A case for content: vacation destinations

Alan Belniakbusiness, content5 Comments

I recently came back from a vacation to Jamaica. It was my first time there, and my first time with my family (wife and two daughters) at an all-inclusive resort. This particular place (Beaches Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica) is affiliated with Sesame Street and has all kinds of kid-related activities, plus stuff for grown-ups, too. In fact, lots of things to do.


Beaches Pink Bikini - 1779709_10153845460430228_1430505105_n.jpg - https://www.facebook.com/beachesresorts/photos/a.10152153784625228.909953.51777680227/10153845460430228/?type=1&theater

This is, as we say in the B2B world, a considered purchase. The switching costs are high. The decision frequency is low. Put another way: my wife and I want to really make sure we’re making a good decision for this year’s major vacation.


Ripe Opportunity

With so much to offer, the relative expense of this kind of vacation, and the potential long list of objections or questions to answer, this is a ripe opportunity for content.


Content to the Rescue

When planning this vacation, these are some of the questions I had (you might have the same ones, or even others):

  • What is there to do at night?
  • How does the kids club ‘work’? What kinds of activities do they do? What if it rains?
  • What kinds of things are there to do for teens and tweens (not applicable to me)?
  • How many restaurants are there? What kind of food do they serve?
  • Are the chefs renowned or notable? What do they say about the work and art they create?
  • What are some good things to do as a family? As a family with a 4- and 6-year old? As a couple who dropped off their kids to the kids club?
  • What if I want to leave the resort for a few hours?
  • What other activities does the resort recommend?
  • Transportation to and from resort?

And so on.


To Beaches’ credit, they have a good amount of information on their site.  But that’s just it: information.  It’s not really content.  I’m not trying to sound like a content snob, but it only gets me so far in terms of convincing me.


A Different Way to Answer Questions

What if instead…

  • Two blog posts and a video interview of some of the night activities
  • An interview with a kid’s club counselor, walking me through a typical day, and a video tour of the rooms
  • A SlideShare or Instagram hashtag of some of the art the kids have created in the past
  • An augmented reality app that I can download as I walk through the resort
  • An interactive map online, linking out to some text snippets and other pieces of this content (taking the content and simply adding a geographical context to it)
  • An Instagram or flickr or 500px feed of the meals the chefs create
  • A posting of the recipes the chefs used that season so people can ‘re-create’ their Jamaican culinary memories at home?  Better yet – assuage anyone with allergies
  • Audio interviews of families (ALL members) coming back from a banana boat ride or the horseback through water rides or an off-site dolphin excursion
  • An interview with one of the tour bus drivers about the things kids say after getting a dolphin ride
  • A map of downtown and a link to taxis and such of local shops, what they sell, and the like.  Create a digital area where past resort goers can leave comments (“great shoes at ___” ; “nice handbags, but overpriced at ____” and so on).
  • A list of the things to see along the bus ride from Montego Bay airport to the resort?  (This is a two-hour ride, and it was uneventful; the driver called out a few things and was generally pleasant, but having a ‘text companion’ might have been nice).


To be fair, Beaches has some social outlets: a Facebook page, a Twitter account, an Instagram account, and a Google+ page.  Take a spin through, and let me know what you think in the comments.


A for Effort, C for Execution

Here’s my take:

  • They get an A for putting something out there, but a C+/B- for execution.
  • Their Twitter account has a massive following, but they don’t follow back many people.  Much of their content there is retweets of Sandals content.
  • There isn’t a ton of interaction with followers.  There are some nice image shares though.
  • The Facebook page appears to be one monster ad, though there are some really nice customer testimonials there.  There’s some limited fan interaction and engagement.
  • Most of what’s posted is an image, saying that its great to be here.
  • If they took that premise and applied it to one  of the ideas above and fleshed it out, they’d really start to answer questions and use digital media to help ‘sell’ the resort experience.
  • The Google+ page looks like a merging of Twitter and Facebook.  However, I did see a recipe for a Jamaican Me Crazy cocktail drink – bravo!
  • This is the kind of stuff that helps create the experience before I even book a reservation.  


In fact, it’s the kind of content that helps me book a reservation.


Are you in an industry where its a considered purchase?  Are you using content as much as you can to tell the entire story?


Also, as a side note… There were some photographers on site taking a ton of photos.  We got tons of wristbands so we could later preview the pictures taken and perhaps create a memories CD.  This was an hour-plus process of standing in the photoshop area, looking at photos, and saying yes or no…. with anxious kids in tow.  Why not serve them up via the in-room TVs and incorporate a selection process?  Then have the selected photos ready for packaging/pricing at the photoshop?


image source: https://www.facebook.com/beachesresorts/photos/a.10152153784625228.909953.51777680227/10153845460430228/?type=1&theater   


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