Recently, Galileo Tech Media hosted a Lunch and Learn NYC travel SEO event that looked at ways travel brands can increase market share by utilizing the Memorable Tourism Experience (MTE). During the event, New York Inbound Marketing Professionals founder Joseph McElroy explored the realm of memorable experiences to identify ways to enhance SEO with expanded keyword research tactics, better conversions, increased CTRs and content that boosts brand loyalty. Here are some of the takeaways from the travel SEO event along with some insight on developing emotion-evoking content.

MTEs Can Influence Brand Loyalty

A decade of academic research has found that Meaningful Tourism Experiences (MTEs) influence future behavioral intentions both directly and indirectly. From a digital marketing perspective, this points toward exciting opportunities to increase brand loyalty by influencing a traveler’s journey before the experience occurs.

Understanding MTEs

In essence, MTEs are flashbulb memories that are exceptionally vivid and long-lasting. Studies indicate that MTEs are far more likely to determine future traveling behaviors when compared to general satisfaction with a trip. This same research has led to the development of an MDE scale which provides seven key components of MDEs, along with indicators associated with each component:

  • Hedonism: Travelers are thrilled with the experience and indulge in excitement, participation, fun, amusement, fantasy, arousal, sensory stimulation and enjoyment.
  • Novelty: The vacation offers unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences which include different and distinctive sights, customs and cultures.
  • Local culture: Travelers are able to closely experience the local culture in positive ways that lead to better recollections of the experiences.
  • Refreshment: Everyday work and lifestyle structures are exchanged for journeys, tours, events and other structures that feel liberating and empowering.
  • Meaningfulness: The feeling of doing something important enhances tourists’ well-being, allowing them to assert self-identity and discover new things about themselves.
  • Involvement: Anticipations are realized in a way that makes tourists feel wholly involved with the vacation they wanted—in a place they longed to visit.
  • Knowledge: The tourist is able to participate in a variety of activities that allow them to explore their talents and expand what they know.

In addition to promoting the development of an MDE scale, research has shown that the anticipation of an upcoming experience intensifies the experience and makes it more memorable. This provides an excellent opportunity for digital marketers to leverage SEO to boost brand loyalty by increasing the likelihood of MDEs before a traveler’s journey begins.

Using MTEs for SEO

When you consider the implications of MTEs on brand loyalty, it’s clear that marketing’s role can be expanded from simply getting someone to take a desired action. By helping to increase the depth of experiential engagement, marketers can set travelers up for more positive experiences that increase the chances of repeat business down the line.

This means creating experience hubs as precursors to content hubs. It all starts with referencing the MTE Scale for ideation and then moving on to keyword research to find out where traffic and opportunities lie. Whether it’s local performers, festivals, farmer’s markets, scenic lookouts, local traditions, popular gathering spots or distinctive dining spots; every destination has its share of experiential opportunities. Once we identify these niches, it’s not that hard to find underutilized keywords that aren’t especially difficult to penetrate. We can then use this information to thoughtfully plan out the experience hub and create content that will better engage travelers and help them build more MTEs.

Writing for Experience

Just as keyword research informs the way we organize our experience hubs, it also plays a role in the way we craft content. By using experiential words and phrases (romantic, once in a lifetime) in titles, content and meta descriptions, we get better engagement. Once we identify the emotional experiences we want to target, we can look for synonyms and words related to the experience. We can then target these types of searches with optimized content and infuse emotion-evoking language throughout.

When writing for experience, we look to frame the traveler’s journey before the experience occurs to make it more memorable afterward. We can do this be talking about novelty, speaking to hedonistic aspects and focusing on local aspects. As we focus on all the possible micro moments, we want to use SEO wherever we can to engage travelers in the experiences they are going to have, thereby increasing the potential for MTEs and building brand loyalty.

Exciting Early Returns

When including MET language in subject lines for email marketing, Galileo discovered emotion-evoking calls-to-action generated 24 percent more opens. We also found that emotion-evoking calls to action resulted in 42 percent more conversions on lead generating campaigns.

By using words and phrases that evoke emotion and trigger MTEs, we can generate higher click through rates (CTR) that boost conversions and SEO. When we include rich and evocative content to tell the “story” of a destination, we are also able to enhance the anticipation of a travel experience and influence the way people feel about it afterward. This is an intriguing marketing opportunity we were excited to talk about during this recent NYC travel event and we look forward to more informative SEO events in the near future.