How The Best Brands Create New and Exciting Travel Content

Tourism, and hospitality brands have some of the richest fodder for travel content, with entire cities full of stories to discover and share. But once you’ve ranked the best restaurants and offered up your recommendations for evening activities, it can sometimes be a struggle to come up with new and differentiated ways to tell your town’s story.

These fresh travel content ideas, formats and perspectives to breathe new life into your content strategy.

(This article originally appeared in The Science of Storytelling –  Pressboard’s magazine about branded content)

Go Niche With Must-Eats

Restaurant guides are the tried and true travel content format for so many tourism, hospitality, and other local brands. Here are a few ways to spice up your lists of must-eats to make sure you’re putting your content efforts toward something that hasn’t been done before.

  • By Patron Need: Which restaurants are the most kid-friendly, best for dates, or easily accessible for someone in a wheelchair? What if someone’s looking for a late-night bite after normal business hours, a place for a fast meal on their lunch break, or eating in a group of 10+?
  • By Dietary Need: Vegetarians, vegans, and those who eat halal, kosher, or gluten-free will appreciate a dedicated list of tasty eats around town. Consider a list of coffee shops that offer non-dairy milk, a collection of no-nut establishments, or other lists with dietary restrictions in mind.
  • By Cuisine or Item: With multiple lists, your brand can be the go-to authority on where to eat, no matter what someone is in the mood for. Compile lists of the top tapas, most sumptuous sushi, and more. Break it down even further with the best of a menu favorite; send your readers on a Mac & Cheese tour or point them toward the town’s best Moscow Mules.

You can also combine niches from each category to create truly unique lists. How else will your local readers find the perfect kid-friendly vegan restaurant, or the best mac and cheese after midnight? By approaching your rankings through a unique lens (or two), you’ll not only differentiate your travel content, but you’ll prove to be a useful resource for potentially underserved segments of your audience, both local and passing through.

Map It Out

If you want your brand, and your content, to be intricately tied to your local market, there’s no better way than with a map. This utilitarian format is often appreciated by visitors and locals alike, and is especially helpful when your travel content is aimed at helping readers explore your area, try new places, or otherwise spend quality time around town.

If you already have a good amount of local content — reviews, lists, profiles, guides and more — consider reorienting those recommendations onto a map to create an entirely new piece of super-content with minimal effort. But with all the rich opportunities to create maps, you may find yourself inspired to create new content, too.

  • Recommendations: Maps give you a more engaging format for content you’d normally have compiled in a list. This allows you to showcase your chosen local highlights — restaurants, attractions, activities, shopping hubs and more — alongside any brand-relevant locations, like your own storefronts, pop-ups and more.
  • Routes: Take your readers on an adventure by creating a walking tour of historic downtown, a guide to local running trails, or a scenic bike route. Tell them where to go and the best way to get there, whether it’s an hour-by hour guide to avoiding lines or the ultimate photoshoot with the most Instagram-able walls around town.
  • Resources: There are some things that travelers and locals alike always need to find, and a handy resource map (complete with your branding, of course) could be a huge opportunity to position yourself as a local expert. Aim for things someone often asks directions to: parking, public restrooms, free wifi, ATMS, hospitals, pharmacies, museums, outlets for charging devices, and more.
  • Scavenger Hunts: Whether you’re teaching folks your company or town history by sending them to various landmarks, or teaming up with local businesses to encourage patrons to collect clues or stamps for a prize, a mission can help make a map that much more engaging.

If you’re working with a local media partner or have the means to distribute printed materials, then a physical or printable map may be a great option; this is a must for scavenger hunts or running and biking guides, where your audience will want to take your recommendations with them or mark off each stop they make. Alternatively, you can plot recommendations on Google Maps or save locations to a public list on location-based apps like FourSquare.

The Power of People

It’s not just the places that make a city special, but the people who work and live there. Look for ways to show off local personalities within your company and within your community, and to tell relatable stories that inspire your customers.

  • Surprising Tour Guides: Nobody knows your city better than residents; find the experts and get them to share their must-see, must-visit, must-eat recommendations on video. Let a local historian give background on town landmarks, have a local chef walk viewers through the best farmer’s markets, or have a local vet offer tips on the most pet-friendly parks and establishments. Each expert can have a single longer episode, or they can have an entire series, which each recommendation being its own episode. Don’t forget that you can pair these videos with an interactive map so viewers can find the places closest to them.
  • Neighbors As Case Studies: Personal profiles are some of the most relatable and compelling travel content. Whether you tell someone’s story through video, audio or text, finding someone who embodies your brand — or the difference your brand can make — is a great way to “show, don’t tell” your audience about the benefits you can bring. Follow a visitor on their trip to the city, document a transformation you help create, or showcase a special event you made possible.

Whether the talent for this travel content comes from your company, community partners, neighbors, customers or elsewhere, the content will be unique to your town and help you to forge relationships with residents and visitors alike.

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