Content Marketing Case Studies Presented at the New York Times Travel Show

Last month, I attended the trade day of the New York Times Travel Show – always an excellent start to the year for getting new industry information and fresh ideas for travel writing. I get a lot from the “Focus on Travel Media” track of panels, because this is where the latest and most innovative trends in digital and print media—as they relate to the tourism industry—are discussed.

It was telling that this was the first year a session was offered dedicated to content marketing. Those of us who have been writing content marketing pieces for tourism destinations for years know how successful it can be, and that its potential has yet to be realized. The case studies presented there told the story well.

Sarah Chazan, Senior Editor at Wall Street Journal Custom Studios, explained that custom content—such as the program they produced for the Chase Ritz Carlton credit card—resulted in high brand engagement and improved perception, and fostered trust. This was mainly due to three factors:

  • Authenticity – Story-telling was authentic to the brand
  • A singular focus – Stories had depth and reflected quality reporting
  • Authority – Content reflected the caliber of the Wall Street Journal

Ben Baer, Managing Editor of Forbes Brand Production, shared the success of the “Guide to the Globe” package they produced for Celebrity Cruises, which included 16 original stories on Celebrity destinations that were published on In addition to 558,000 page views, the content resulted in tens of thousands of social actions within social media channels.

Looking ahead, Chazan pointed out that given the measurable success of content marketing in the tourism industry, she expects the focus on content and native distribution to grow.

Which is good news for all of us who enjoy sharing travel stories, and for those of us who know how to incorporate them into a marketing campaign.

Six Things Every Hotel Should Offer Families

I’ve been writing a lot of hotel reviews lately, and I’ve been traveling with my two kids for 14 years now. There are so many hotels and resorts out there that truly define “family friendly” with thoughtful room design, amenities, and programs. A few have really spoiled us, like the spacious Caribbean Club in Grand Cayman, and the grand-but-not-pretentious Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania.

character dining
Character dining at Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Vermont

I wish I could convince hotel designers to think more like a parent when creating these spaces that need to serve as our home away from home. With furnishings and room amenities like these, I will remember a hotel, recommend it to my friends and family, and return in the future.

More storage solutions – Supply plenty of places for four or more people to put their stuff. Extra shelves in the bathroom, wall hooks for coats, retractable clotheslines for wet swimsuits, benches with space underneath for shoes, and platform beds with drawers. My kingdom for more than one luggage rack!

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Seven Blog Post Ideas for Tourism and Hospitality Businesses

This month, I was asked by the Dutchess County Tourism office to speak about blogging during two “Lunch and Learn” programs for representatives from local hotels, attractions, restaurants, and other travel and hospitality businesses. The first half of my presentation covered best practices for attracting and working with travel bloggers in order to increase publicity and exposure.

During the second half, I made it my mission to convince every tourism business in the room to have a blog on their website. I told them why, and I told them how. But the part which made people raise their heads and look me in the eyes were the tips on what to blog about.

It seems like content is a stumbling block, but it shouldn’t be. Content is important! Provide useful, relevant information, and go light on the sales pitches. Here are some suggestions on what to post for variety and engagement:

● Suggestions for local things to do and see, places to eat. Keep the business in your local community! Example: Best Seafood Restaurants Within 15 Minutes of Our Hotel

● Lists work really well for blogs. Top Five, Top Ten and Top 20 lists get shared and retweeted. Example: The Top Ten Things You Should Pack for a Trip to the Hudson Valley in the Summer.

● Recipes and “sneak peeks” at new menus, music playlists, tips which showcase your staff members’ niche expertise. Example: Zone 5 Gardening Tips from our Landscaping Team

● Staff profiles. Interesting back stories about their personal and professional accomplishments, or what they do on their days off. Example: Our Team’s Weekend Working With Habitat for Humanity

● Photography and video. Take a break from words with an occasional photo or video clip. Example: Last Night’s Sunset View From Room 101.

● Guest posts from others. They will in turn promote their contribution on your blog to their own audiences. Example: Five Ways to Freshen Your Interior Décor This Spring, from our Designer Jane Smith.

● Special offers (occasionally!) Example: Mention This Blog Post and We’ll Take 10% of Your Next Dinner Tab.

Interested in learning more? Send me an email ( and I’ll be happy to send you my entire presentation. If you need help writing or editing your blog, let me know. I can help!