5 Incredible Content Marketing Examples From Travel Brands
When was the last time you took a true vacation? Not a “let me just check my work email” vacation, or a “finishing a blog post on the plane” vacation, but a real, no contact, no schedule, mimosas at 10 am kind of escape?
Unless you’re apart of the 28% of American workers who actually use their max vacation time annually, you’re probably overdue for some relaxation. Let’s say you have a locale in mind—maybe a faraway destination you’ve always wanted to see—but you don’t know where to begin researching hotels, car rentals, excursion packages, and restaurants.
Even aside from the travel logistics, you probably want to read up on your destination’s local cultures and customs—you don’t just want to walk like a robot from tourist destination to tourist destination, buying a cheap keychain or shot glass at each gift shop. You want to discover this place like a local would, right? For that, you’ll need some well-rendered travel content examples.
We’ve gathered this short list of stand-out content marketing from travel brands and hospitality companies because we believe Americans deserve help when it comes to vacations. Historically, we’re not very good at them, so it’s about time we honored the researchers, writers, and content creators who aim to improve our OOO time.
In today’s digital age, a well-designed piece of print media can feel like a miracle. A well-designed piece of branded print media is even more rare. That’s why AirBnB’s travel magazine is a stellar content campaign.
The magazine does several things for AirBnB at once, though first and foremost it ties a particular design aesthetic and an open-minded POV to the brand name. As you flip through features on a stand-up comedian’s experiences on the road and middle-aged LGBTQ Americans navigating Pride parties, you might understandably conclude that AirBnB is pursuing a diverse, active, culturally in-tune target audience. AirBnB users, the magazine suggests implicitly, are not “stay at the local hotel chain” kinds of people. They want quirkier, more spontaneous vacations, and they know that (just like in content marketing), the journey is often more interesting than the destination.
Diamond Resorts “Stay Vacationed” blog
This hotel brand manages a kaleidoscopic blog whose content seems to focus tightly on some areas of interest (like natural watering holes in Orlando) while also keeping the big picture in mind. Diamond Resorts, the brand proclaims, wants you to “stay vacationed” even when you’re not jet-setting somewhere tropical.
Particularly of note on the blog is the “travel hack” section, which provides value to readers by solving common vacation problems. In Diamond Resorts’ world, nothing is perfect just because you’re traveling, but the brand can be trusted to help you along the way. If you’re single for Valentine’s Day, you can trust the hotel chain to point you to fun vacation spots. If you want to go abroad with the smallest carbon footprint possible, they’ve got you covered there, too.
United Airlines’ Hemispheres
The launch of the in-flight magazine was a masterful content marketing move from several airlines, though United’s “Hemispheres” remains the crown jewel. After all, how better to serve bored passengers than by giving them something branded to read while they’re trapped on a flight?
The print magazine, which is also chopped up and distributed digitally assigns reported features to contract travel writers. These deep dives into local cuisine, sightseeing, culture, and transport range from photo essays of Alaskan bears to interviews with actors like Alan Alda and Kerry Washington. By tackling culture and travel, United’s magazine includes all of pop culture under its branded umbrella. If it happens somewhere United flies, and it’s relevant to the average airline passenger, you can bet a subject has been covered in “Hemispheres.”
Lonely Planet and GoPro’s “Discover” series
Lonely Planet was founded in 1972 as a travel guide book publisher, and in the many decades since, it has expanded into a multimedia travel content company. Among even the best financial content marketing campaigns, the “Discover” series stands out because of its dynamic use of on-site footage. Created in partnership with GoPro, the “Discover” videos feel both immersive and aspirational to anyone who watches them. They comprise footage you wish you took when you left home.
Lonely Planet’s GoPro videos are crafted very carefully, keeping the audience in mind and pushing brand mentions to the side. You’re not watching a video of Lonely Planet employees traipsing around the entire nation of Portugal; you’re getting a POV simulation of a walk through Lisbon, along the path that leads down to the water. The video could indirectly inspire the purchase of a Lonely Planet guide to Portugal or a GoPro camera, but most importantly, it associates these brands with exploration and awe in the minds of viewers.
Marriott Bonvoy’s Romantic Getaways
Since Marriott introduced its Bonvoy brand and accompanying Traveler blog, the hospitality company has gone full steam into producing inspirational travel content. There are a lot of interesting corners on the Traveler site, but the Romantic Getaways vertical is especially notable, given its hyper-specific focus.
Whether you’re hoping to propose to your partner in Mexico or find ways to “turn up the heat,” Marriott has content for you. They’ve even got quizzes on your vacation style and guides to budget travel for two.
How to nail content marketing in travel and hospitality
To create great travel content from a hospitality, airline, or book publishing brand, you have to focus on answering readers’ questions. Don’t just dangle great looking vacations over their heads and expect them to subscribe; most travel content readers want to feel inspired, but they also want to believe a great trip is within their means.
Nailing a balance between aspirational and realistic content is a challenge, but if you rise to it with your travel content, your program will end up in the hallowed halls of the great campaigns that came before it.