Travel Top 6 is a location-based, mobile-first content marketing platform set up as an arm's length brand by the world's sixth largest hotel chain and the creative and marketing agency of it European flagship. PROJECTile delivered substantial original mobile-first content in multiple languages informed by its content and destination expertise.
PROJECTile was commissioned by Revolt, the creative and marketing agency for Choice Hotels Europe, to deliver substantial ultra short-form travel guide content and relevant imagery for Travel Top 6.
Travel Top 6 was established as a separate brand from Choice Hotels, conceptualised by Revolt based on an innovative GPS-driven, mobile-first technology, an API created by a TravTech start-up. The concept was simple: by establishing a travel guide brand with an independent editorial voice, Travel Top 6 would be able to drive direct bookings for Choice Hotels by ensuring content relevant to location. As was later proven, this wasn't as whacky as it sounded. Many of Choice Hotels' properties are in less visited cities and towns or in less central locations in major world cities. By creating strong, relevant content for such locales—the kinds of places hispster influencers ignore—Travel Top 6 was able to leapfrog in SEO terms and speak to the guest audiences it already knew to be important to Choice Hotels' bookings.
While its network of top travel writers with genuine destination knowledge was one part of PROJECTile's ability to deliver, so was its expertise and experience in delivering multilingual content. Most destinations needed content in English, French and/or German.
No doubt, one of the reasons Revolt wanted to work with PROJECTile was because our project lead had already worked on the brand, had already delivered in another capacity and grasped how it's taut, structured approach to these destination guides was based on cleverly manipulating the "listical" approach to building SEO scores by opting for a brand-defining number seldom used.
PROJECTile's brief for this project was a tight one. It would only deliver the ultra short-form mobile-first content for the identified destinations; words and pictures. Revolt would continue to source the longer format article content on the site from a content provider with which it already worked. Rather than take a journalistic, traditional "travel writing" approach, PROJECTile would focus on the following:
Close consideration of guest personas— balancing the hip and the aspirational with identified guest profiles: business travellers, families with children, short break travellers etc.
Locality — quality was always to remain the top priority of editorial recommendations in each of the 6 categories. But, when congruent with priority guest personas and local knowledge permitted, we ensured inclusions of bars, attractions or shopping within the locale of Choice Hotels properties
Say it short — although the immoveable, punishing 160-character limit of the original API was removed for subsequent trenches of destinations, brevity remained key. We had to use compelling writers with destination expertise who could sum up a reason to visit in a couple of lines
Say it in another language — PROJECTile managed the entire process of translations (from the English original) of content for all destinations, sourcing and managing appropriate translators and intuiting issues that might arise—such as some languages simply using more words—based on in-house expertise of multilingual copy
Clever pictures — PROJECTile delivered literally thousands of copyright-free images through its own relevant networks and liaison directly with venues and local DMOs
One of the intrinsic challenges of the project was that it was intended to appeal to the broadest range of potential Choice Hotel guests. However, Choice Hotels' sub-brands range from two to four-star properties, with very different balances of perceived brand status or spread of standards of accommodation in different locales and countries.
PROJECTile delivered literally hundreds of discrete recommendations for attractions, restaurants, cafés, shopping, events and nightlife summed up in location-based, short-form, fact-checked copy with accompanying imagery illustrating exactly why these are travel recommendations we'd stand behind. And, we did this for locations in 10 countries on three continents.
We did this, using an appropriate tone of voice for the guest personas; to Choice Hotels' target markets. And, in many cases, we did it in multiple languages.
We committed to clear and timely communication with all stakeholders, a commitment we upheld, taking on the feedback of both Revolt and regional/country marketing offices—which, naturally, were all different in their opinions, manner and priorities. And, of course, we developed and efficient system of liaison with Revolt's in-house teams—such as the social media team—working on demand generation.
Chances are if you don't Google in German and have had to travel to business to a less obvious region of Germany, a peripheral neighbourhood of Rome or somewhere deep in the heart of Ontario, you may have had dinner at a place we recommended.
And (yes, we're speaking to you, smaller DMOs), if there's one thing to take away from Revolt's canny concept, it's that there remains a lot of bandwidth for growing the uptake of a local offering in less visited places through good destination content that speaks to an international audience.