If you’ve wondered how to frame your travel SEO strategies so that you take advantage of opportune moments in a traveler’s journey, offering customers and potential customers just the bits of information they’re looking for when they’re looking, it can be useful to refer to a traveler’s survey for real insights. Skift, a leading travel resource in industry news, trends, and data recently furnished such a survey in the form of their 2016 Experiential Traveler Survey, which gives travel marketers a better clue as to how to connect with their audience along the customer journey.

Skift’s 2016 Experiential Traveler Survey detailed some interesting and useful pieces of information that marketers can use to get into the minds of the modern traveler, gaining leverage in marketing for travelers’ preferences, tolerances for technology use, and realities. It provides 10 “Maxims of the Supertraveler Mindset” that travel brands can look to when they plan brand engagement practices, content marketing campaigns, and new product offerings.

In particular, as an SEO company, we look to Skift’s 2016 Experiential Traveler Survey to see where we might place importance as we develop travel SEO campaigns for our clients – so that they can reach their target audiences in the places those travelers are searching online. We find the 2016 Experiential Traveler Survey invaluable, as should you. But, as we’ve mentioned before, focusing on any SEO approach should be done as part of a comprehensive plan for improving visibility and brand trust over a range of channels and through various methods put into place over the long term.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the 2016 Skift Experiential Traveler Survey and a few ideas for using SEO to enrich the experiences of travelers at certain points in the customer journey – as defined by Skift.

The Experiential Survey Objective

The Skift 2016 Experiential Survey objective was to understand what it is that travelers hope to gain from travel brands and platforms. As part of an ongoing investigation and exploration of today’s traveler, Skift gathered data that showed how people spend their money (the data showed they generally forgo material goods in favor of experiences), and the results offered that individuals prefer parting with their cash for health, wellness, events, cultural experiences, and travel.

This changing consumer behavior is great news for the travel industry, and modern-day travel brands can fully reap the benefits of an evolving lifestyle by providing useful travel-related content via mobile apps and websites, mapping applications, user-generated travel content, and travel recommendation engines – along with, of course, social media channels – which are tools today’s consumer finds invaluable.

Travelers Want Personalized Travel Experiences

Today’s travelers desire and require authentic and personalized experiences. They’re through with commoditized and one-size-fits all vacations, communications, and content. Technology has opened up the world to them and they value it, but technology used poorly or selfishly is a turnoff that will give travelers a negative impression of a brand.

Maxims of the Supertraveler Mindset

Skift’s survey results were combed through in effort to distill findings into some sort of useful format that travel brands could turn to when they planned their marketing campaigns. The research company came up with 10 top “Maxims of the Supertraveler Mindset,” summarized as follows, that structured key data points in digestible statements offering a better understanding of how a traveler looks at travel in general and at the process of booking a trip.

  1. Travelers want authenticity and trust in travel sources to find inspiration and advice for traveling.
  2. Searching, planning, and discovering destinations and travel methods is not a chore before the experience. It is part of the experience.
  3. Travelers want concrete and useful rewards for their loyalty, not gimmicks that will breed resentment.
  4. People travel for personal enrichment, which comes from sharing experiences with others.
  5. Travelers travel to step away from the mundane, but they value consistency.
  6. Value is placed on genuine brands that care about travelers and the local community.
  7. It’s nice to receive help through rough parts of booking and traveling, but it’s great to be able to find one’s own way too.
  8. Technology is a perfect compliment to travel, but it shouldn’t be used to overload with information and devalue the experience.
  9. Travelers want a human element to be brought back to a commoditized experience.
  10. People desire to come back from travel feeling inspired and transformed.

If you carefully study these 10 “Maxims,” you’ll likely see many opportunities for travel SEO strategies that simultaneously allow a brand to get noticed and a traveler to be fulfilled. Specifically, we love “Maxim” #2 and the possibilities for optimizing content that travelers use to research destinations, choose where they want to vacation, pick a neighborhood, locate the best hotel, and research activities they might want to enjoy on a trip. This optimization can be done using the Content Hubs, Customer Journeys, and Hyperlocal SEO strategies that we’ve talked about before.

Skift is right when it says that travel is an emotional journey with many stops and turning points along the way. Where will you be on that journey? How are you going to place your brand as a trusted signpost along the journey that brings a traveler from idea to completed vacation, and beyond to repeat trip? If you need help figuring out where you should and will show up as a guide for travelers, Galileo Tech Media is happy to guide you.