The travel industry can establish authenticity through digital to regain the trust of the traveler. But to do this, it needs to realise that it’s not in the business of selling holidays - it’s in the business of selling dreams.
It’s crucial for travel brands to help craft the beginning, middle and end of travellers’ dreams at the right time and in the right way. Online behaviour comes in three parts when it comes to travel, and its cyclical nature means awareness is key.
During the pre-booking period, prospective travellers will passively trawl the internet, conducting their own research: finding inspiration on Instagram, collecting it in an easy to view place on Pinterest and reading reviews on Facebook. Use your channels to pre-empt this behaviour. Royal Caribbean have done it by creating thirty different boards of inspiration on Pinterest, ranging from Alaskan Expeditions to eight hours in Jamaica. Conde Naste Traveller is another great example, providing 1.3 million followers with content on their newsfeed that has to be saved to their ‘dream destinations’ list immediately.
During the trip, travellers become more active online. They will share photos of themselves on their channels and want to tag your hotel or restaurant or experience. Make sure this is accurately set up, ready to go and repost any content that helps propagate the dream of your holiday experience – from the perspective of a real person. Although tempting, giving into gimmicks won’t sell the dream. A Snapchat filter with your brand name slapped across the bottom costs a lot, but looks cheap. Nobody wants to remember that dreamy beach scene with the word XYZ HOTELS written across the bottom. Money is better invested in enhancing the holiday experience through useful in app functionality. A good example of this is the Airbnb app – which pre-empts the first thing you will do when you arrive at your destination by providing you with the postcode to your ‘new home’.
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