I love websites. I mean, I’d better. But when I’m discovering a new-to-me destination, there’s nothing I like more than having a hard copy of a guide to that place: its must-sees, its neighborhoods, its people. Once I have some background, I’ll dive into specifics on the web. For me, print is inspirational, and the web is informational.
And I’m not alone. In the past 12 months, 51% of adult Americans used print resources to plan travel (source: The State of the American Traveler, July 2015). Travel magazines, guidebooks, print publications from DMOs – even the newspaper and direct mail were cited as helpful in planning trips.
Many travelers use websites to plan – maybe they’re looking at upcoming events, reading accommodations reviews or looking at a map to see whether an area is compact or spread out – but your digital experience should be an extension of your print product when it comes to content, too.
If you’re inspiring readers of your travel guide with the mouthwatering dining options in your destination, send them to your responsive website and have them follow an itinerary of a progressive dinner through the area. If your guide includes a list of the top 5 historic sites in the area, encourage readers to tweet or Instagram their visits and include your hashtag. (Don’t forget about social media – 48% of respondents to the latest report used social media to plan travel.)
The latest trend in digital publishing is creating a “digital magazine.” Not a digital version of the printed pages of your guide or even an interactive ebook – but a website that makes you feel like you’re in a destination. Big, beautiful images … snappy storytelling … videos that immerse you in the surroundings. Marriott is doing this well with its Traveler series of select cities.
It’s a balance of curated and sponsored content with tips on exploring the city. The images draw you in (I can practically taste those pralines), and the content gives you an “insider” look at how to vacation Big Easy-style.
Now if only I could get that in print.