Narrowing down this week’s list was no easy task. From huge shakeups in the vacation rental industry, to leaps in mobile travel bookings, to shortcuts to better social media, the past two weeks have been jam-packed with great travel marketing and copywriting advice.
I won’t keep you waiting. Dig in:
1. Guest Psychology & Your Content
It’s well known that psychology influences our decisions, so it should come as no surprise that a traveler’s decision-making process is also deeply rooted in psychology. Moving from the theoretical into the applicable, Coschedule offers up a great template to delve into traveler psychology: identify feelings, convert them to desires, and then relate them to rewards (= what you offer). In other words, a template to frame every piece of your content.
2. Video is a Powerful Travel Marketing Tool
If you believe that a photo speaks a thousand words, then how powerful do you think video can be? Hospitality Net has the answer: Extremely powerful. In fact, did you know that, while 20% of web users will read your content, 80% would be willing to watch your videos? And how can you pass that up?
3. Now You Can Easily Create Your Own Videos
While we’re on the topic of video, Social Media Examiner has pulled together an excellent guide on how to easily edit video. Seriously, all you need is your phone and some free software, and you can pull together quick videos to showcase your hotel, destination, vacation rental, or any other travel offering. Bottom line: Your videos don’t need to be professionally shot and edited, in order to tell a good story.
4. HomeAway/VRBO Changes – And What You Should Do Next
HomeAway recently released some major changes to their platform – required Online Booking and no contact information pre-booking, to name two of the favorite (= sarcasm) changes – and in the process, unleashed plenty of owner frustration. Instead of stewing in your rage, Lodgify has four suggestions on what to do instead. Be proactive!
5. Alternate Vacation Rental Listing Sites Emerge
Since we’re talking HomeAway changes and your options in the aftermath, let’s discuss one I’ve heard quite a bit about over the last few weeks: alternate listing sites. Many vacation rental owners have begun migrating their listings to smaller sites that operate in the old style, so you can vet renters before they book, book however you want, share your website information, etc.
Most recently, Villa Marketers announced their new offering, BreakAway Vacation Rentals. Other grassroots efforts, including HomeEscape and VacationRentalByOwner.net (with its many regional sub-sites), are also gaining ground. Only time will tell if these sites can gain traction among travelers (and therefore actually send you bookings), but they’re definitely starting off on the right foot.
6. 26 Shortcuts to Better Social Media
Are you anything like me? I love the idea of social media, but not the implementation. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Which is why I also love any kind of tip, hack or shortcut to more social in less time. So, a big thank you to Buffer Social (my social productivity tool of choice, by the way) for their collection of 26 apps to create social content with just a smartphone. Because when do I not have my smartphone?
7. In 2017, 40% of Travel Sales Are Purchased on Mobile
Did you know that this year, in the U.S., an estimated 40% of digital travel sales will be the product of mobile bookings? The B&B Team does. This is big news, not only in the grand scheme of things but in practical terms. But, it also means that if your website isn’t mobile-optimized – and by that, I don’t mean that it just kind-of works for mobile, but that it’s spectacular on a 5″ screen – then you’re losing out on 40% of nights you could have booked.
8. Attract More International Bookings
Whether you’re a major hotel, or a small inn, of a travel agency, or a single vacation rental, international guests likely make up at least a part of your bookings. And that’s why you should read up on Siteminder’s 5 ways to attract more international guests. (Note: The article is targeted toward hotels, but the information is applicable to almost any travel biz.)
9. Effective Responses to Negative Reviews
Look, they happen: Negative reviews. We’ve all had one, at some point or another, but what separates the hospitality winners from the losers is how you respond to negative reviews. Search Engine Watch has some good advice that, while not strictly relating to travel, is perfectly applicable to the industry.
10. Airbnb Gears Up for Luxury Vacation Rentals
If you haven’t heard, Airbnb is gearing up to enter the luxury vacation rental business. Tests are expected to begin, in select markets, by the end of 2017. And experts are warning luxury hotels to brace for impact. Are you ready?