The travel trends website, Skift, recently listed their 25 top tourism websites. These destination marketing organizations have kept up on the cutting edge of content marketing, design, user experience, mobile functionality and social media. Plus, they are just a hoot to look through and become inspired.
I’ve taken nine travel marketing lessons that you can “steal” from these sites, in some capacity or another. While the scope and scale (not to mention the budget) of these DMOs is substantial, you can make small changes to tailor your needs to these ideas.
Here they are:
1.) Emphasize local storytelling
You need to find ways to relate the unique story of your destination. The most prominent example that the Skift article shows, right at the header, is Nashville’s. The website conveys that the city is full of tales of how it became Music City, and how that is one of its biggest draws. See the example here, and look at Visit Scotland and Zurich Tourism.
2.) Pay attention to speed
Next, you’re going to look at how your site performs. Each of the listed sites has great speed capacity. With a greater emphasis on visual content and mobile, your website needs to have sufficient bandwidth to deliver the good to your visitors and not test their patience with slow loading. Here’s where a good webmaster can be a good resource and troubleshooter. Examples: Experience Columbus.
3.) Include personal videos
This is a no-brainer. All 25 sites incorporate ingenious uses of video as part of the storytelling core, and longer videos telling a more authentic angle is what’s most popular with visitors. The popularity of YouTube and live video streaming sites and apps like Meerkat, Periscope and now Facebook should convince you that if you don’t have videos on your site, do it now. Examples: Visit Seattle.
4.) Focus on user experience and design
The author of this article, Greg Oates, writes that emphasis on local material, customized mobile-adapted maps, deeper content dives with customer profiles and in-depth videos all contribute to these sites’ quality. But you also want to remember the user-experience (UX) and make sure that people have no trouble whatsoever getting around yours. Examples: NYC & Company, Frankfurt Tourism and Chile Travel.
5.) Make it colorful and beautiful
Many of these sites aren’t shy when it comes to letting color come through. People just respond naturally to color for message emphasis, identity symbolism, usability, mood and just plain artistic appeal. So make sure that you have a palette that’s appealing to eye and conveys your travel company’s philosophy and clearly presents your branding. Examples: Visit Stockholm, Visit Finland and Colombia Travel.
6.) Think interactive maps
Perhaps this is the biggest travel marketing lesson here. Many of the DMOs have ditched the standard Google Maps or Mapquest for something that’s more personalized and informative for travel decision-making. If you can afford to create maps of your offered destinations that give your prospects valuable information, you’ll be way ahead of most of your competition. Examples: Discover Los Angeles and Visit Dallas.
7.) Keep including user-generated content for the local angles
How can you tell if your fans create verbal and visual content that’s worth integrating, and how accomplish that? One way to get the locals’ expertise is to ask for recommendations on what’s the best new craft brewery, where to find the best designer knockoffs, and what tourist attractions are really worth seeing – in other words, the insiders’ info that all travelers appreciate. Examples: San Francisco Travel.
8.) Play up your uniqueness
Here’s a great example of the reverse psychology. You don’t want your travel company to be all things to all people, so consider showing off what makes you special. This almost gives a company brand an exclusivity association that can work wonders on a travel consumer audience. No matter what your budget is, you can easily accomplish this idea through stellar content. Examples: Travel Oregon and Keep Exploring Canada.
9.) Incorporate your social media recommendations and content
Through much of your social media recommendations and travel recommendation sites, you can organize and direct content that drives people to your site and helps them to explore your content further. From there, you can begin the booking and sales process. After all, whatever most people are enjoying is what you naturally want to highlight in your marketing. Examples: Visit California and Tourism Australia.
Of course, some of these travel marketing strategies can be done quickly, while other will take some careful thought and planning. If you need some help with any of these aspects, get in touch with me, either through commenting below or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to hearing from you! If you like what you’ve read here, don’t forget to share this post.