Our recent brand storytelling research among 2,000 UK adults highlighted this need. When asked what type of digital content will make them more interested in a travel brand, nearly half of consumers (40 percent) said they wanted humorous, dramatic or heart-warming stories. That made it the second most-popular choice overall (the most popular, unsurprisingly, was discounts and special offers: 62 percent want a bargain when they go on holiday). Storytelling also ranked joint top, along with discounts, among millennials; half (49 percent) of 18-24-year-olds want discounts from travel brands and the same proportion say they want stories.

Consumers want stories based on real people and events

That makes brand storytelling the most-desired non-monetary form of content among travellers. The research also showed that 51 percent prefer so-called ‘user generated content’ (UGC) while 49 percent want to see content created directly by travel companies.

On top of which, two-thirds (66 percent) of consumers prefer content to be about regular people and more than half (57 percent) want stories based on real people and events rather than fiction. Furthermore, 38 percent specifically want to hear and read about a brand’s customers.

Video content is vital for travel brands showing off new and exciting places

So what’s the lesson here for travel brands? What should hotels, resorts, airlines, travel companies be looking to do with their online content strategy? It’s simple, really. Travel is about new experiences, and those are the building blocks of stories. Travel brands have already learned to embrace online reviews through the likes of TripAdvisor. Now they need to take it a step further and cultivate advocates willing to tell positive stories about their travel experience as part of the brand’s own marketing efforts. Video is the obvious medium, both because our research showed it was the preferred channel for storytelling and because travel is about showing off new and exciting places, and pictures (especially moving ones) are worth a thousand words.

A number of travel brands have already begun to explore making storytelling a larger part of their digital activity, such as Airbnb and Singapore Airlines. But there’s still a real opportunity here for businesses in this sector to tell the same amazing and enticing stories about holidays that people tell their loved ones.

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