5 Travel Content Marketing Examples to Inspire You into 2022
Mark our words, travel and adventure are going to be the grand themes of 2022. Everyone is excited to get back to exploring and experiencing the world – which is great news for museums and attractions. It’s also a moment that attractions around the world have been anticipating and preparing for over many months, and a lot of them have had the time and resources to really rethink their travel content marketing strategies. Given this, how much thought have you put into how you’ll promote your venue and brand?
Travel content marketing is going to be key for brands seeking to get on the radar of eager travellers and culture lovers. The original content you create and share on your website attracts “organic traffic” – people looking around the internet for cool things to do who might not have your venue on their radar. Sharing this content via social media and email also reminds your fans and followers that you’re a fantastic option. The more content you make, and the more content you have to share on all of these platforms, the more content search engines, like Google, can find and index.
Travel content marketing isn’t just about volume, of course. Like in most areas of excellence, success comes from quality – not quantity. For your content marketing to be effective, it requires a hefty dose of thought and a degree of imagination – not to mention talent. But don’t worry, you probably already have a lot of that talent in-house.
What sort of content are we talking about? Read on for some ideas and real-world examples of effective and eye-catching travel content marketing.
The British Museum’s Blog is a sleek sneak peek at upcoming special exhibitions as well as a modern take on art history. History buffs who wonder “Did Nero really ‘fiddle while Rome burned’?” and “Why did they move Thomas Becket’s bones?” find answers here in wittily written dispatches. Far from dry, the museum’s blog missives are a scintillating glance back at history, and forward at upcoming museum experiences.
Plenty of other museums also have blogs devoted to the subject matters closest to their hearts. For other kinds of attractions and experiences, though, does the blog model work? Indeed it does.
The New England Aquarium’s popular blog publishes regularly about subjects from the serious (conservation efforts) to the whimsical (like this Podcast Playlist). ARTIS, Amsterdam’s Royal Zoo, has a blog that features stories about all the curious creatures that inhabit the zoo, the stunning botanical life on view there, and the legends behind the medieval fortress at the heart of the venue. These stories give rich historical and natural context to a modern-day zoo experience.
In fact, any kind of attraction can take advantage of blogging. A blog can easily be integrated into your website, and you already have the content makers you need to whip up informative, insightful posts: curators, scientists, animal wranglers, botanists, art history academics, and other types of subject-matter experts. Ask them what they’d like to share with a wider audience, and remember, no idea is too “out there”.
Remember print? Airbnb does. Interestingly, this born-digital brand was a retro innovator with its Airbnb Magazine, which launched in 2016 in partnership with publishing bigwig Hearst. First debuted at an Airbnb open event in Los Angeles in all its glory – 32 pages of glory – it was eventually sent to all Airbnb hosts with multiple listings, and made available by subscription to anyone else.
Another high-profile example of a tourism industry print publication, of course, is Smithsonian Magazine. With subject matter covering “history and archaeology from the Sphinx to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War,” the content of the magazine mirrors the content of the Washington D.C. museum, but also stands alone as a highly regarded publication. Over its 50+ years in publication, Smithsonian Magazine has grown into a highly respected brand that attracts notable contributors and pays homage to select individuals with its annual American Ingenuity Awards. And, of course, the Smithsonian Museum attracts attention back to the Smithsonian itself.
On a smaller scale, in NYC, the Children’s Museum of the Arts prints Mishou Magazine to highlight the creative work of artists under 16. During the pandemic, the magazine sprung up to give creative kids a break from screens, offering accessible household art activities such as “create art prints with food scraps.”
Print publishing is expensive, and not for every brand. But if you have the resources, or the connections, to partner with a publisher, it can be well worth the effort. As a less lofty option, pitch a guest article to an existing travel-based publication, of which there are no shortage of options: airline magazines, global travel publications, local magazines, hotel publications, destination guides. To get your foot in the door of the bigger-name magazines, a PR professional can be helpful, but for publications with a smaller circulation, or those just getting off the ground, a direct pitch is often more successful.
In addition to the print magazine, the Smithsonian has plenty of other high-caliber approaches to travel content marketing. The museum’s podcasts (yes, plural) are a popular resource. As just one example, the podcast Sidedoor tells stories from the Smithsonian’s rich trove of antiquities and objets d’art – consider ”Bloodsuckers!” (why leeches deserve more love) and “The Battle of Blair Mountain” (the story of a 1921 coal miner immigrant labor uprising).
At Centre Pompidou, in Paris, the podcast aptly titled “One podcast for one artwork” dives into specific themes surrounding the museum’s flagship artworks. Each episode hones in on one specific work of art, such as Frida Kahlo’s The Frame or Piet Mondrian’s Composition en Rouge, bleu et blanc II, 1937. For hardcore art fans, this is an incredible treasure trove of insight into the minds and intentions of famous artists.
Beyond museums, SeaWorld was recently in the news because of its launch of a podcast called Sea The World, with two episodes a month planned to give fans of the Orlando-based attraction insider tips and information.
Like a blog, a podcast has rich potential to showcase the knowledge and information your staff and stakeholders possess. But podcasts allow you to go into even more detail and really showcase the personality of your professionals. For this reason, podcasts are most successful when they deliver insight and stories beyond “the latest news” of your venue. Use this format to tell stories in great detail and cast intrigue about your attraction’s subject matter.
One hard lesson for a lot of museums and attractions in 2020: When in-person tourism comes to a slamming halt, you have to have virtual options to keep the magic alive. The attractions that were able to pivot to digital experiences during the pandemic were able to stay in the minds of visitors throughout.
The Roald Dahl Museum, physically located in Buckinghamshire, in the UK, hosts a well-designed example of interactive thematic content that serves as both an alternative to the in-person experience and an accompaniment to the overall subject. Create & Learn, part of the museum’s website, offers interactive creative writing exercises for budding young authors, learning lessons for “titchy toddlers”, and fantastic lesson plans for teachers. The museum even offers livestream learning sessions that teachers can bring directly into their classrooms, giving students direct, hands-on access to expert-led creative writing sessions.
Other museums paired up with marketing partners during the pandemic to create imaginative interactive materials. The Met, the Getty Museum and the Cincinnati Art Museum all made parts of their collections available via the Nintendo game Animal Crossing in 2020.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam allows online visitors to explore its collections virtually with a gamification element that makes the digital experience more enticing. The museum also takes advantage of the visual potential of digital media with its Stories series, an interactive website feature that allows online visitors to explore artworks in great detail. Click on Remember Me: Stories about portraiture in the Renaissance, and you’re transported to a sequence of portraits you can explore with your mouse. Insight into the style of portraiture of that era, as well as the mindset behind both the artists and the subjects, brings these 2D paintings to life.
An online travel agent (OTA) such as Tiqets can be very helpful in this pursuit. Tiqets made a list of 90+ Virtual Museum Tours You Can Enjoy from Your Couch during the pandemic. For Earth Day in April 2021, Tiqets launched Great Explorations, a virtual celebration with a series of free, virtual, nature-themed activities. Venues around the world got a marketing boost from this event, simply by virtue of being a Tiqets partner.
You may have ideas of your own for interactive travel marketing content. Like in all these examples, let your imagination lead, because original and unique initiatives are always ideal ways to grab your audience’s attention.
Cool digital experiences don’t always have to be interactive. Video is one of the most effective types of content marketing, particularly in the travel industry, where a preview of the experience can mean the difference between booking tickets or not. According to Google, “video plays a big role in the dreaming stage” of making travel plans –the search site claims that 64% of people who watch travel-related videos do it because they’re thinking of planning a trip, and 60% of people use online videos to help them make the final decision.
On the very cool website Future World: Where Art Meets Science, the ArtScience Museum in Singapore showcases a library of videos that give a tempting taste of the experience to visitors before they come to the museum. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video with incredible sound effects and background music is priceless.
The San Diego Zoo takes video marketing even further with live cams installed in many of its exhibits. Tune in any time of day to spy on the condors, pandas, tigers, burrowing owls, and more. Live cams are brilliant for zoos and amusement parks where the action can be exciting, or at least, very cute. But for museums, a more curated approach is often best.
When you’re reviewing your travel content marketing options, consider too the wealth of user-generated content, or UGC, you may have access to. That refers to videos your visitors film at your venue – often worth a retweet or Facebook share.
Not all travel content marketing comes in a recognizable format like a blog post, a podcast, or a magazine. In fact, when it comes to museums and attractions, your imagination is really your best strategy. What new ideas could you concoct for content? We look forward to seeing what you come up with – and to seeing you – in person in 2022.
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