaching them or giving your audience the brand they want. Part of the impactfulness of your content is whether it’s relevant. The peak of relevance is significance — meaning your offering is so compelling they believe no other provider is worth consideration. The competition disappears even though their ads surround your customers!

Your user data will give you insights into the value proposition, benefits and travel experience they want. And that is where your content strategy becomes very powerful. In fact, your SEO and social media strategy will also be boosted by reaching them, impacting them, engaging them, and making them love your brand.

Travel Friends
Travel Friends.  Photo: Toa Heftiba

Significance Means Your Content is their Best Travel Friend

When your content becomes so compelling, it’s like becoming their best friend, a friend they can travel with, count on, and make a trip a great experience.

Great content makes an emotional impact, captures attention, builds anticipation, creates trust, and makes the dream visit seem possible and necessary.

And as in the ultimate compelling trip, your content must have the right mix of features, benefits and engaging flow among them. After all, an experience is an adventure with a start into rich experiences followed by an ending. The pleasant flow of events, people and places makes the content piece irresistible, since that specific adventure seems to hit all the right notes with your ideal reader.

Great content has the power to get all this done, either in one post or in a series of connected posts, along with a convincing author bio and brand.

As a travel company CEO, you’re looking for more effective marketing strategies to improve reach, impact, engagement, trial or bookings.

What Does Great Travel Content Look Like?

  1. it looks like it’s targeted for someone specific
  2. has a clear storyline so readers know it’s for them and worth reading more
  3. has real stories to make it more real, credible and relatable
  4. has user-generated comments, likes, and quotes included
  5. has quotes from travel influencers, experts and local business owners
  6. it has an inviting, friendly, engaged, and spirited tone
  7. it has language that’s evocative, vivid, descriptive and active
  8. it has visuals that appeal to the right side of the brain and deep emotional states
  9. has a short video from the author at the location highlighting key benefits of a key trip feature
  10. it is purposeful in emphasizing some aspect of a journey — hitting the high notes of a trip especially
  11. it includes a story with ups and downs lived through which gives readers confidence
  12. it’s personalized and puts the reader vicariously into the story somehow
  13. it is authentic, original with a unique style that ChatGPT could never imitate
  14. it has a great attention-getting headline that leads into a hook in the first two paragraphs
  15. it’s in the words/style/vocabulary of your target traveler
  16. each benefit/feature of a vacation/journey/destination should be compelling and savored
  17. is entertaining with perspectives, details, colorful language, and avoids trying to impress the reader
  18. has signposts built into the piece to help the reader understand where they are in the journey
  19. has a pleasant visual layout, font styles and is easy to read and enjoy
  20. it aligns and serves your marketing, branding, and sales strategy — getting results
  21. the tone and flavor is modified to suit the specific topic focus — e.g., museum visit, wellness spa, beaches, tour, restaurants, venues, country, or adventure activity.

Content Strategy Means Perfection on All Levels

Is there one magical thing that makes a great content piece? No, it’s a pleasant symphony of different tactics and benefits delivered.

It’s more likely to have a few key elements that are key to readers, or it could have all of the above features fused into the article so it has no weaknesses.

If a reader is resisting the urge they have, they’ll always looking for any excuse you make possible. So editing is so important in creating great content from maximizing positive elements to eliminating the negative ones.

So great content is expertly strategized and expertly edited.

Great travel content often requires travel to the location, because content that converts to sales needs to be credible, authentic, and well-illustrated with words, people and images.

Your content is your brand, UVP, promise of satisfaction, as well as your connection to the heart and mind of your audience.

Do you manage a tour company, destination, hotel, or a travel management software startup? See more on my Travel Marketing Services.

Get my help to turn your website into a productive business asset. Call Gord at 416 988 6246.