Web Copy That Helps Travelers Buy

Now that we've discussed how to make destination web content attractive to search engine bots, let’s turn to the main subject at hand: how to make it attractive to travelers. We know that people making travel plans are looking for two things on the web: inspiration and information. The key to inspiring them lies in telling the travel brand’s story in detail, using vivid mental imagery. The key to providing them information is doing this on as many pages as possible.

When we say vivid mental imagery, we’re not talking about just showing a picture of a beautiful woman in a bikini on a beach in the Caribbean, alongside a clever headline. Nor is it a picture of a couple sitting at candlelit dinner in a fancy restaurant. In fact, vivid mental imagery does not mean showing a picture of anything. It means helping the traveler IMAGINE what it would be like experiencing your destination. More often than not, this takes words - ideally between 200 and 600 words per page - not just pictures. And it takes a lot of pages - a minimum of 50 and preferably more than 100 to get started.

We know what you’re thinking.

“A minimum of 50 pages of content with a minimum of 200 words on each page? There's not that much to say about our travel brand.” You're wrong. That's where the fine art of story telling comes in.

Say you're CMO of a golf resort or club.

Instead of a single page describing the course, it makes more sense to use eighteen pages and describe every intricate detail of every hole. It’s name, age, pedigree, the natural setting, the best time of day to play it, the distance from tee to pin, the par, slope rating, out of bounds, placement of bunkers, where to lay up and where to swing away, trouble spots, best approach shots, features of the green, what the designer was thinking when creating the hole — you get the idea. And just for kicks, why not add the ability for visitors to post comments on each page? Who hasn’t had an avid golfer describe, in detail, how he or she managed to birdie the hardest hole on the course?

Or maybe you’re in charge of marketing a ski resort.

What’s the vibe of the place? What kind of people go there (can you say customer profiles?) and how is it different from other resorts? There’s a story (and a web page) behind every signature trail - the obvious things like name, length, width and difficulty - but also not so obvious things like the people who conceived of it and cut it, placement of turns, bumps and jumps, historic runs, and how it’s typically groomed. There's a story in the ski lessons for kids. What will the experience be like for the child? For the parent? Why should someone consider spending the money to add daycare? And what about the instructors? Do they have any special training to be ski instructors, do they have to show any love or commitment to the sport? If the story isn't told, chances are they won’t buy it.

For all you youngsters out there...

Back in the 1990’s, Tom Bodett starred in a very memorable campaign for Motel 6 that put the brand in the minds of many a traveler as they decided where to stay. It was a radio campaign, but it could as easily been a series of web pages. In each radio spot, he told a story filled with vivid mental imagery. There were no pictures, and no frills. Just simple stories about a friendly place to stay the night, with a signature “We’ll leave the light on.”

If Motel 6 can use vivid mental imagery to sell their budget motel brand, any travel brand can, too.