Why Travel Brands Need To Focus On User-First Content
In the travel industry, content is king, but engagement is queen. This is because content is worthless if it doesn’t help your audience make informed decisions about your products and services. If you’re not giving visitors to your website the information, they need to make an informed decision, they’ll make their purchases elsewhere.
Great content that serves user intent across the purchase journey ensures you turn more lookers into bookers.
Trends In User Search
We’ve seen wholesale changes to the travel industry over the past decade. For example, the role of the travel agent at a store used to be vital, but 81% of people now book their holidays online.
This is partially due to the rise of the ‘silver surfer’. In 2011, only 20% of people aged 75 and over used the internet, but as of 2018 this number had risen to 44%. By the end of the next decade, more people will be connected to the internet than ever before, which means that user-first content will become even more important as we look to replicate the knowledge of a traditional travel agent on our website.
Added to this, while mobile internet usage overtook desktop usage over five years ago, we are now increasingly buying high-value products on their tablets and smart phones. At Holiday Hypermarket, for example, we are seeing a 5% year-on-year increase in this type of buying behaviour.
So, in terms of design we need to consider mobile-friendly content and the way we display content to our customers. In short, it’s not just what we’re saying, but also how we provide and display the information.
What User-First Content Works Best In The Travel Industry?
Content has become saturated, and the race to outrank competitors has driven down the cost and quality of content production. But by focusing purely on what users need and not what search engines want, you can significantly boost traffic, engagement and sales.
I always draw parallels with the software industry, where there is often no telephone support. Instead, these companies use real-time chat services or direct people to FAQs. I think the travel industry can learn a lot from this model.
Long-form content like detailed travel guides will always be important for SEO purposes, but 50% of search queries are now four words or longer, because people are asking more questions when they search. As a result, using FAQs is key to serving user needs. If you directly answer questions the user has, you can provide them with the same level of information they would have received in a store.
On your website, a well organised and visible FAQ section can serve several functions, including:
- alleviating purchasing anxieties that your product page copy doesn’t directly address
- relieving the burden on customer support by publicly answering common questions
- improving SEO and site navigation
- earning trust by demonstrating product expertise and explaining your business model
- delighting customers by creatively answering their questions
- proactively preventing customer complaints and negative reviews.
When deciding which FAQs to answer, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. So, as well as doing your keyword research and searching for ranking opportunities, ask yourself which questions you’d be searching if you were in that situation. Luckily, many of us in the travel industry, love to travel ourselves, so have a very good idea of what information is essential to booking the perfect holiday.
For Example, When Consumers Are Looking To Book A Beach Holiday, They Want To Know:
- Where is best to go in X?
- What is the temperature in X in March?
- How far is the airport from X resort?
- What are the best luxury hotels in X resort?
- What sightseeing is there in X?
- Where are the best beaches in X?
- Where are the best restaurants in X?
Then, once you’ve selected your questions, write your content in a clear and concise way, focusing on structure, and the user, not for the search engines. This way, you’re much more likely to be creating useful content that provides value for your customers.
Beyond these questions, you can also address the general concerns people have about parting with large sums of money online, which is why general FAQs about your company and the booking process are also essential.
User-First Content And The Future Of Search
Today, as a travel brand, you have to create hubs of content that fulfil what customers need. What’s more, the FAQ format is perfect for voice search, which will undoubtedly grow in the coming years. Currently, 41% of adults and 55% of teens use voice search daily, and this number is forecasted to rise rapidly over the next few years.
FAQ content is perfect for voice search because it provides bite-sized information that will rank well and gain traction for your travel brand.
Wondering where to begin? Start by mapping your typical customers journey and consider all the information they need to make the most informed decision. If you can build a content strategy around research questions and combine this with slick visual experiences that feel personalised, you are on the right path.
Ian Crawford is the Digital Brand Manager for HolidayHypermarket.co.uk