Travel must embrace content-driven commerce, says Robb

Travel companies must embrace content-driven commerce if they are to fend off competitors in coming years, says a senior industry figure.

Nishma Robb, chief client and marketing office for iProspect, said the industry had not yet got to grips with content marketing, but that huge opportunities lay ahead for those quick to react.

At the Travolution Summit in London, Robb cited examples from the fashion and cosmetics industries where companies, such as Dove and Asos, had used storytelling to target specific audiences. They used a mixture of entertainment, information and education to draw shoppers to their websites and turn them into buyers. Robb said the travel industry’s inactivity in this field caused her great frustration.

“In other sectors I’ve seen conversion rates improve, and it saddens me because I haven’t seen it in the travel industry. Most of our businesses only have the opportunity to speak [to a customer] once a year – that’s why content is so important.”

Robb acknowledged British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and a small number of hotel groups promoting online concierge services had been ahead of the travel industry pack in the past few years. But she lamented there were still not enough travel industry examples to highlight.

“I’m not suggesting you become a media company. But you can take simple steps. Look at the content on your website. Look at your blogs and how you are communicating through email. Most importantly, find out who your customers are, be communicators and content creators with them at the centre of your strategy.”

Robb said conversations between brands and consumers had to be relevant, and tailored to different channels. For example, she advised marketers to consider mobile and desktop customers as separate entities.

To inspire delegates, Robb showed one example of a single commodity business that had successfully used content-driven marketing.

“Felix Baumgartner’s sky dive from the edge of space clocked the most ever concurrent live views on YouTube. Isn’t it amazing to think that a business like Red Bull with one product was responsible for this event? In my opinion it is the greatest example so far of a content marketer.”

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