Why Travel Companies Need A Blog
As a travel brand, the importance of having a blog can't be overstated.
Sure, it might seem time-consuming to maintain. You've got a business to run and frankly, a blog just sounds like more effort, right?
But here's the thing. The benefits of having a blog hugely outweigh the commitment needed to keep it going ... benefits that you might not even know about.
Need some persuading?
Here’s a quick guide to just some of the ways a blog can benefit your travel business.
Boosts search engine ranking
The search engines are constantly hunting for fresh content, making the frequent nature of blogging a great way to boost SEO.
Each newly published post acts like a waving flag, alerting the likes of Google that your site is active. It also adds another indexed page, which has been shown to increase leads.
Now, the process of producing effective SEO content is a post in itself. But in essence, writing content that contains the kind of keywords travel customers are using when researching a trip will give you more chance of showing up during their search.
The net result? You'll gain more eyeballs on your site, generate more leads and potentially bag more bookings.
Here's another thing to bear in mind: creating quality content can result in your posts being shared across the web.
Blogs can also pick up links from other industry-related websites who reference your material. Along with the added exposure, gaining links from reputable sites can add to the credibility search engines place on your site, too.
Some people know exactly what kind of trip they're looking for when they visit your site. Others are looking for a spark of inspiration. So, go inspire them!
Putting together a feature like 5 tips for haggling in Marrakech or where to find the best street food in Bangkok will help paint a vivid picture of a place they might never have considered visiting. Or potentially knew nothing about.
That's the power of a blog. It provides a platform to tell a story, immerse people in an exotic new culture or give them practical advice they can use on their next trip.
Each post you produce can be a one-off. But it can also form part of a themed series that together, make up a more in-depth feature.
You could cover a popular destination and focus on different regions each week. Or you might want to separately write about a country's cuisine, top tourist destinations, best beaches and so on.
Use your blog effectively and it'll help sell the unique experiences you offer in the most powerful way possible.
Increases sales leads
In a 2009 study by HubSpot, companies who had a blog were found to receive 55% more website visitors than businesses without blogs.
More recently, a digital influence report by Technorati showed blogs are the 3rd most influential digital resource for consumer purchases, and the 5th most used online service.
When it comes to winning more bookings, that's a lot of persuasive clout. So, how do you go about maximising this potential?
Place internal links within your travel articles that take customers to the page of the destination you’re featuring. Also, include a strong call-to-action at the end of each post to encourage customers to discover more about the trips you offer.
If you wrote a piece on America's greatest theme parks, take the opportunity to move customers towards the relevant buying section of your website. Saying something as simple as:
“If you liked this feature on America’s Greatest Theme Parks, check out the latest deals on our American itineraries.”
... could lead an interested visitor one step closer to actually booking a trip with you.
The job of your website is to lead potential customers down the sales funnel towards a point where they decide to buy from you. There isn’t much room for under-the-radar travel copy when you’re trying to convince people to book a tour or reserve a hotel room.
But a blog is different.
For the most part, your travel blog is there to educate, inform, answer potential questions or simply entertain. It acts as the human face of your business, providing a space where customers don’t feel like they’re being sold to.
It’s a softer, subtle and more helpful approach that offers value to the customer without it being so very obvious you’re trying to sell to them.
You might claim to know a particular region inside out, but how do you convince everyone else you’re the travel industry expert?
Whatever area you’re trying to demonstrate expertise in, you need to go beyond simply telling people you’re a specialist – you need to show them.
Example - if you sell trips to the Middle East, you could produce specific travel stories on the region with well-researched, insider tips. This might include describing the magic of camping under the stars in the Sahara, or listing the top 5 restaurants in Cairo.
If you don’t have a specific area of expertise, you can simply post a broader range of travel-related content that demonstrates you’re on top of the latest travel trends and that crucially – you’re passionate about the experiences you’re selling.