How to Create Travel Content for Discerning Readers
You may have noticed the recent market influx of curating service startups. These companies, like Stitch Fix, Beauty Box, Blue Apron, and Club W, all provide busy professionals who are low on time, but just fine on expendable income, with the chance to purchase quality, stylish items without spending their time shopping and sifting through the rejects. Customers receive collections of clothing, beauty products, healthy meals, appealing wines, etc., all hand-chosen by tastemakers and experts. Research shows that higher-end customers want intimate travel advice from this same brand of experts and insiders—they crave this type of personally curated service, and that’s where your content comes in.
Provide the type of content that regurgitates top ten popular visitor must-sees, or the kind of mass-appeal destination that everyone already knows about. The web is already saturated with information about tourist traps, so a perspective that doesn’t feel fresh won’t add much value.
Focus on the “hidden gems” of a destination. Discerning customers like to have the feeling of being in-the-know. For instance, if you were writing about luxury travel to Paris, skip reinventing the wheel by creating one more tired blog post about the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées. Instead, think along the lines of hidden boutiques with personal shopping services, or hotels that provide a designated butler service for the duration of your stay.
Forget your audience. If your focus is to appeal to higher-end clients and bon vivants, don’t waste time with where to find the best burger joints or the cheapest deals.
Know your intended reader. Are they educated? Intelligent? Carrying some extra cash?
Focus on experiences and services that are unique to a particular destination. Discriminating customers want to read about something they couldn’t easily do, see, or buy right in their own neighborhood. What is unique or rare about your topic? Try appealing to adventerous travelers’ fear of missing out, and give readers ideas for unique experiences that would make a great story.
Be an unreliable narrator by shifting tones within one content piece. If you’re attempting to implement a classic “luxury strategy” don’t mix in raunchy humor, or talk about available discounts.
Maintain a consistent approach throughout your piece. Intelligent readers can easily sense shifts in tone, which throws them off, and makes your brand’s voice sound potentially untrustworthy.
You create a real missed opportunity by letting your content get hung up on less relevant methodologies, like solutions selling. Yes, creating travel content pointing to the needs you can address makes sense for some markets (like babysitting service at a family hotel). But given their resources, high-end clients are used to consistently having their needs met. They are not moved by ‘suitable,’ they are looking for extraordinary.
Try focusing on the state of mind inspired by luxury travel. The kind of clientele you are looking to attract does not come to luxury travel to fix a problem; rather, they are fulfilling a wish. Luxury travel is about what’s extra, what’s pleasurable, what’s just for fun, what’s surprising and indulgent.
Never create content that is overzealous, or sounds like a glorified pitch from a used car salesman. Smart readers can see right through that, and it can make them want to tune
you out (Forbes).
Prioritize telling a meaningful story about a place. Luxury travel is about extremes. The ideal luxe vacation includes moments of excitement and indulgent relaxation all in one— all things that can prompt powerful emotions. It makes sense to create a narrative about a place in which readers can envision themselves feeling like their favorite version of themselves.
Unlocking Powerful Associations
Have you heard of this term, the “luxury strategy?” If you haven’t, get ready to rethink how you conceptualize content for high-quality customers. As Vincent Bastian, Professor of Marketing at HEC Paris writes for Entrepreneur Magazine: “The luxury strategy aims at creating the highest brand value and pricing power by leveraging all intangible elements of singularity- i.e. time, heritage, country of origin, craftsmanship, man-made, small series, prestigious clients, etc.”
Basically, using the “luxury” approach to market to high-end customers assumes that the actual product is not always the most important part of a campaign. As opposed to the “premium” strategy, which is a ‘pay more, get more’ approach, and works by highlighting each superfluous feature and amenity of an expensive product, the luxury strategy works by implanting an intangible emotional association about a brand into the customer’s subconscious.
You have surely noticed how Americans associate Western Europe with class and prestige, for example. Slap a French or Italian label on a basic beauty cream or bottle of wine, and all of a sudden you’ve got a product that many consumers will automatically identify as desirable and ‘high-end’ based only on labeling. This association has been deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness over ages, and is a classic example of the power of emotion in rhetoric. This kind of appeal through pathos generates customers who respond to what you’re offering them.
Attracting customers by pulling on their heartstrings is not a new concept. But some brands waste resources by forgetting to consider what strategy will elicit an emotional reaction in a luxury traveler’s demographic. So know thy customer, content creators, and see the difference it can make in attracting discerning readers to your site. [Tweet it]
5-Star writer Camasin P is a freelance writer/educator living in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter. Currently an English Lit. doctoral candidate and Clark Fellow at Binghamton University, she has an MFA in writing from Columbia University, as well as a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.
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