Travel companies’ marketing content must be relevant to its target audience if it’s going to increase sales, an industry panel has concluded.
An expert panel speaking at Melt Content’s Digital Breakfast at London’s ‘Gherkin’ building on Friday said that, from a business point of view, content needs to do more than read well and look good.
They said it needs to get people browsing the travel firm’s site and increase the chances of making bookings, or at least help build the brand’s reputation.
Andrew Shelton, managing director of Cheapflights.com, said: “Content has always been at the heart of our business.
“Search marketing is at the heart of what we’ve done and content is the backbone of that. It’s about having experts who understand what people are searching for and building content around that. That’s what gives us profitable marketing.
“We use content for SEO, to build our brand and build PR campaigns.”
Victoria Saunders, director of Travel at News UK, which is behind The Times and The Sun, said it was tough to get journalists to buy in to content written to help drive sales rather than on its editorial merit.
She said: “Our editorial team were tasked with getting the right content first of all, and that was the biggest issue we had. What is the right content?
“We had a key audience that are Times advocates but what we wanted was to attract a stretch audience and people who just generally want to go on holiday and be inspired by our content.
But she added: “The great content doesn’t necessarily drive traffic. It was a whole learning curve for us.
“We have a tone of voice and a Times advocacy but what we do appreciate as a business is that we need some help in terms of getting the content optimised. We are not experts in search.”
The Times’ travel channel – Insider City Guide – refers holidaymakers to sites such as Booking.com and Skyscanner from their travel content.
Saunders added that bookings are up and traffic has increased 20% since content started to be optimised.
Dan Hart, Melt Content’s chief executive, said: “It’s like a channel that actually drives return.”
He said Melt’s clients are usually aiming to drive search traffic through content or use content as a brand building exercise.
“It varies from client to client – they come to us with very specific needs.”
Melt delivers 500 pieces of content per month for Expedia on “a very tight brief” while others want “a more strategic approach” such as understanding customer behaviour.
“Content almost becomes a by-product of that. It’s really just a vehicle to get that message to your audience.”