Content marketing refers to the process of producing content as means of indirectly promoting your business.
It may be a relatively new buzzword, but it is a concept that has been around for a long time. Michelin produced the first of their acclaimed guides way back in 1900, offering motorists handy tips on travelling, reviews of places to stay and of course, eat.
Content marketing is a hot topic at the moment across all sectors and the future of any business seems to rest on the success, or failure, of these endeavours.
Today, most travel brands are investing big money in it and here are some great examples of those who are doing it well:
Oyster.com’s photo fakeout
You can’t attend an online marketing event without at least one speaker evangelising about Oyster.com. What is it doing that is so great? It sends a professional photographer to each and every one of the hotels that are listed on the site so customers can see exactly what they will find when they arrive.
You can see these at the ‘Photo Fakeout’ page on their website:
Marriott International’s in house content studio
So serious are Marriott about content marketing that it hired an executive from Disney to manage an in-house content studio. Here, it has produced short films, an interactive travel magazine and even virtual reality content using Oculus Rift technology.
From their control room, Marriott’s dedicated editorial team are constantly monitoring the social media campaigns of its 19 brands in real time, ready to capitalise on events and amplify successful content with assisted media buying.
Airbnb’s travel guides
Airbnb is the new way for travellers to find flexible accommodation as the base for exploring an unfamiliar city. Its destination guides break down each city into its most popular areas and include high resolution images, maps and insightful copy – among the best you will find online.
STA Travel’s budgeting advice
Any travel brand considering content marketing needs to fully understand their audience – what are their likes and dislikes, what are the challenges they face? Student travel specialist STA offers helpful advice in an easy-to-digest format to those who are travelling on a budget.
Four Seasons’ online magazine
Everything you would expect of a glossy travel magazine, available in easily-accessible online format. As befits such a renowned brand, the magazine contains strong editorial and engages perfectly with the brand’s target audience of well-heeled travellers.
Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Between Meetings’ series
Another great example of offering content aimed at a specific audience – Virgin’s ‘Between Meetings‘ series shows us the attractions that busy business travellers can take in between their work obligations.
Virgin America’s #Vxsafetydance video
Several airlines have attempted to produce humorous safety instruction videos, and one of the most successful has been Virgin America’s #Vxsafetydance video. Taking inspiration from a pop music video, this has been a big hit with fliers and clocked up over 11 million hits on YouTube.
WestJet’s Christmas miracle campaign
In 2013, Canadian airline WestJet approached travellers boarding one of its flights and asked them what they would like for Christmas. Low-and-behold, waiting for them on arrival at their destination was Santa Claus with their gifts. The whole experience was filmed and uploaded to YouTube.
The payoff? A video with over 42 million views, 13,000 Facebook likes, and an awful lot of love for their brand.