With more people looking at travel as an experience, there’s a big push to promote it in a way that resonates with on a deeper, more emotional, and personal level with consumers.
Many would argue that travel is inherently experiential by definition. While that’s true, many consumer are looking for more unique, immersive experiences that align with their values, interests and spirit.
Whether your promoting ziplining in Bali, or spelunking the Blue Hole caves of Belize, or a family vacation to Orlando, you need to sell the experience.
Here are ways some ways to amp up the experiential factor and stand out from competitors:
Be the Source
Make your travel site the central hub for all information that might be relevant for travelers. Have sections where people can find out more about your city or each destination beyond what is fun for leisure tourists. This includes the local culture, traditions, environment, and businesses. By putting all of this information in one place, you’ll make it extremely easy for visitors to learn about the destination. Strive to be the go-to source.
Video is the most powerful visual medium. And there’s no denying the impact of using video as a persuasive tool to promote travel and tourism. But it doesn’t have to be just for beaches and excotic locales. Many people want an idea or some context about what the experience will be like with their travel plans. Check with the brands you promote to see if they have video you can use. Alternatively, you could simply create a video montage of the neighborhood surrounding the hotel property, add in some local events and local attractions, as well as scenery. The idea is to provide a sense of excitement and make them want to go visit.
Create Niche Itineraries
Instead of just listing attractions, restaurants and hotels, groups things together in fun ways. For example, The Ultimate Foodie Day in San Francisco or a Hidden Gems of Old Las Vegas. Creating a different guides or experiences are a good way to present your destinations that offer additional appeal for travelers.
Use Social Media
Many people’s travel experiences start on social media. They use Facebook and Pinterest for travel inspiration, and online reviews to select specific hotels and activities. Leverage these platforms not only for advertising, but by connecting with social media influencers, engaging with individual followers, and sharing engaging content. This can range from branded geofilters on Snapchat, to promoting the destination with 360-degree video and virtual reality experiences that can be shared on YouTube or Facebook.
Encourage User Generated Content
Find creative ways to get people to share their travel photos with you. And then post them on your site. You can run contests or offer a giveaways for those that share photos with you. You can request that your audience tag your site in their photos. Then add those images to a photo gallery. This is an impactful (and inexpensive) way to market to others. Consumer seeing these photos will likely be more encouraged to take similar trips.
To further set your site apart from the pack, think about including technology like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences on your site. VR experiences appeal directly to the experience-driven traveler. It allows them to see what exactly what travel to a specific location or attraction might be like. It’s also more likely to make them want to go in real life.
Many travelers like to extend a business trip into a vacation. So, be sure to include messaging about extending trips, adding extra activities to their itinerary, or upgrading their travel experience.
Overall, the key for travel affiliates is to focus on memorable experiences and opportunities to share them with friends and family. The more experiential the marketing campaign, the more likely it is to attract travelers.