In this article, we look at some of the best travel content marketing campaigns over the past couple of years, showing how they not only dealt with the pandemic but also paved the way for recovery by addressing the new priorities for travellers.
The Traveler Value Index 2022 Outlook, published by Expedia Group, asked travellers from around the world about their plans and priorities for the year ahead – and it found people in the UK would do the most international travelling over the next six months.
As we’ve seen at various stages of the pandemic, the British appetite for international travel is robust. In fact, it’s so strong that airlines, airports and other services were struggling to cope with demand at times!
The Expedia Group survey is the latest of many illustrating the readiness of people around the world to start travelling again but it also reveals their changed priorities:
Safety and flexibility aren’t the only concerns travellers have in the post-pandemic world. Environmental concerns are driving demand for sustainable travel options and the work-life balance is a bigger factor now, too.
Crucially, more than half of travellers say they are willing to spend more than they were before the pandemic to have their needs met and almost 60% say they’re willing to spend more for sustainable trips.
Now, let’s look at how some of the top travel companies are addressing these concerns in their content marketing efforts.
Airbnb says most of its traffic comes from organic search so its travel content marketing strategy revolves around “educating the world about hosted travel and what makes Airbnb unique”.
“To do this, we created a series of films using real photographs shot by photographers on real trips staying in the homes of Airbnb Hosts around the world. These films connect with the sense of nostalgia we all feel about trips we took with people we care about, and the prospect of taking those trips again.”
Every episode of the Made Possible By Hosts series tells a real story about the travellers and, crucially, the trip made possible by Airbnb hosts and their properties.
Here’s the story from the Mambo Italiano episode above:
“Photographer Marco and his wife Stefani were looking to take a much-needed break with their baby and his favourite person in the world – his Grandma. So they headed to Modica, a small town in Sicily where they stayed in Caterina’s beautiful garden home. It was a lot of firsts for their son – his first trip, his first plane ride and even his first granita – a Sicilian style of ice cream. And even though he probably won’t remember much of the trip, his parents suspect the taste of melon will always hold a special place in his heart. This is just one of the millions of trips that take place on Airbnb, made possible by Hosts.”
You can watch the full series of Made Possible by Hosts videos here.
The campaign doubled down on Airbnb’s original USP of connecting travellers with hosts and experiences with local people in the areas they visit. The company says that, as the world emerged from lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions, the isolation they had experienced drove them to seek more connection with people and meaning from their travels.
Each episode in the campaign highlights the role of hosts and their properties but also emphasises the experience of travelling to new places with loved ones – something many people hadn’t been able to do for the past couple of years.
In March 2021, VisitScotland launched a new video campaign with the hashtag #RespectProtectEnjoy as people in the UK were gearing up for a busy year of domestic travel.
The video Scotland, Yours to Enjoy. Responsibly. teases shots of beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, wildlife and so many other things people had missed out on during lockdowns. Yet, the campaign has a bigger message than simply announcing that Scotland is open for tourism.
The video opens with an important reminder: “What we do today affects tomorrow” and a call to protect Scotland’s natural wonders. It continues with shots of rivers, mountains and people making the most of the elements with interjecting scenes of pocketing litter and keeping spaces clear.
Viewers are urged to enjoy natural spaces but leave them in the same condition they found them in: “take only pictures and leave only footprints”.
The YouTube description adds more context to the narrative of the video:
“Scotland is a special place to visit. Whether you’re a local and enjoying a staycation, or an international visitor experiencing our magical shores for the first time, it’s important we all do our bit to keep Scotland as glorious as we can for now, and for the future generations too.
Our elusive, and often rare, wildlife species have had Scotland as their home for many centuries now, so it’s vital we respect the landscape and help to keep it as clean and as natural as we can. This means things like; picking up and taking your litter home with you, not starting fires in woodland or protected areas, and sticking to waymarked paths and trails that avoid natural habitats and fauna.”
The campaign recognised the increased popularity of places like the Scottish Highlands as people were planning their summer 2021 holidays. However, it also addresses the environmental issues a sudden boom in visitor numbers was bound to create. While many companies make eco-friendly pledges to appease growing demands for sustainable travel, VisitScotland isn’t pandering to consumer demands.
It’s sending a message out to people who care about the environment but, especially, to those who may not consider the full impact of their actions in natural environments.
A year after VisitScotland’s campaign, easyJet launched an integrated brand campaign targeting holidaymakers ahead of the spring and summer season. The nextGen easyJet campaign combined TV advertising, social media, print and other mediums to position the airline as the eco-friendly option as the industry took off again.
“The campaign highlights easyJet’s ongoing work as Europe’s only major airline to offset carbon emissions from the fuel used for all its flights at no extra cost to customers, while it works alongside industry partners to accelerate the development of zero-emission technologies, as well as its commitment to championing greater diversity and inclusivity for the aviation industry.”
Without debating the effectiveness of airlines offsetting or the meme potential of an ad showing easyJet passengers flying through the air, the brand positioning in this campaign is clear.
The company insists it’s the only major airline in Europe offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of its flights and the video ad reinforces this message with a bold concept and visually striking footage.
It could be a risky strategy, though, for a company with a recent history of being accused of greenwashing.
Sticking with the theme of airlines, Delta focused on a different selling point in this social media campaign that leverages user-generated content (UGC) from customer reviews.
Although the travel industry was in a state of recovery, disruption remained a problem with the ever-changing Covid-19 situation and various other issues. Customers wanted to book with confidence, knowing any problems they encountered would be dealt with properly, particularly with cancelled flights, delays and other travel disruptions.
By showcasing positive customer reviews, Delta reassures travellers that it will do everything it can to ensure they arrive at their destination, even during times of unprecedented challenges for the industry.
Visit Portugal was a great example of travel content marketing throughout the pandemic, starting from the moment travel restrictions were first put in place. In April 2020, it released the Can’t Skip Hope video, perfectly capturing the tone and emotions of the time.
The video asserted the need to stop and take pause – for the sake of everyone – while promoting solidarity at a time when the world was still coming to grips with the early impact of the pandemic.
“It’s time to stop. It’s time to take a break, for the good of the world. In the meantime, we can dream for the great days to come. We’re in this together.”
A year later, when travel first started opening again, Visit Portugal launched a new Can’t Stop Tomorrow campaign focusing on sustainability and taking the opportunity to learn from the first year of the pandemic.
It published a series of videos localised for key target markets, including Great Britain, France and Germany, as well as an international version in English for global audiences.
Here’s the video released for Great Britain, entitled Hello Britain. It’s me, Tomorrow:
Sweeping footage of Portugal’s landscapes is narrated by a young Portuguese narrator explaining the importance of protecting what the country has today for tomorrow’s residents and travellers: “Let’s change today and we’ll keep visiting tomorrow”.
This is the key theme throughout the Can’t Skip Tomorrow campaign, emphasising the need to rethink travel. Here’s the video description from the international video, entitled Hello World. It’s me, Tomorrow, which you can also view on Visit Portugal’s YouTube channel:
“We honour history and value our cultural heritage. And nature? A monument that cannot be exhausted. This is the time to invest more in it and to embark on a journey and a tourism for the good of the planet… This is the time to rebalance the scale. The purity to which we must return to rediscover a new way of travelling and flying with our feet firmly on the ground.”
At every stage of the pandemic, Visit Portugal hit the right tone as traveller concerns evolved and the organisation’s localisation strategy spoke to target audiences across key markets with relevant messages in their native language.
Instead of simply translating the same video into multiple languages, Visit Portugal developed unique messages for travellers in Great Britain, France and other key markets, speaking to each of them at a more personal level.
This also reinforced the authenticity of the message, which is especially important when you’re promoting sustainable travel and other environmental messages.
We have years of experience helping travel companies with their digital marketing – get in touch on 02392 830281 or drop us your details below and we’ll call you.
Dave is head of SEO at Vertical Leap. He joined in 2010 as an SEO specialist and prior to that worked with international companies delivering successful search marketing campaigns. Dave works with many of our largest customers spanning many household names and global brands such as P&O Cruises and Harvester. Outside of work, Dave previously spent many years providing charity work as a Sergeant under the Royal Air Force Reserves in the Air Cadets sharing his passion for aviation with young minds. He can often be found in the skies above the south coast enjoying his private pilot licence.
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Categories: AI, Travel
Categories: Content Marketing, PPC, SEO, Social Media, Travel