We all know about destination guides. I’ve got a shelf full, mostly from Lonely Planet or Rough Guides. They used to be my main source of information, as they combined information about great places to stay with helpful background on the place itself. I’d only head for a traditional travel agent’s printed brochures if I wanted to research hotels and prices for a package tour.
There are still travel customers who want to head somewhere sunny with a decent pool. However, there are increasing numbers of people who want to experience the local culture so are looking for a bit more added value before they book. That’s where good destination guides can be incredibly helpful. Whilst you might not want to give a ‘warts and all’ account, you can give your customers a feel for the place before they travel.
How do destination guides help with marketing?
When I travel, I’m not just looking to flop by the pool. For one thing, I have small children. Chance would be a fine thing. A destination catches my eye by having something interesting that I want to see. I went to Argentina because I wanted to see Iguazu Falls and the Perito Moreno glacier. New Zealand hooked me with the glow worm caves and dolphins.
Good destination guides highlight the things that are worth seeing and can throw in a few surprises too. They help you connect with your audience in a few different ways. Someone who’s been thinking about their next holiday to a particular destination might notice your download link on Facebook and want to find out more. Write a post highlighting how great a country is for a particular interest and those people will find you.
Your customers’ dreams
Travel marketing is all about selling a dream. Your customers will have been imagining their holiday and looking forward to it all year. When you write a destination guide for them you can help them to imagine themselves there.
This is where the language you use is incredibly important. You’re not just describing a place. You’re taking your customer by the hand and leading them through it. Let them imagine what it’s like to find the most peaceful spot in a busy town. Tell them about the warm welcome they’ll get at the best restaurants. Include all the things they shouldn’t miss to get the most out of their holiday. Most of all, imagine that you’re having a conversation with your customer. A good destination guide is like a good tour guide; friendly and approachable. If your guide makes you sound friendly it helps your customer to take the next step and get in touch.
Tailor your guides
The best travel guides are ones that know who they’re writing for. The audience for a ‘Rough Guide’ will be different from Frommer’s, for example. That could be fine for your business. Perhaps you specialise in a type of travel that attracts a particular kind of customer. However, it’s more likely that you look after people who want a range of different things. They might be wealthy pensioners booking a luxury cruise at Easter and a bucket and spade break with the grandchildren in the summer. Your other customers could be younger families, couples or business travellers. They will all have different needs.
A one size fits all approach is unlikely to work. However, if a destination is particularly well suited to family holidays, honeymoons or for adrenaline junkies, write the guide for them. The feeling that something has been written with you in mind is incredibly powerful.
Do you write your own guides? Leave a comment and let me know. If this all seems like a lot of work, let me help! Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat.
For more ideas on how to make your guide stand out, have a look at this from Sticky Content
If you’d like to include some recommended holiday reading material, this piece from the Telegraph is a good place to start The 20 best travel books of all time