What is copywriting and how can it boost your tourism business?

Copywriter looking up from book to explain what copywriting is and why it's important for travel professionals

I’d registered the occasional puzzled face when mentioning my work to friends and family but had never given it too much thought. Until last week, when a friend said ‘Oh, you’ll know all about that, won’t you? You work with copyright.’ It was then I realised I’d been assuming that everyone knew exactly what copywriting was. And maybe they don’t.

So, at the risk of sounding patronising, I’ll explain what copywriting is (if you know this inside out already, feel free to skip to the next sub-heading!).

Copywriting is not to do with intellectual property rights. That’s copyright, and you can find lots of good information about that here (just in case you stumbled across this page by accident when trying to find out how to protect the rights to your latest masterpiece).

So, what is copywriting?

Copywriting is persuasive writing. It’s the kind of writing you do when you want your reader to take a specific action, whether that be:

  • Booking a tour with you
  • Signing up for your newsletter
  • Buying your product

And, when you’re running a tourism business, every word you write to your customers (or potential customers) is your copy. That includes the words on your:

  • blog posts
  • websites
  • social media
  • marketing emails
  • guidebooks, leaflets and brochures

It even includes words you might not have thought much about before. For example, the words on your out of office reply. Or the error messages and pop-up hints on your website (these are sometimes referred to as microcopy and although they are small, they are super-important!).

Or take the words on your call-to-action buttons. Ever thought much about these? Hm, thought not. Well, in a recent LinkedIn post, I shared the story of a tour operator who increased their bookings by 25 percent after changing the text on their website button from ‘Buy Now’ to ‘See Dates’.

Talking of calls to action (CTAs) these are crucial! Without one, a piece of writing cannot really be called copy. It’s all very well taking the time to craft a persuasive paragraph, but if you don’t tell your readers what to do at the end of it, you may as well not bother.

What copywriting is NOT

Hand is raised to warn reader about what copywriting is not.

So, that’s what copywriting is. And, in the interests of clearing up some common misconceptions, here are three things that copywriting is NOT.

  • Copywriting is not about writing long texts. On the contrary, you want to get your message across using as few words as possible.
  • Copywriting shouldn’t sound like writing. Forget dense paragraphs and long sentences. Try to sound chatty, rather than formal.
  • Copywriting is not about you, even when it is! Copy is always about your customer, so make sure you put yourself in their shoes while you are writing. What are they looking for and how can you give it to them?

How can copywriting boost your travel business?

Tour guide takes photo of Eiffel Tower to post on social media

Now you know what copywriting is (and isn’t) why is it so important for your travel business?

Good copywriting will make customers much more likely to engage with your brand (72% more likely, according to this recent survey).

It will also boost your visibility. 88% of SEO specialists believe that quality copywriting is essential for high search engine rankings.

Simply put, your words are powerful. You may have stunning photos of your destination (and so you should!) but it’s the words you write that will get your customers reaching for their credit cards – or scrolling on by.

Your copy counts for so much at every stage of your customer’s journey.

  1. Dreaming (at this stage your copy should inspire! Think social media posts which appeal to all the senses. How can you generate a sense of FOMO?)
  2. Planning (at this point, customers will be looking for practical tips and ideas. Your copy needs to give them exactly what they need and more, so they’ll be in no doubt about your expertise and approachability.)
  3. Booking (now you need to maintain the friendly tone, while being as clear and concise as possible. Terms and conditions need to be unambiguous.)
  4. Experiencing (your copy needs to provide value, as you go above and beyond your customers’ expectations. Preparing an ‘Eating Out Guide’? Make sure it covers all bases by asking yourself: ‘What would my customers want to know?’)
  5. Sharing (your customers may have gone home, but the nurturing continues. Why not write them a postcard from your destination with a personalised message and a link to your review site?)

Boost your copywriting confidence

Didn’t I tell you that every piece of copy needs a CTA? Well, here’s mine.

If you’re reading this and thinking ‘Yes, Genevieve, I understand what copywriting is, but I’m not sure I’m doing it right!’ then don’t despair.

If you’d like to learn about the hows and whys of copywriting, I can help you. I offer 1-1 coaching sessions, tailored to suit the needs of you and your business. You can choose between a single Copy Boost session or my in-depth six-week course. Find out more about my services here. Alternatively, I can write your copy for you.

Contact me to find out more about what investing in good copy could do for your tourism business.

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