Every travel agent spending the least bit of time thinking about their travel agency website has heard the truism “Content is King.” I’m here to suggest, however, content is so much more than King, if by “King” you mean it is content bringing visitors to your website through basic search engine marketing. Indeed, it is relevant, original content responsible for most of the organic, (i.e. “free”), traffic visiting your site. However, merely getting visitors to your site is only a first step. In addition, to be successful you need to also entertain (the Jester) and please (the Queen) your visitors, or they will soon be off to find better content and digital turf on which to spend their time. The Knight – he’s the enforcer, the one who makes you write often and well and with great design on a consistent basis.
Let’s spend a bit of time at court.
The King: Keep your travel agency content client-centric
In the best kingdoms, the ones most prosperous and happy, the ruler of a land, the king, existed for the people. Your content should be important to your clients. You can certainly share their enthusiasm for the topic, in fact you certainly must do so to be authentic and engaging. Remember, though, your visitors have only one true interest: themselves. With that simple fact in mind, the King will form an editorial mission for your travel website mimicking and reflecting the mission statement of your travel business as a whole. The King is the law-giver, setting out the rules for the editorial, keeping everyone in sync with the mission of entertaining, engaging and informing the site’s visitors. If that mission is done and done well, an interesting occurrence ensues: a community of like-minded people begin to populate the kingdom. Visitors return on a regular basis for more of the same.
The Queen: Keep your website well designed
Great content is important, but if your travel agency website is not well designed your visitors will have trouble consuming all of your marketing effort. The Queen stands side by side with the King and makes visitors feel at home. Make your website easy to follow and understand. Good use of white-space, solid organizational principles and menu systems, good placement of graphical elements interspersed in your text. Effective design is nearly the your best opportunity at a good “first impression.” Good design assists engagement by making your content easily accessible. Good design supports your messaging and assists in comprehension and understanding by reinforcing your brand. If the King’s job is to be lawgiver, the Queen’s is to be loved.
The Jester: Entertain your visitors
Travel agency website content is inherently entertaining: except when it isn’t. Spend additional time with every element of your content, from the word choice to the videos and photography. Inspire your clients. Don’t be all about the business of selling travel. Instead, be the travel coach, the travel enthusiast, the travel fanatic. If you are all about travel, you are the person your visitors will think about when they next think about travel. Spend real time thinking about your content selection and creation and keep honing your creative edge. Use variety in all of your travel website content: keep your visitors on the site with information they will find not just useful, but amusing, entertaining and well written. Use videos and other content touching the emotional hot-buttons so important to marketing your travel agency. Learn to speak to the Explorer as well as the Accountant!
The Knight: Enforce the Rules
The King has laid down the law by establishing the editorial mission for your travel agency website content. You know the rules, now you have to have an enforcement policy. The Jester wants you to write well, but you must also write often. Give your visitors a reason to come back again and again. Use words designed to enforce the King’s mission. Need an example? Look at the number of times in this article the words “content” “travel agency” and “website” are used in close proximity to each other. In so doing, I’m enforcing the King’s requirements of ensuring the respect of Lord Google and search engine marketing. Make sure your travel content in every instance serves your editorial mission and doesn’t stray from basic good design principles. Make sure every effort is educational, entertaining and well designed. There is a generosity to the Knight as well. Most of the information on the travel website should be freely given.
Your visitors, all interested in travel, want to read, see and experience content relevant to their own needs, desires and ambitions. Create content readers will find useful. Create content from which your visitors will benefit. Keep in mind the fears and concerns every travelers has, from paying too much for travel to the dangers inherent in some destinations, to concerns for poorly planned vacations and bad travel experiences. Your travel website’s job is to present content that is empathetic and to nurture the visitor with information both educational and informative.
Concern yourself with taking care of your travel website visitors and you will find them asking you for advice the next time they leave their own castles.
Question: Have I tortured this metaphor sufficiently?