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Travel copywriting tips
Jay Harlow

Jay Harlow

Travel Copywriter

In this post, I’ll share 7 tips I’ve learned over my years as a travel copywriter about writing unique content. Becasue after 30+ years of the internet, is anything ‘unique’ these days?

That’s especially true for something like travel copywriting. Articles about destinations are all too common, meaning you struggle to come up with unique ideas.

Unless it’s something totally off the wall, like “10 kid-friendly attractions in North Korea”. Or “Turkmenistan’s 10 best honeymoon resorts”. Not likely any time soon.

The problem is you have to create unique content. That’s how you appeal to your audience and rank on Google. You can read it from the horse’s mouth here.

But how do you do that in this day and age?

Well, like you, I come up against this challenge every day. Let me share what I’ve learned throughout my years as a travel copywriter. These tips work for me and hopefully, they will for you, too.

Table of Contents

1. Focus the content on a niche audience

A lot of travel content is very broad and doesn’t speak to a specific audience. For example, “Europe’s 10 best road trips”. Pop that into Google and you’ll see hundreds of posts with the same title. Nothing unique there. But, you can make it more unique by carving out a niche audience.

Example:

Instead of the done-to-death “Europe’s 10 best road trips”, ask yourself “Who hasn’t this been written for yet?” and write the article for them:
“Europe’s 10 best road trips for families with toddlers”
“Europe’s 10 best road trips for solo female travellers”

Why does this work?

Well, digital marketing big gun Neil Patel says tailoring content to specific groups can seriously amp up your SEO game. You’re not just being different; you’re speaking to a particular crowd. And guess what? This approach can help you get more traffic as your content stands out more in search results.

I did a road trip to Strasbourg in 2015

2. Put a different angle on it

Google “World’s best honeymoon destinations” and you’ll have pages to trawl through. You couldn’t get any samier if you tried. But here’s my tip for turning overdone ideas into unique content. Think about what’s important to your audience and pivot your idea towards that.

Example:

“The World’s 10 best honeymoon destinations” – there’s no way this will be unique. Instead…

“The World’s 10 best gastronomic honeymoon destinations” – put a focus on it, here are

More:

“The World’s 10 best honeymoon destinations for culture and beach”

To make it even more unique, combine this with the last tip:

“The World’s 10 best LGBT+ honeymoon destinations for culture and beach”

“The World’s 10 best eco-friendly honeymoon destinations for millennials”

Why does this work?

A report by SEMrush shows that content with unique angles tends to perform better in search rankings. Why? Because it stands out. Think ‘beach resorts under two hours from major cities’ or ‘beach spots perfect for a winter honeymoon’. It’s more specific.

I did a few fam trips to Tulum as I sold lots of honeymoon packages there

3. Reformat the content

Blog posts generally come in the same format: listicles, how-to, feature stories, Q&As etc. I find the most common one is Listicles. So if your idea has been done a bazillion times, like ‘the 10 best places to take your kids in Europe’, try to flip this into a different format.

Example:

Don’t even bother with “The 10 best places to take your kids in Europe”, instead:
“How to choose a destination for a family holiday in Europe”
“What to look for in a destination for a family-friendly holiday in Europe”
“Travelling in Europe with kids: all your questions answered”
Look at your social media posts, too. Can you turn those into an article or vice versa?

Why does this work?

According to Yoast, content that answers specific questions often ranks higher in search results. That’s because it directly addresses the reader’s needs. So, next time you’re brainstorming, think: “How can I present this in a way that’s both informative and engaging?” That’s how you turn the same old into something unexpectedly helpful for your audience.

I’ve been to the Greek islands a few times - great place for a family break in Europe

4. Add personal stories, experiences and opinions

We’ve all seen articles like ’10 best European city breaks’.There must literally be hundreds online. So here’s how to spice it up: make it personal and talk about real-life experiences. 

Example:

’10 best European city breaks’ – you may have ranked for this back when The Spice Girls were topping the charts, but you’ve got no chance today. So, add stories and experiences:

“Why these 10 cities are my favourite in Europe”

“Our 10 top-selling European city break”

“Our team’s favourite European city breaks”

And here’s another pro tip: involve your customers (but get their permission first, obvs). Talk to them and get their stories. Transform a generic ’10 best cities for Valentine’s Day’ into:

’10 of our customers’ heartwarming Valentine getaways’.
If you’re writing about a destination, try to get an interview with a local tour guide, too. Quote them and tell their story.

Why does this work?

By doing this, you’re sharing experiences, not information. It’s storytelling. And guess what? Research by the Harvard Business Review shows that we respond better to narratives than information. This is because stories have the ability to influence our brains, triggering the release of oxytocin. That’s the trust-promoting hormone, by the way.

I went to Budapest on a city break in 2017

5. Create content that answers the random questions people ask.

Ever Googled ‘What to do in Bondi Beach’? You’ll drown in literally hundreds of samey articles. Instead, go to where your customers hang out online. I’m talking about social media, forums, places like TripAdvisor or Reddit etc. Look at the questions they’re asking, and create content around that. Your sales team will have good insights here, too.

Example:

‘What to do in Bondi Beach’? – yawn.

That’s been done hundreds of times.

But, on forums like Reddit or Quora, your customers may be asking questions. Things like ‘Where to eat in Bondi beach?’, ‘How much does a taxi cost?’, ‘How much does a beer cost?’.So, you would then create content like:

‘A practical guide to visiting Bondi Beach’

‘How much should you budget for your Bondi Beach stay?’

Why does this work?

When you see your customers asking questions like that online, you’ve hit the jackpot. Why? Because if they’re asking there, it’s likely they didn’t find the answer on Google. And that’s your opportunity to create unique content. You’ll be turning generic ideas into articles that solve the specific problems they’re facing. And that makes for epic content appeal. 

I’ve been to Bondi a few times

6. Piggyback off the news and social media trends

This is also known as ‘newsjacking’. Sign up for Google news alerts, or keep your finger on the pulse for when destinations or cultures make the headlines. Then create your content around that.

Example:

As I write this article in January 2024, volcanoes are erupting in Iceland. Now instead of writing a generic ‘What to see in Iceland”, you could write: “Iceland’s most breathtaking volcanoes”. Suddenly you’ve now got relevant content, right?

Another example could be when Argentina won the 2022 World Cup. Forget an overdone “Where to go in Argentina” article. Back then, you could’ve rode the wave and produced something like:

“From Messi to Maradona, Argentina for football lovers” – now that’s more exciting.
You’ll need to be sensitive to what stories you ‘newsjack’ – but you can even do good deeds this way.

Take the fires that swept through parts of Hawaii in 2023. Create content around visiting Hawaii to help out with the economic recovery by visiting as a tourist. Again – sensitivity always.

I was in Argentina when they won the world cup

Why does this work?

While this kind of content might not be evergreen, it’ll get immediate results. And as it we’re linking it to something that’s hot and trending, there’s more chance your content will get shared, increasing brand exposure. And what marketer doesn’t want that? This Forbes article explains more.

7. Take your competitors’ content and make it way better.

Here’s one of my favourite hacks for when you’re stuck on content ideas. Use tools like SEMrush or Buzzsumo to see what content is performing well on your competitors’ sites. Check that content out and then make it 10x better.

Example:

I just took a look at a big-name travel company in the UK. They’re top performing content is on ‘Asia holidays’. This page has:

  • A brief description of Asia holidays
  • 5 places to go in Asia
  • A few pictures
  • A call to action.

You then make this better. You could add:

  • 15 places, instead of their 5.
  • Reviews
  • Pros and cons of each cruise
  • An FAQ section
  • The best time to go
  • What to pack
  • Alternatives to Asia holidays

Build on it, and make it more useful and helpful. Add your own experiences and reviews, too.

Or create more niche pages, following the earlier tips I gave you:

“Asia holidays for families”

“Asia holidays on a shoe-string budget”

By creating content that’s more helpful than your competitors, you’ll earn authority in that space. In the world of SEO, this is known as skyscrapering. You can read more on Neil Patel’s site here. This will help you with backlinks, as well as your ranking. And don’t forget who’s most important of all: the reader. Your content will be more helpful than your competitors.

There you go, 7 hacks I’ve learned to overcome that impossible task we travel copywriters have: coming up with ideas for unique content. What do you make of these tips? Any others to share?

Now, if you don’t mind…

May I promote my travel copywriter service? If you’re still stuck for conjuring up ideas that haven’t been done by your competitors thousands of times already, I can help. As a travel copywriter, I craft copy for travel brands just like yours. Get in touch today.

And if you found this post useful, follow me on social media and I’ll let you know when I post more tips. 

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