What is travel?
Airbnb is certainly trying to define it, with the message that inclusion and community make for memorable experiences. We shouldn’t stand for standard, the homogeneity of a hotel chain.
The internet in general is encouraging a fightback again corporate globalisation (though perhaps these are simply our death throes?), with everything from homespun craft available through Etsy and crowdsourced cycle routes on Strava.
I watched John Kearns perform recently (a storytelling comic that won the Edinburgh Comedy Award) and he had one line designed to show how much he wanted to return to a more personal world.
He spoke about seeing tourists in the more garish areas of London promoted by guidebooks, such as Picadilly Circus, and how he wanted to talk to each of them and tell them about the really niche and beautiful parts of London, often tucked in neighbourhoods that tourists never make it to.
I’m getting to the point here. lastminute.com has produced a lovely piece of content designed to show parts of London that only the discerning have discovered*. It’s called 100 Things in London and it’s a nice bit of content marketing.
Let’s take a look and I’ll attempt to point out why it should go well.
As the entirety of human knowledge is closer to being fully catalogued online, curating information becomes more and more of a skill. Jo Harris-Cooksley, content marketing manager at lastminute.com, worked with local tour guides, historians and bloggers to find the right mix of trivia associated with each thing.
Of course, the more unique content, the more social love, the more links from potentially 100 or more parties affiliated with each of the 100 things in this list, the greater the SEO benefit.
I like the way the photographs are displayed without any additional information. It entices the user into clicking on an image. When one does, a light box appears with a smattering of information and the invitation to find out more (at an associated website).
This is great for allowing users to graze on the content, encouraging them to find something new. The ‘shuffle’ button also helps in this regard, though I would suggest this list has to be built out a lot more before the shuffle feature really starts to become fun.
The ‘near me’ feature is an example of how all experiences are now striving to provide extra degrees of relevance. By providing locational relevancy, this content has an extra use.
I’m currently in Manchester and, sure enough, based on my location I’m being advised to visit Uxbridge and East Finchley. So it works, even if it’s chiefly designed for mobile, on which I found it worked well.
It’s not just for people visiting London
Content marketing still adds value to a brand. I’m a London resident who’s enjoyed the content and therefore have a greater affinity with the brand than previously.
If there is any company out there that hasn’t yet understood that imagery is vital for success on social media, I’d be surprised.
One might suggest that lastminute.com could have used a social network like Instagram or Pinterest for this project. Whilst I think that would be a good idea in addition, there’s no doubt that content is better sitting on your site if you want people in the right area and the associated SEO benefit.
Whilst content creators will never rival the breadth and depth of Tripadvisor, Tripadvisor itself is looking a little more prosaic these days. Maybe it needs a revamp to look as nice as this small content project from lastminute, a simple but impactful piece of content marketing.
*I’m aware that Piccadilly Circus is indeed listed in here, too. A 99% hit rate is okay, I suppose. The lightbox points out this is the most photographed site in London, which surely points out how dearly we need alternative guides to London.