Travel is one of the most content-saturated markets out there. With literally hundreds of thousands of destinations, products and hotels available, not to mention all of the different providers, it can be difficult to make your company stand out.
To simplify the process, we’ve narrowed our guidelines down to 10 key components that turn good travel writing into great travel writing, to ensure your copy gets noticed.
#1. Insider knowledge
The best travel writing will almost always make use of insider knowledge. Odds are, you won’t have been to the myriad places you’re writing about. Logically, readers understand this, but nobody wants to buy something from someone that so clearly doesn’t understand or have personal experience with the product.
That’s where insider knowledge comes into play. If you can forge connections with and gather information from people on the ground, who know the destinations you’re writing about, you’ll sound much more knowledgeable and trustworthy. The more informed you sound; the more likely consumers are to keep reading.
Within any sphere of eCommerce, accuracy is crucial. The travel industry imposes unique problems in that:
A. You’re likely dealing with an especially large range of products (hotels, tour operators, airlines and transportation providers)
B. You don’t necessarily have control over those products, as they’re run by outside organisations
C. Those products can change at any second, in any way, and without you knowing.
Hotels tend to have elaborate names that are easily confused, and big brands often offer a number of hotels in particularly large resorts. Your content should always be double and triple checked for accuracy if you want to have a shred of clout with your consumers. Above all, it’s most important to present yourself as a company they can rely on, and content is your main device.
#3. Be Specific
If each of your destinations are described as ‘exotic’, ‘beautiful’, and ‘heavy on the wow-factor’, it won’t take long for your readers to catch on how vague these descriptions really are. Holidays are a serious investment, so consumers want to know exactly what they’re getting. For this reason, it’s important for travel writing to be as specific as possible, using exact numbers, facts, sights, sounds, smells – the works.
Avoid clichés at all costs, as they’re overt placeholders for real information that tell your reader next to nothing. When providing information, showing is always better than telling. You want to set the scene and sell an experience, getting the reader to imagine themselves in a given destination and starting the planning process.
#4. Use Native Advertising
An important but overlooked component of seeding travel content involves forging connections with travel companies based in the destinations you sell. An endorsement from Spain or Greece’s official tourism branch – people that actually live and work in these destinations – is incredibly powerful for asserting your travel savvy.
It’s also a great way to build links and generate traffic to your site, as people looking for information on a destination are prone to begin their search at the source, and then branch out for how to actually get there. If a link to your site is there, you’re in a great position.
#5. User-generated Content
User-generated content is an endless and (most importantly) free source writers can tap into when devising travel content plans or executing the content itself. Searching through social media sites like Instagram can be useful for seeing what holidaymakers are already doing in the destination you’re writing about. Review-based sites like TripAdvisor can give in-depth, personal accounts. It’ll save you recommending activities and hotels that don’t match your clientele.
#6. Consistent Page Structure Across Destinations
With the eCommerce travel business, you’re likely to have a large number of pages with a similar purpose, but a diverse range of destinations. It’s a good idea to structure these pages consistently when possible, as it will allow customers to familiarise themselves with your particular order of operations. Creating an identifiable template is also useful towards creating a cohesive brand.
Most importantly, if your readers are happy with the service and information you provided for their trip to Majorca, they’re more likely to use you next time for their trip to Sardinia, as they can see the identical page structure and know what to expect.
#7. The right Tone of Voice
Travel customers are not all the same, so all travel writing shouldn’t be either. Even before you put pen to paper – or, more likely in this case, fingers to keyboard – you should acquaint yourself with your customers. Find out exactly what they’re using your website for and what you want them to do. Only when you know your goals can you begin to start working towards them.
Then, you want to use a particular tone of voice crafted for your target audience. You won’t want to go off on a tirade of slang if your customers are in the 50+ age group, while younger audiences tend to appreciate the experience and want a heavy dose of culture on their holidays. Emphasising what your audience wants within your writing will not only help you connect with readers, but drive sales.
#8. Couple with Strong Photos
It’s all well and good to have strong writing and paint an excellent picture in your reader’s mind, but when it comes down to it, nothing has the same effect as a quality photo. If you can back up your claims with photos of the destination, activity or hotel in question, customers will be much quicker to trust you.
But be warned – not all photos are created equal. While we always suggest coupling content with excellent photos, irrelevant or low-quality photos can be distracting and ultimately work against you.
#9. Keep Reviews Onsite
Where possible and appropriate, try to feature reviews of the particular services or promotions you’re offering. Consumers often see reviews from other users as much more reliable than corporate content because they’re seen as being honest and unbiased. They’re real world examples of customers using or taking part in the products and services, and give a point of view simple descriptions cannot.
#10. Write first, SEO second
In today’s content-saturated travel market, SEO is non-negotiable. Keywords are your friend in helping Google users sift through the rubbish and land on your site. That said, SEO shouldn’t rule your content – it should supplement what’s already there.
Of course, you should always ensure you’re writing about what search engine users are trying to find. Once you’ve identified your topic, focus on writing the content and best answering consumers’ questions. Only once this is finished should you go back into the document and considering adding keywords – and only where they fit naturally. It won’t matter if readers end up on your page if they can’t decipher what you’re trying to say.
The business of travel writing for eCommerce is often tricky, but with a little trial and error and the help of skilled copywriters, you could be well on your way to travel stardom. Get in contact today to see how we can help improve your site.