Getting ahead of the curve, digital experiences that travel .

joe-travel

After the long, turbulent and isolating year of 2020, people who love to explore, mingle and immersive themselves in new places are itching to go abroad. The challenge for the travel companies that have held their resolve and weathered the hurricane, will be whether they know their audience, can deliver their message correctly and if they can personalise an enhanced experience so that users trust that they are a brand that can deliver the holiday of their dreams.

I don’t think I need to back up the fact that most of us want to go on holiday, but for the record, a recent survey found that ‘the most eager to travel again are Americans and Canadians with 99% stating their intention to do so, and 70% planning to take a holiday in 2021 according to a survey from Travel Leaders Group conducted in conjunction with the World Travel & Tourism Council’ (WTTC).’

This is reinforced by the amazing news that several pharmaceutical companies are now in the final stages of releasing a COVID vaccine for 2021. Happy days!

However, it’s not simply back to business as usual. Travel habits will have changed. Most are unlikely to want to go back to the same place they go to every year. The majority are likely to look for something new. With some choosing to double down and book larger holidays next year. Certainly most of the people I speak to have airline vouchers from cancelled trips, just waiting to be used up. There will also be a tendency for travellers to look for wide-open spaces - the growth in visitors to the U.Ks national parks is testament to that. Holiday-makers may also book across multiple locations and perhaps for longer, looking to make the most of the journey, rather than simply the final destination.

Stronger consideration will be afforded to environmental travel companies and trips. With a predicted increase in the growth in ‘wellness tourism’ and mind and body healing getaways becoming more trendy and sought-after. Some even predict a focus on giving back to local communities in some way - rather than simply going abroad for the best beaches and cocktails.

Whatever the case, the January blues will be in full effect next year. What is normally a busy time of year for travel companies anyway. Is likely to be two or even three-fold next year.

So how can travel companies take advantage of this influx of new business? With all of their new wants, needs and desires. Indeed the customer of tomorrow has arrived today and this has been further consolidated by the pandemic. This customer is digitally savvy, well researched and looking for brands and package holidays that they trust. Refund options must be clear to avoid uncertainty and drop-off. Airlines, in particular, should look to leverage customers who were refunded with travel vouchers earlier this year, as an easy starting point to further their engagement. But above all, travellers in 2021 will be building brand loyalties in advance- through the dark times - now. Those that can offer them the best and most consistent online experiences will win.

Travellers are looking for longer, immersive and explorative trips and travel companies need to reflect this, in the design and build of their websites. That flow becomes even more important and flourishes of added value will set you apart as robust and generous. These experiences need to truly immerse the customer. Through built-in personalisation that is sensitive to a longer list of requirements or anxieties and content that resonates with these new personas, as they begin to research and book their trips. Strong retargeting, email and multi-channel marketing will be essential to drive engagement and the focus on relevance is more important than ever. Remember these customers have been bombarded by DIY and Food brands for the best part of a year! Travel companies should look closely at their on-site digital estate and the tools that they have at their disposal to help them deliver a quality user journey. Those that seize the downtime to set the ‘comeback’ wheels in motion and have the marketing and on-site conversion machine running at full power, will reap the rewards of a whole year’s worth of non-business in relative basket value even if customer count is lower.

Sagittarius has a long history of successful digital transformation within the travel sector and that pedigree has never been more important than now - when you need people you can trust to simply get the job done. We work closely with partners like Sitecore and Microsoft to deliver technologies that match your ambitions and fulfil your business needs. If you’d like to discuss your current digital experience, technology and/or strategy, please feel free to contact us for a no-obligation discussion at hello@sagittarius.agency, I look forward to hearing from you!

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
joew100x100
Joe Williams
business development manager
Joe brings over 7 years’ experience in business development, with a bachelors degree in Modern History and a Masters in Business Management. His experience is in both the technology and advertising industries. Before joining Sagittarius Joe has worked alongside a variety top tier publishers to help them develop their advertising strategies.
joew100x100

Joe Williams

24 Nov 2020 - 10 minute read
share this

stay in the know, stay ahead.

Get the latest from the agency, including news, events and expert content.
find out what we can do for you
read some of our case studies