Nelson Lakes National Park New Zealand

Gavin Hirst - Wednesday 9th December 2020

5 ways Kiwi travel businesses can avoid cliches this summer

This year promises to be a summer like no other here in New Zealand. The COVID-19 pandemic means that for the first time, there will be no international visitors to our shores, the backbone of our tourism industry for so many years.

Instead, Kiwi tourism operators will instead rely on the good people of New Zealand for all of their business this year and whilst Kiwis are already booking trips in their droves, we simply don’t have the numbers to make up the shortfall in international visitors.

So, the conundrum for many local businesses who rely on tourist is this: how do we attract as many customers to our own business whilst also supporting our local community and ensuring that we, as a destination, can thrive this summer?

One of the best ways is to be authentic.

Whilst authenticity is a word we hear a lot in content marketing, it’s not as cliched as many of the terms we hear in the travel sector – “must see”, “breathtaking views”, and “hidden gems” are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cliches in the travel sector.

The big question faced by all travel companies here in New Zealand is how to avoid these cliches. Let’s take a look at 5 ways travel businesses can stay authentic this summer.

1.      Focus on your audience

Whilst you may think every potential visitor to your town is a potential customer, that’s not usually the case. A 19-year-old visitor to Queenstown is more likely to be interested in bungy jumping that a five-star luxury spa for example. It’s all about knowing and understanding your audience and being able to tailor your marketing and messaging to that particular audience.

Not everything has to be for everyone. It’s ok for your location or attraction not to cater for every single visitor.

If you’re not sure of the best type of content to suit your audience, ask them. Social media has provided businesses with a direct line to your customer base so don’t waste that opportunity – reach out and ask them questions which will help to drive your content and marketing messages.

2.      Keep it personal

Is it me, or does a lot of travel content sound like it has been written by the same person? This is not to say that it is bad content. It just means that so many businesses use the same cliches and generalisations to describe their region or their activity.

Make sure you have your own voice in the content you write. This can be to do with the tone and the language you use, but also in the anecdotes you can sprinkle into your content. By providing a personal element to your content – a mishap on a recent whitewater rafting expedition for example – you make your content more authentic and ultimately, more believable.

Understanding your audience will help you to know when and where to use anecdotes and humour in your content. If you’re describing a luxury spa experience, humour may not be the best medium, however, talking about your own personal experience with a group of kayakers or a recent group who had some great stories over dinner at your restaurant can really help to bring your content to life and make it more compelling to the reader.

3.      Avoid generalisations

Just as it’s important to avoid cliches, generalisations can also make your content seem very generic. Blanket statements can be cringeworthy to the reader – in researching a destination, they may come across the same statement time after time and it wears thin after a while.

To some extent, I have already done it in this post – talking about Queenstown and only mentioning bungy jumping or luxury spas is pretty short-sighted. Queenstown is about way more than those activities that make the headlines and there are some amazing things going on locally in Queenstown that often fall under the radar.

How many times have you researched a destination and discovered there is a local market on a Saturday morning? And how many times have you actually learnt anything about the stalls at that market? Rarely right? Usually, you get fed the same content about local markets anywhere in New Zealand – local cheese, local arts and crafts, homemade this and that – what people actually want to know is the stories behind the people at the market. How long have they been coming? How did they set up their business? Why do they come every weekend?

Knowing your audience allows you to keep your messaging personal and avoid generalisations making your content much more engaging. Winner.

4.      Use SEO insights

SEO often get the blame for a lack of originality. The need for content writers to appease Google’s algorithm with a selection of targeted keywords often means that content all sounds the same. This shouldn’t be the case, however. Google places much more emphasis on originality, expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T) and this means you should write for your audience rather than to please Google. Doing so will invariably tick both boxes.

A tool we have found most helpful in creating content that not only ticks the SEO boxes but also helps to keep your focus on your audience is the SEMrush SEO Content Template. Not only will the tool compare your content against the top ten ranking websites for the primary keywords you are targeting, it also provides you with a list of semantically relevant keywords to help boost your opportunities to rank for a wider range of keywords.

If you focus your efforts on longer tail keywords (three words and more), you are more likely to discover topics that are less competitive but that still add value to your audience.

5.      Revise and edit, revise and edit

My final piece of advice if you want to avoid the use of cliches in your travel content is to revise and edit. Then do it all over again. There’s nothing wrong with cliches – they become a cliché for a reason, however you should avoid using them where you can in order to create more authentic content.

If you happen to find that your content is full of cliches, go back over the article and find out if there is something else you can say instead – something unique, something personal. Can you find something else to say other than ‘luxurious’ or ‘charming’?


By following these five pointers, you will end up creating a completely personal content experience for visitors this summer, avoiding cliches and making your content much more compelling.

Whilst these tips are specific to the travel sector, they can be applied across any sector you are working in with a few small tweaks. If you want to talk to someone about your content strategy this summer, speak to the experts at Digital Hothouse.

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