You’ve posted the pretty pictures, your web designer is giving you the thumbs up and visitors to your page are on the rise.
But you’re not seeing the expected increase in sales.
Copy supports every aspect of a brand’s marketing, and especially so with travel copywriting. You’re selling aspiration and escapism, so getting your written messaging right is vital to bolster conversions.
Take a look through these tips to find some easy-to-implement solutions, specific to the travel industry.
1. Good travel copy adopts the customer’s voice
Your customer’s voice hides in plain sight. You’ll find it in reviews, social media comments, complaints, and queries. Anything that your customer writes is a potential gold mine of information – and inspiration! – for your brand.
In the biz, we call this Voice of Customer data (VoC). And there is a reason why marketers are obsessed with it: it converts, like crazy.
It’s all thanks to a clever bit of human psychology. When we see words and phrases that feel familiar, we automatically relax. Our skepticism almost instantly decreases; we lower our guard and think “These people really get me”.
Now that’s powerful stuff.
So how can YOU use VoC to get travelers to trust you?
The simplest way is to start sifting through your reviews — the good and the bad. Find out what people loved about your brand experience, how their life changed, the memories they made… or what they found difficult or disappointing.
And echo it.
If you find a certain phrase or emotion is repeated, then repurpose it for your next sales email, headline, or landing page.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you promote your bad reviews! But building empathy with your customer base is a staggeringly effective way to increase engagement and convert sales.
2. Stop listing amenities and features; use your travel copy to speak from the heart
The last time I booked a guided tour it wasn’t because they offered English-speaking guides and lunch. I, like most people, book activities because of the experience they sold.
Travel trends are shying away from large resort-style getaways with cookie-cutter packages. Unique getaways and one-of-a-kind products are in.
Unless you are listing details at the booking stage, telling a story is far more important than itemized lists.
It’s about the experience: not the transaction.
Paint the picture of what life will be like using your service.If you’re doing copywriting for hotels, make sure people know why your hotel is special. Get into the nitty gritty of your history and tell a real and raw story in the most honest way possible.
Speaking from the heart will go a long way — especially when travelers are comparing lots of similar-priced options.
Why should they choose you?
Whatever the answer, aim to convey this in your hotel copywriting.
3. Powerful copy for travel brands doesn’t start with cliches
When describing a getaway, it’s easy to fall into the cliche trap. And hey, sometimes “powdery beaches and sparkling blue water” aligns with your brand voice.
But if you want to make your copy work a bit harder, change cliches to descriptive sentences that paint a picture in the reader's mind.
Light. Colour. Smell. Taste. Texture. Temperature. Use real senses to bring your offering to life.
For example: Breathe in the gentle sea breeze and let your gaze wander out to the inviting azure waters from the rooftop swimming pool.
This is much more powerful than a simple “Rooftop swimming pool with sea views”, and far more evocative than the tired cliches travelers are used to reading.
4. User Experience can make or break a travel brand’s conversion rates
User Experience (UX) is the backbone of any funnel, booking system or online platform.
If someone’s decided to book your service, you want to make it as easy as possible. Make sure your forms are designed to make the purchase as enjoyable as your product.
Ideally, you should optimize your click funnel with two final steps. The user clicks ‘Buy’ – result! – or ‘Contact’ and is redirected to an online form to fill out.
If you’ve got more than 5 questions they need to fill out, consider collecting information in multiple stages or tabs. In UX, the fewer steps, the better.
5. Edit your travel copy for clarity
My last step for any copy project is a thorough check for clarity. Is your key offering — your unique selling point — clear on the webpage?
Sometimes we try be a little too clever or funny and the message gets lost.
Let your copy rest for a day or two, come back to it, give it a final clarity check, and ask a co-worker or friend if they can grasp the key message from your title or headline.
If that’s a yes, then congratulations — it’s time to hit publish! If it’s a no, then think about how you can make your offering clearer. Remember: using fewer words isn’t always better.
One final piece of advice — people trust authenticity. Copy that comes from an honest place will help readers believe that you will deliver what you’re promising.
And if they believe in you, they will book with you.