The Laws of Attraction
On today’s Internet, travel websites take very different forms. Many are simply online travel brokers, helping users find the best deal and book their vacations through the sites. Some rely primarily on the allure and romance of travel photography to create interest. Others are all facts and figures. The sheer variety of website content approaches makes one wonder: which is most effective for tourism and destination brands? Upon closer inspection, very few of these sites actually do what the web does best.
Successful Travel Sites Do Two Things Very Well
They deliver content that answers the consumer’s need for information (a mix that includes romance, simple logistics and booking information) and present content that motivates the reader to take action. This double-edged content solution doesn’t happen by accident or by luck – it’s the result of a well-constructed web content strategy.
Developing a content strategy is simply the process of identifying the type of content that will best enable you to communicate why a traveler should choose your destination or resort above all others, and then planning for and allocating resources to the the creation of that content. There is a huge opportunity for destinations who make a commitment to developing content that competes for inbound links and organic search. Those who get there first have the most to gain from it.
To Get There, Its Best To Start At The Beginning
When defining a content strategy for your site, the ultimate goal is to make each page of the website relevant to Google so it ranks for appropriate search phrases, and at the same time, make the page relevant to people planning their travel. The good news is that Google and the traveler researcher are both searching for much the same thing: relevant information from which they can make decisions. The challenge is determining what your brand has to offer that is relevant to both.
There are three important sources of information essential to developing a killer content strategy:
- a clear brand position (the single-minded idea that sets your destination apart from your competition)
- an offerings list (an inventory of everything your destination or resort has to offer), and
- a keyword list (all the words and phrases that consumers are using to search for destinations and offerings similar to those you have to offer)
A Clear Brand Position Brings Focus
A clear brand position will help you to communicate the single-minded idea that sets your destination apart from your competition. At the same time, it will point you toward a narrative structure that can become home to the keywords and offerings that illustrate all the little things that make your destination a one-of-akind experience. But probably most importantly, your brand position will keep you focused as you undertake biggest challenge of building and maintaining a destination website - continuously adding content to keep the site dynamic and current.
Clearly, the task of creating and maintaining a travel and destination branding website is a significant undertaking for any organization. But with an understanding of web technology, the needs of your customers and a commitment to delivering on your brand position, your website can become a valuable brand asset and a powerful tool to turn prospects into customers.
Next Issue: Building A Destination Website - Part 2
We’ll look at how to keep your site fresh, how to open up a two-way dialog using social media and blogging, and conversion tools to help you close the deal.