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4 Content Hacks from a Former News Journalist

As a former news reporter who once worked in a high-stress, fast-paced, you-better-not-get-scooped environment, I sometimes laugh (just a little) at the deadlines I face as a travel content director these days. “We need a story on the best five best craft breweries in the state,” a client might say, “and we need it within the next month!”

Are you kidding me with this? I used to research, report and write multiple stories every day – sometimes in as little as 15 minutes, just to make sure we made the next press run and “got the story” before anyone else.

And while the constant buzz of that newsroom seems worlds away now, some of the basic lessons journalism taught me still very much apply in the world of travel marketing. So when your own content needs seem overwhelming, remember these four key takeaways from the world of “old school” journalism that...

4 Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017

The good folks at Content Marketing Institute recently shared their top trends to watch for the coming year, but it’s interesting that their “crystal ball” predictions aren’t really new revelations at all. However, research does paint a clear picture that these four trends will likely keep setting the travel marketing world on fire in the coming months. Here’s a quick snapshot …

TREND #1: Buying Influencers

Old thinking was, when you wanted to build your audience you launched targeted advertising and marketing promotions to reach that group. Now, you can just acquire the audience. In addition to organically growing leads or acquiring an existing database of consumers that you still have to court, more destinations are turning their attentions to working with powerful social influencers. And, in the process, automatically gaining the already loyal...

Immersive Travel Content and Experiences Make All the Difference

Strong content has become such an integral part of a successful travel marketing strategy that it’s no longer the simple “buzzword” it once was.

Long past being just an up-and-coming trend, compelling stories and videos that highlight immersive experiences are now critical, expected, even demanded by consumers researching and planning their next vacation.

If you don’t grab their attention in a powerful way, they’ll quickly move on to other destinations sharing captivating stories about the memory-making experiences they offer.

But what does “immersive” storytelling really mean? What defines a truly “immersive” travel experience?

Simply put, Webster’s defines it as fully involving yourself in an activity. To become a part of an experience with all the senses. Mind, body and soul.

I experienced this first-hand on a recent trip to...

When Tragedy Struck, WV Tourism Office Put Residents First

When natural disaster strikes a travel destination, most tourism offices immediately jump into “crisis management” mode in an effort to encourage folks to visit during a time when that’s probably the last thing on their minds.

But when devastating floods ravaged several counties – killing 23 people, destroying 2,500 homes and leveling entire towns – our partners in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia did the opposite. They hit the “pause” button on all marketing efforts. 

Not because they were giving up, but because they wanted to help.

Under the rallying cry #WVstrong, Tourism Commissioner Amy Shuler Goodwin sent her crew of marketing professionals out in the field, where they delivered supplies, helped clear debris and, sometimes, just offered a shoulder to cry on or a hug to those who had lost nearly everything in one of the worst catastrophes in state history.

“West Virginians take care of our own,” read a post on the state’s Facebook page, showing a...

Chew on This: Survey Reveals Food is Top Vacation Splurge

Having written much about “culinary tourism” as a freelance food writer for the past 20 years, it’s no surprise to me that more and more consumers are traveling to, well, eat. 

Seeking out great local restaurants and unique food experiences has become an integral part of the travel-planning process, with an increasing number of consumers now planning vacations specifically for the culinary experiences they offer. Eating is no longer just considered something they “have” to do while on vacation, but something they “get” to do.

Why?

Food often serves as a gateway to a destination’s people, culture and history, so today’s travelers seek out local, authentic cuisine as a way to immerse themselves in a new place they are exploring. And, it seems, more are now willing to break the bank to do so.

According to a fun new survey by MissTravel....