Everyday that goes by, I read yet another article or blog post about new milestones reached by this or that social media. And if you pay close attention, many of them involve the travel and hospitality vertical. For example:
Okay, so how do brands manage their presence across these and many other online platforms in order to communicate, engage in conversations and draw the attention of potential travelers? Will we reach a point when too much content will kill the content?
Back in January, Mark W. Schaefer wrote a seminal post on his blog, titled Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy. His theory spawned close to 600 comments on his blog and more than 100 blog post rebuttals, videos and numerous arguments and counter-arguments. Why the fuss? Schaefer contends that it becomes increasingly difficult, and expensive, to reach the same amount of people due to more and more companies and individuals joining the content marketing marching band.
In fact, Schaefer contends we will reach a point where the economics won’t match up and we’ll see three phenomenons occur:
Whether you agree with his theory or not is besides the point of this article. In fact, Schaefer himself responded to the most salient arguments against his theory in the following post on his blog! You can read it here
Personally, I tend to agree that content marketing will eventually reach a point where differentiation will become increasingly difficult. But this will happen if and when a majority of players indeed embrace the potential to engage conversations, thinking and acting as publishers on various owned, paid and earned media. And to tell you truth, I am not seeing a massive movement towards content marketing in travel. Yet.
In the travel and hospitality realm, content is abundant and storytelling has been at the heart of our industry since the nick of times. After all, we sell experiences and memories, rather than strictly-speaking products and services. Most travel brands who effectively manage accounts on the web, social media or a corporate blog tend to showcase pictures and videos, which makes sense. But since Facebook users upload more than 350 million photos daily, one can understand how newsfeeds are becoming cluttered with too much content, which explains why Facebook has been filtering more and more what content reaches your newsfeed. Some pages are seeing only 1-2% organic reach, forcing brands to spend in order to reach audiences previously available with a dynamic community management approach.
So back to the question: will there be content shock in travel? I do believe it’s inevitable that we will reach a point where differentiation will become much harder, based on a content strategy alone. To this day, I see very few brands optimal with principles of How To Apply Content Marketing in Hospitality. But what if a majority of travel brands indeed take the plunge and invest in content marketing, both offline and online? Will it become a matter of deeper pockets and impossible barriers to entry? Not necessarily. Early adopters will move on and make a better use of owned, paid and shared media mix through what Altimeter called “converged media”.
A final argument could be made for those who were late to the ‘content marketing’ game in that they will most likely be late as well when newer trends unfold… In essence, we should expect some kind of content shock to occur in the travel vertical, since it’s already happening for example on Facebook. Content marketing nevertheless remains a key strategy for brands to tell their story, through different platforms, different devices and different media. This is no easy task, but then again who said travel marketing was a walk in the park, right?