In my last post I compiled and analysed three great examples of high-performing visual content marketing, including big and small brands within different sectors.

This time I wanted to do something different and narrowed it down to just one sector, as I believe this would allow me to go into a bit more detail.

I decided to go for one of my favourite industries when it comes down to creating content, the one and only: travel.

Below you’ll find seven fantastic examples of visual content marketing done right.

A World of Belonging - Airbnb 

In this all full immersive interactive experience, the team at Airbnb provides a full world map that shows daily Airbnb check-ins and locations of guests from around the world.

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With its combination of illustrations and animations, the interactive experience shows clearly how popular Airbnb has become since it went live in 2008.

It’s important to highlight the mobile experience, which is fantastic (at least on Android HTC One m8). We know from first-hand experience that getting a desktop experience to look as good or even better on mobile is very hard, but Airbnb absolutely nailed it. 

According to Airbnb this page has generated over 2m views since its launch, with users spending on average more than five minutes on the site.

Looking at the links we see 55 referring domains:

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Worthy of mention: Guide to Homesharing Etiquette - Airbnb

This PDF guide produced by Airbnb in partnership with Debretts deserves a place in my list based on the sheer number of domains that picked up the piece including The Guardian, FT and Good Housekeeping.

I still think a few illustrations would have made it more digestible, and a web version would go well along with a printable PDF. Nevertheless, I can’t argue with the numbers and staggering results achieved with a piece of content that is 100% practical value led.

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The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made - Air New Zealand

If you have a big budget to play with, then take some inspiration from the team over at Air New Zealand and its Lord Of The Rings themed safety video that has 14m views on YouTube.

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With cameo appearances from actors and the director, this video blends practical advice with humour and also makes it impossible for you to forget that Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand. 

Whilst piggybacking onto the latest blockbuster might not be an option for everyone, Air New Zealand has still created something totally on brand that deals with a common problem of frequent flyers: a boring safety video. 

Did it work?


Looking at Buzzsumo, we can see that this video had nearly half a million total shares across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. 

Something I’d like to mention is that this is actually second hobbit-themed safety video produced by Air New Zealand, you can see their first attempt in 2012 with 12m views.

The lesson here is that if you have a concept that has worked once, be sure to look at how you can work on that concept and improve upon it for use in future. Your audience will enjoy a better, stronger version of something they already like.

Top 10 Islands of 2015 - TripAdvisor

Tripadvisor put together this impressive interactive content hub all about the top islands of 2015 based on its customer data.

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The page includes a great number of full-width location images, which provides a feeling of immersion that you don’t get on the main site.

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Once you click on the specific island you are taken to a landing page that makes use of custom tweet buttons, a quiz and even a comment section for each island powered by Facebook.

It’s clear that the team at TripAdvisor want to enable their audience to engage with and add even more value to this content throughout the year.

There is still a number of “hotel” options but thanks to the design they don’t feel forced and it seems only natural that there would be a choice of hotels for those locations.

Did it work?

When it comes to media mentions and links, this page has done very well with over 250 referring domains with a large number coming from the resorts mentioned.

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In terms of social media shares, the content hub was shared over 20,700 times on social media:

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It would be great to see how many conversions have occurred from this inspirational content.

16 Stunning Lighthouses recommended by our Facebook Fans - Skyscanner.com

What I really like about this listicle from SkyScanner is that it used its audience of 5m Facebook fans to curate a list of truly stunning lighthouses.

Not every travel company has such a large following but that doesn’t mean that it cannot use its fans’ local knowledge to provide something of significant value to a wider audience.

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Did it work?

Based on stats from Buzzsumo, this listicle is Skyscanner’s most shared piece of content of the last 12 months with a total of 33,000 shares.

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Whilst not as subtle as the approach taken by TripAdvisor, Skyscanner has also included property locations for each destination. It’s good to see it making the most of the traffic it drives to the page. 

KLM Lost and Found Video

Yes, another video from an airline. This time KLM with a video that has attracted more than 20m views since it went live and has been referenced on over 350 websites, including the Washington Post, Buzzfeed and CNN.

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The video successfully racked up 367 referring domains.

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But it was not all features and media mentions, KLM have won numerous awards for their social media strategy.

KLM claims 80% of the items lost in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport are returned to the rightful owner, and this video is a perfect example of how to talk about how your team go above and beyond to make life better for customers.

Sadly it was later revealed that the cute dog named “Sherlock” was a hoax and was created by KLM’s ad agency in Amsterdam.

Does your next video feature a cute dog?

15 things never to say to a Miamian - Orbitz.com

Another listicle, this time by the team over at Orbitz.

It’s clear from the results and the comments that this content is based on local knowledge with many Miamians agreeing or adding their own input in the comments section.

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The result: an engaged audience

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I like that Orbitz saw the success of this one listicle with 20,000 shares and tried to do the same with other cities like Chicago and Portland - neither of them went down as well, yet they still rank within the top five shared content on Orbitz's blog of the last 12 months.

As a visual content producer, I can’t help thinking this content might have benefited with some micro-infographics that could be shared on other community hubs, especially now they know this content engages their audience. 

Jet Lag Advisor - British Airways

This is a very simple calculator that British Airways created in conjunction with Dr. Chris Idzikowski, a UK sleep expert in 2006 (two years before Airbnb arrived).

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Jet lag is one of the key concerns of many flyers and this calculator offers advise to help minimise the jet lag when flying across different time zones.

Given that the tool was released almost 10 years ago, the interface is very simple and not particularly intuitive. I can’t believe that British Airways have not looked at making any major design improvements but I suppose if it works, don’t fix it.

This is a great example of how powerful practical value inspired content can be for achieving online features and media mentions:

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Understanding why successful content performs is key to getting better at producing content for yourself so I hope these seven examples inspire you to do even better.

If you or your agency created any of the above then be sure to let me know in the comment section below.

Danny Ashton

Published 5 August, 2015 by Danny Ashton

Danny Ashton is Outreach Director at infographic agency Neo Mammalian Studios and a contributor to Econsultancy.  He can be found on Twitter and Google+.

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