NEW DELHI: Content marketing has always been a mainstay of the travel industry, but travel habits are changing and marketers must move with the times, according to a senior agency expert in the category.

According to Lauren Quaintance, co-founder and head of content at Australian agency Storyation, content can be a welcome alternative to direct advertising.

"Content is welcomed where advertising is resisted," she told an audience at the recent Content Marketing Summit Asia conference. (For more details, read WARC's exclusive report: Content marketing takes flight for travel and tourism brands.)

"Content marketing may be a buzzword today but travel content marketers have been doing it for a hundred years or more – they really are the original content marketers," Quintance maintained.

"Travel companies have also always known that the secret to success in content marketing is evoking inspiration and utility," she added. "You need to inspire consumers by connecting with them emotionally, and then give them the practical tools to plan their trip."

With the popularity of review sites such as TripAdvisor and the rise of social media, more travelers are planning their own holidays rather than involving a travel agent.

Another trend is the impact of social media on travelers: they want experiences they can share online.

"Subliminally or not, we are looking for experiences that we can post on Facebook or Instagram, and therefore smart marketers are now talking a lot more about people and not just the place," Quaintance said.

"They are focusing on the emotional journey that a traveler can have, there is not so much focus on rest and rejuvenation that one associates with, say, beach experiences," she advised.

"We don't just need to think about changing consumer needs, but also tailor stories to fit different consumer journeys."

Data sourced from WARC