The Essence of Stellar Travel Content

What is the essence of stellar, emotionally engaging, confidence building and activating content for travel marketing companies?

I’d like you write your immediate thoughts only, about the travel content that made an impact on you personally. What drove you to take your vacations?

Today we look deeper into the drives of travelers and how content would attract them, impact them, engage them and move them to a booking.

Travel company owners have a wide diversity of perspectives on what travelers are moved by emotionally and what makes them book a vacation. It might be their content strategy misses out on some core truths. And the question becomes, what does make great travel content?

There are millions of unique experiences you could be communicating via words and images. What if we explore the key values that create The Power Core of emotion-generating, trip-inducing, reading/viewing experiences?  And this core driver concept applies to any business in any industry. Customers have core motivators for buying anything.

How would we capture a better view to see their core emotional drivers?

10,000 Foot View is Wise

Uncluttering our minds might be the toughest challenge marketers have. We’re too immersed to see what we’re immersed in. We need to back away from our routines and usual views.

A wiser way to uncover the essence of travel is to rise up to get a wider view of how travel consumers experience their travel desire.

I had such a high-view experience once while hang-gliding at many thousands of feet up over the countryside.  That adventure was really dangerous (hang gliding is the most risky) but it provided a very unique perspective while on the verge of death.

Lying face downward to the landscape below, it was a strange perspective seeing tiny trees looking like decorative fringes around a patchwork of land.  Suddenly I could see the essence of the community below. It was just a big garden!

Travelers too have a big picture of view of their travel desire and I’ve listed the most common drivers below.  Out of them, perhaps 3 to 5 determine what they will do. We might call these their core travel drivers.

The Travelers Core Drive

It’s my belief that a core drive exists where all the key reasons they would like to travel are fused together and felt as though it’s one emotional impulse.  After a while, all the reasons they’d like to travel become blurred and fused replaced by a few emotions (desire, fear, excitement).  In fact, it may only be one emotion that dominates the booking decision.

What might the core drivers be?

  • the desire to feel good
  • want to be re-energized and revitalized
  • sense of accomplishment — I’m a world traveler!
  • bored, want something interesting and exciting
  • comfort, to escape cold unpleasant weather
  • fun times with family or friends
  • to share the joy of travel with others
  • relaxing strolls through villages or on tropical beaches
  • stress relief and no schedules or responsibilities
  • spectacular scenery and locations
  • experience adventure and challenge
  • curiosity/explore the unknown – discover what other places are like
  • relaxing times at the pool
  • special concerts or events
  • being part of a shared experience (tours, socializing)
  • cultural immersion, food, drink, entertainment
  • relaxing at a restaurant
  • romantic getaway
  • forget their miseries and the miseries of their own country
  • dreaming of moving to investigate a future move there

The essence of stellar travel content might be in the resonance of your content to their core drive.

Travel brands that connect to the core drive will have more success because they resolve more of the travel itch via a coordinated, strategic mix of benefits and promises.  It’s not that travelers want it all. It’s that they have certain core needs that must be satisfied together. If one of them is not fulfilled, the trip may not happen.

Thailand Boating Trips. Image: humphrey muleba via Unsplash

It’s not just the emotional drive of all of them, but that it’s a unique puzzle of influences where if some are missing the big picture just doesn’t make sense.  They leave your site and forget about it.

That’s why so many people have no interest in travel. Because it has never resonated enough to make them feel compelled, to be interested and believe travel might benefit them.

And stellar travel content too might be customized to suit the peculiar drivers of each traveler’s travel dream.

Working with a Smart Strategy: Sweeteners and Nutrition

My thoughts are that great travel content is a goal you work toward.

Because it doesn’t come easy, and is usually the result of exhaustive research, personal experiences, product strategy, strategic thought, and painful editing. Because it isn’t just a celebration of a travel idea, it’s a marketing vehicle that must make impact, hook the reader, and convert them into a customer. You’re not creating a library with no purpose. It has to generate leads.

I was just reading some fluffy phrasing on a Cruiseline website, and it was like all icing on a cake. I couldn’t tell if it was produced via Generative AI or not, but it read like a celebration of a whimsical idea. It was all saccharine without any nutrition.

My own travel writing style is far more nutrition than sugar, however it’s acknowledged that the right kind of sweeteners are needed in our recipe. Sugar is part of the adrenaline rush that keeps your visitor engaged, addicted to the thought of the journey, and you need to capture them while they’re on their sugar high.

If we’re clever, have insight, and have an intense desire to give the reader/visitor the most intense emotional experience possible via digital media, then we can connect with them on a real, personal, action-based level.

Stimulating the Right NeuroTransmitters for Total Immersion

Some travel writers talk about authentic content and that’s definitely key because original, personal, real accounts do connect with travelers in a trusting, friendship way, which creates relaxation, and in that trusting state of relaxation, your visitor can sink deeper into their travel dream. Creating trust in travel content is important.

By combining trust with relevance in our content, we might stimulate alpha brainwaves and cause the release of dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin. Remember the 4 feel-good neurotransmitters? They are integral to feelings of well-being, joy, and happiness. They increase blood flow and induce a warm, open-minded, and engaging frame of mind.

Every word and image paints a powerful message. Let’s not forget that photographs are powerful and videos can paint a great experience. And themed graphic design styles can help bring things together too.

And if you fail to make this marvelous physical response happen, then the prospect may not engage or buy your travel product.  Again, the matter of authenticity, trust and relevance come into play when building a personal emotional connection with a customer which drives a subscription, booking or phone call.  Without that, you get annoying low-quality leads.

And I believe the phone call is the most important action because it’s more active, informative, and involves a real person who can make things happen.  A fillable form just doesn’t cut it and therefore is questionable travel content.

Your Content Should Exude the Joy of Travel

And a joy of travel, might also be a belief that it’s more important than buying a new car, major appliance, or a house one cannot afford.

I think it’s about capturing the minds and trust of an audience who are ready to accept travel almost as a religion and live out their dreams of a more interesting life.

And we just went through the pandemic, where tens of millions of people burned out, starved of fun things in their lives. The good was stripped out because of Covid. Yet, that is our business opportunity.

Travel is the antidote, and always has been.  It’s the journey and uplift, but it’s also the mental and physical break from tired routines. And travelers know this. Which is why I always mention it. Because, that may be the number one basic core driver — “I need a long break to my favorite place.

People think they need big change in their lives, but it’s likely what they actually need is a break from the horrible, stifling monotony of their existence.

I have to laugh at a politically correct interpretation of travel demand today:

The demand for travel is no longer solely steered by price. Instead, it is increasingly molded by evolving consumer needs, values, norms, and beliefs, steering towards more value and community-focused experiences.


There are numerous reasons why your travel customers travel.  And perhaps great travel content touches very subtly on each of them to build a more intense purpose in the visitor’s mind.  The mind travels first, and the more your content pieces touch on their key intrinsic motivators, the more likely they’re going to buy from you and take that trip.

They could go to Expedia or Gadventures or other mega travel portal for an impersonal and less confident purchase from a vast pool of vacations.  But if your content writing brings your brand, people and unique, compelling, trusted services into that picture, they will book with you.

Travel consumers are buying a brand. The brand sells via words and images.


And it’s not enough to distribute all this motivation and messaging throughout your content. It has to be cleverly built into each blog post, video, or social posting. Because after they build up a big emotional potential, they’re not going to read much more of your content. It’s better to get their email and get them to return more later, or make it easy for them to buy now.

Once they get that euphoric feeling, it doesn’t last long, because it’s kind of like short-term memory. What stops them from reading/watching more is they’re full of emotional drive, and it’s time to make decisions (or at least commit to a future decision).

The essence of travel is that it’s very personal.  Each traveler has their own unique reasons for traveling including visiting a special country they’ve heard of, visiting family, getting relief from their life, pursuing relaxation and emotional growth, regaining their self-possession, health, and experiencing joy, thrills, and novelty.

The essence of stellar travel content is building the picture of your company being able to solve their core drive for travel and add on a few benefits they particularly like. Obviously, it’s not an easy puzzle to solve but we get better with more insight and experimentation.

So, what are you waiting for? You know I’m the travel content strategist who can enrich your content to make Google love it, bring in the traffic, get your brand exposed and boosted, and help you build an unparalleled value proposition for travel customers.

Call me now at 416 998 6246

— Gord Collins, Travel Marketer