The Right Content Builds Confidence: How Travel Marketers Can Use Context to Increase Bookings

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Competition amongst travel websites is brutal today. Everyone wants to optimize their site for conversion, but the experience of booking travel is so much more than that. The way that customers book their transportation and accommodations has changed.

Travel booking is all about emotion. Your company’s travel website shouldn’t just be a booking tool; it should inspire excitement to help travelers envision their upcoming trip and show them that you know them by anticipating their questions to answer them the moment they arise.

To achieve this, marketers must embrace the power of content in the right context. And the best part is, you don’t even need to create new content to do this; you can leverage your high-performing videos and assets from social media to storytell right on your website.

By weaving content into the site and addressing inquiries immediately, we can help site visitors through their decision-making journey faster, and with confidence. Let’s explore how travel industry marketers can use content in context to maximize bookings and traveler satisfaction:

The Traveler Buyer Journey is Lengthy and Collaborative

Most consumers don’t visit a travel site and complete the entire booking process in a single session. In fact, 61% of travelers map their travel ahead of time to secure a better deal — especially in an uncertain economy. The browsing process often unfolds over the course of days — sometimes weeks or months —and can span to dozens of travel sites. In cases where a group is traveling together, getting everyone on the same page can further complicate this process.

As a marketer, you can help your customers by using your content for storytelling.

  • Think of all the questions that arise as the group is browsing and conversing:
  • Are there vegetarian options at the hotel restaurant?
  • What can we do nearby if it starts to rain?
  • Can we bring our kids to the dolphin exhibit?

Each time a question goes unanswered, your potential traveler is gone to another part of the internet. They might go on YouTube to see videos of your accommodations, or fire up Instagram to see what previous customers have posted; 67% of travelers use Instagram to find travel inspiration before booking a trip. Once they leave, there’s no guarantee they’ll return. Another member of the group might come up with a new idea. They could pick another destination and never look back.

It’s not just about providing answers to all of these questions, it’s also about doing so in the right context.

Looking Beyond Conversion: The Importance of Exploration, Education and Inspiration

Too often, travel websites deliver their content out of context – and when content is out of context, it can either have the wrong meaning or no meaning at all. As one example, some travel industry marketers embed generic videos onto web pages that don’t answer specific questions. When content is out of context, there’s no education, inspiration or true meaning, it’s nothing more than entertainment..

Marketers need to embrace a benefits approach, rather than a features approach. Let me explain:

  • Features approach: We have a 403 square foot one-bedroom with an ocean-view.
  • Benefits approach: Help travelers envision the benefits with better content in context – In the morning, open the double doors of your suite to your ocean-view balcony, where you’ll enjoy your morning coffee as the waves crash on the shore.

See the difference? Show, don’t tell, the story of your resort, hotel or attraction. Sweep them off their feet. Most destinations are competing against several other resorts, restaurants, attractions for travelers’ attention and ultimately, their dollars. In a sea of sameness, how can you differentiate in some way consumers find meaningful? How can you ensure their scavenger hunt ends on your site? Content in context could hold the key to these questions.

It’s not just about providing information. That’s important, of course, but you’re also trying to spark emotion that captures every member of the travel group.

Three Steps to Spark Emotion Into the Booking Process

So how can digital marketers in the travel industry strike a balance between answering key questions and sparking emotion? Getting started is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1. Compile your brand content and UCG.

Start by tracking down all of the brand assets you’ve built: every social video, graphic, user-generated post, etc. Create a Google Drive or Dropbox folder to house it all.

Label each piece of content with a tag: back patio, pool scene, waterfront, arrival and check-in procedure, etc. This will help you stay organized as you move forward.

2. Walk through your website journey.

Pretend you just logged onto your site for the first time. Where do you get stuck? What are the mental hurdles that could cause you to look for another option?

You don’t have to be a psychic to do this. Lean on your historic data. Search through live chat transcripts and high-frequency FAQs to learn your customers’ burning questions. Comb through social media comments and DMs to learn what puzzle pieces would help complete their understanding. This is the best way to show your customer that you know them.

3. Strategically weave in content to account for mental hurdles.

Now go back to step one. Look through the content in each of your folders and match it to places where potential customers need a confidence boost, nudge or nugget of information that helps them clear their mental hurdle.

If you’re talking about a sweeping panoramic view, take some user-generated content from Instagram that shows it. Do you brag about how your check-in process is a breeze? Show a video that takes you through an easy afternoon check-in.

You can do this with traditional methods such as hyperlinks and embeds. There are also digital marketing tools that allow you to create dynamic experiences for your website visitors.

The End Result: A Better Customer Experience

By delivering content in the right context in your website journey, travel industry marketers can extend the useful life of their content, keep people on their site longer, drive engagement and ultimately, convert more site visitors.

It’s not about what you have to say. It’s about anticipating and answering the pressing questions that your audience needs to know.

It’s the difference between blindly ordering from a new restaurant’s menu and having one of those helpful menus where every dish is pictured – so you know exactly what to expect. Websites shouldn’t haphazardly broadcast information; they should answer specific questions that help users continue their journey and book with confidence.

Jason Craparo
Jason Craparo is the CEO of Hovr, a patented no-code SaaS company servicing the hospitality and travel industry. He brings 20 years of ownership and executive management experience in hospitality and technology. Prior to Hovr, Jason was on the executive management team at Juma Ventures. He began his career as a Managing Partner/Owner Operator at Sonic Drive-In and holds an MBA from Babson College, where he earned top awards and now serves as President of the Alumni Association.

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