Fly me away: Creating a content-led strategy for a travel brand

6 Apr 2017

The travel and tourism landscape in Hong Kong is a fast-changing one. Competition for a slice of the tourism pie is intensifying as Hong Kong travellers are becoming even more discerning. In order to reach a mass audience and maximise brand exposure, creating engaging social media content is now a must for every tourism brand.

Here’s my take on the three most important points to creating effective content:

Identify content pillars
For content marketing to be effective, instead of pushing ad hoc content into the world and hoping it works, think strategically. Identifying content pillars are key to making sure that every piece of content has a clear purpose aligned with your business objectives. Essentially, these are larger themes that you want to explore with your content to tell the story you want to, which can then be broken down by the platforms you’ve identified on which to communicate that narrative. For the tourism industry, keeping up with blogs, travel and lifestyle websites, e-guides and social media platforms are crucial to knowing how to best plan your content.

For example, our work with Expedia Hong Kong during its launch successfully raised awareness across the board through different content-led campaigns. Influencer and famous cartoonist Jie Jie was engaged to establish a series of illustrations, social media posts and games in relation to Taiwan-themed travel. We also set up an Expedia blog where travel and lifestyle KOLs were able to share about their personal travel experiences and tips. Noise and buzz were created, and Expedia is now the dominant online travel agency in Hong Kong.

Keep it moving
The age of video content is well and truly here, and in the travel sector, travelogue-style videos are currently the most efficient way to engage your target market. Video should be short and sweet (maximum 3-5 minutes) and with a strong, localised hook. They should also be creative and fun yet informative and most importantly, evoke an emotional response from the viewer. Your stories should create a connection between your brand and its audience. Leveraging the emotional element of travel through lived experiences is the most effective way to engage with your audience.

Working with the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC), for example, we collaborated with Hong Kong media personality Cheuk Wan Chi “G” and her grandmother to produce a series of videos released on the star’s Facebook page and on YouTube which shared her adventures and third-party endorsement of South Australia with Hong Kong travellers. We successfully identified an opportunity in cross-generational travel, and by reaching out to prospective travellers in the digital arena we engaged entire families by creating a shareable story of discovery, family and nostalgia. This award-winning campaign was a huge success, with over 500,000 video views across YouTube and Facebook, and more than 15,000 engagements on social media.

Do something
Fact: Hong Kongers love freebies. Thus, games with simple mechanisms and incentives are highly recommended to intensify interest and boost awareness around your campaign narrative. Special promotion packages can also be tailored for the campaign as a strong hook to attract travellers to directly pay a visit to your destination – especially for price-conscious Hong Kongers.

Having worked with Singapore Tourism Board (STB) for four successful years, in 2016 we rolled out a multi-disciplinary campaign titled ‘Weekend Gateway’. This content-led campaign was targeted toward young professionals looking for a short haul long-weekend trip. While the campaign centred around video content and an online guidebook,we alsocollaborated with Singapore Airlines and SIA Holidays to roll out a special promotion for Hong Kong travellers during the campaign period. As a result of this strong call to action, STB noted over 14,000 visitor arrivals during the campaign period, representing a 16% increase compared to the same quarter the previous year.

And one more piece of advice: don’t be put afraid to yourself in your audience’s shoes. Think about what they might want to see, and how. That way, the best ideas will come naturally.

We successfully identified an opportunity in cross-generational travel, and by reaching out to prospective travellers in the digital arena we engaged entire families by creating a shareable story of discovery, family and nostalgia

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