Generating Sales Leads Through Travel Guides
One of the most important components of inbound tourism marketing is the initial offer that prompts website visitors to submit their personal information. This is the offer that turns them into a sale “lead.” In the travel industry, two of the most effective offers for potential clients are trip planning tools and travel guides. Your business or destination can use these as an opportunity to demonstrate industry expertise and objectivity, and most importantly, build trust with potential future customers.
Here are 7 ways you can maximize your offers and create stronger leads:
1: Fill the information void
Conducting preliminary research is essential. Writing a good travel resource takes plenty of time and energy, and you don’t want to waste that on developing something your competitors have already published.
Find what content has been published on your chosen topic. How will your travel resource be different? What will it offer that existing travel resources don’t? If your topic needs refining or changing altogether, find out what your target audience is looking for so you can write with confidence and authority. What gap or void could your travel resource fill for your audience? What problem could it solve?
Our client, the Namibia Tourism Board, does this brilliantly on their website. They offer tourists a variety of travel resources intended to fill an information void.
2: Your title is everything
Well, not quite everything, but it's certainly important. Your title should be eye-catching and unique. Convey the essence of your topic and the value it brings to your readers with a cleverly placed keyword. The following are examples of good titles:
- “How to...” titles imply that your travel resource is going to teach readers something.
- Titles with “tips,” “tricks” or “secrets” instantly intrigue readers. After all, who doesn't want to be in on a good secret?!
- Numbers are also a good way to capture attention, particularly with lists such as “10 things to do in...”
Come up with several names for your travel resource and do a test marketing activity with your coworkers, friends, family, customers, and vendors to find out which title attracts the most attention.
3: Less is more
As with most writing, less is more. Avoid long sentences and especially long paragraphs. Your readers downloaded your content to find out more about an important topic, not so you could ramble off topic. Need help with content delivery and presenation? Our content creation Ebook is a great resource!
4: Design Matters
Having great content doesn’t matter if your travel resource is poorly designed. A sloppy, unprofessional layout is going to hurt your brand image and your company’s ability to increase visibility and, ultimately, to generate leads and sales.
Good design can enhance travel content, but it doesn't mean overly decorative layouts and templates. Instead, use styles that reinforce your brand messaging with colors and fonts present on your website or other collateral.
We love the design of the following two travel guide examples (available for download on the Experience Scottsdale Arizona website). Even though the resources cover two completely different topics, their similar design, color, and layout complement and accentuate Scotdales' branding and messaging.
5: Sell your expertise NOT your products
Let’s say you are a rafting tour operator in Uganda writing an e-book on adventure travel. It may be tempting to insert some tour summaries from your own brochures into the travel guide, but resist the temptation!
Remember, the point of travel guides and planning tools are to draw website visitors into your sales funnel so you can build a relationship with these travelers and demonstrate your expertise. Once they are ready to book a trip to your destination, they will automatically turn to you and your travel partners. You cannot rush the lead nurturing process; the goal of inbound tourism marketing is that when a consumer is ready to book a trip, they will come to you.
6: Reuse and Recycle
These travel resources that you have worked so hard to prepare are a testament of your travel expertise and knowledge. Repurposing this content wherever you can will help you get noticed! You can distribute the content in different formats across your other communciations channels. Tweak the content a little and write a series of blog posts or join travel forums and review sites and offer these blog links as useful resources to people’s travel queries. This way you can raise brand awareness and really establish yourself as an industry expert!
7: Use CTA’s to command a lead’s attention
Never forget that the main goal of a travel resource or guide is to give your readers the information they are seeking, but you should also give them additional benefits by enhancing your content with hyperlinks and calls-to-action that will help move readers along the sales cycle. This absolutely DOES NOT mean trying to sell a tour or service upfront, but instead linking to landing pages on your website where they can download other offers corresponding to their position in the travel planning process. For example, other travel resources or guides are great for people who are at the beginning stage of the planning process, while free or discounted trip offers, trip planning consultations, and product materials are ideal for people who are ready to book a trip.
Still stuck on creating offers? Need help maximizing your leads? Experiencing writer's block?
Don't fear! If you want to learn more about creating valuable travel guides and resources that convert leads, take a look at some of Solimar’s tourism marketing services or marketing solutions for businesses and destinations.