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Content creation for a luxury travel brand

Defining luxury travel since 1967

Since its foundation in 1967, airtours has been one of the most established and globally recognised luxury travel brands. My team and I were responsible for the relaunch of airtours in 2009, which was later rolled-out strategically and creatively in association with our task forces of the Wunderman agency network.

‘The successive rejuvenation of brands is a necessary step in order to retain regular customers and at the same time open up to new target group segments. This is an iterative, permanent process, which also requires the addition of new technologies.

As a first step, we developed a holistic concept for the transformation of airtours’ catalogues and reader's experience, which remain an important approach for collecting and supporting the distribution of travel products in both printed and digital form.

The strategic approach: A constant, operative translation, interpretation and monitoring of the brand’s promise

The starting point of the new editorial concept for the airtours luxury travel brand was the airtours brand target — the brand’s vision, promise and the firm’s unique beliefs. These beliefs had to be translated to show how airtours communicates, prepares and present content as a differentiator.

For this purpose, we converted the catalogues to a digital, integrated content process with our re-launch in 2010. This has allowed us to create catalogues automatically, to edit and control all content and produce them easily on demand. The same content is now also delivered via search engines and corresponding interfaces to digital touchpoints, such as the airtours website and e-mailings, apps, travel agencies and booking systems.

The unique airtours brand experience is defined, above all, by the way — the how — in which it deals with and communicates with its customers, not just by what it has to offer. This proves whether there really is an eye-to-eye and mutual understanding.

With the above in mind, it was important for us, right from the start, to integrate a close relationship among the brand design, attitude and text quality, that is, its tone and content. In particular, this has allowed us to achieve and establish a high level of consistency and credibility in the brand experience with the most diverse array of touchpoints available.

To ultimately deliver on the brand promise of ‘Priceless Guidance’, a grid a type of strategic framework was first developed that could be applied across all destinations, topics and special publications for all media and formats in equal measure and with a high degree of longevity.

The design of this grid is characterised by extraordinary clarity, extremely high quality aesthetics and loyalty to the brand and its identity; this is where the promise of orientation and brand leadership in the global luxury travel market is fulfilled. This also makes airtours a credible negotiating partner for a wide variety of corporations and potential new partners.

In addition, the content we provide is at a level that, above all, demonstrates our competence and knowledge of what true luxury is and distinguishes it from the profane and superficial to fulfil the promises of the airtours brand:

airtours is not only selective in the choice of its partnerships, but also in the selection, preparation and offering of content and wisdom as added value for its customers.

Since the tourism industry is subject to regular, seasonal updates and changing customer needs regarding hotels and new marketing topics, for example, a multi-stage revision process was established at the beginning of the work to ensure the quality of all content.

For the whole creation process the brand beliefs initially formed an ideal framework and created firm, measurable selection criteria that could then be translated and found in the structure and quality of the content, the integrated approach to quality assurance and improvement through to the processes for content publication and use by external partners.

The development of airtours’ content

The content was not only curated and developed together with the multiple hotel partners worldwide, it was also subject to an equally uncompromising selection process. airtours as the leading luxury travel brand has no room to abide passionless and generic content.

Our selection process creates a sense of trust for both the brand’s partners and customers, implicitly justifying airtours’ premium price strategy.

A strong brand integrates seamlessly but relevantly into people’s everyday lives. It also takes care of personal development, thus it creates acceptance and revaluation.‘ – Marcus Podorf

airtours’ travel designers — how the product managers were called from now on — were also involved in the content creation process. On one hand, this enabled them to facilitate the mutual transfer of knowledge, know-how and exchange, while on the other hand it ensured their influence and direct participation in the outcome.

The side effect of this approach to the core and convictions of the brand was that a number of offers and services became obsolete, due to their lack of differentiation from the competition. To this end, adequate and new added value was created and negotiated, such as privileges that are only accessible to members of the exclusive airtours ‘inner circle‘.

New airtours travel volumes

Our claim was a high-quality, clear and independent user experience that adds value to the character of the luxury brand airtours as a priceless guide and gives the airtours travel volumes a premium status.

Building on this, we initially developed an editorial concept for the new airtours ‘volumes’ — as the re-launch of the airtours catalogues will be called from now on — with which we aim to make the airtours brand clearer, more focused and, above all, distinctive.

The airtours catalogue becomes a unique source of inspiration and navigates through the world of luxury travel in terms of content and design.

The concept execution comprised several levels to stimulate reading pleasure and relevance when dealing with the contents.

– The best hotels & resorts in the world’s most beautiful destinations
– Carefully selected by airtours experts with many years of know-how
– airtours brand experience made tangible through inspirational content
– Unheard insider stories for selected destinations
– Guidance with a clear structure, brief characteristics of the hotel and awards
– Emotionalisation through appropriate text and images
– Added value and exclusive services highlighted prominently

The new airtours digital experience

All new content has been translated into a corresponding new logic for the re-launch of the airtours digital dialogue experience (e.g., newslettering), the website and booking engine; it follows users’ information needs and the aesthetic needs of the airtours brand in equal measure.

All content — text as well as images — can be newly compiled as modules in various combinations and played out in new, more diverse formats and scenarios, thanks to the digital transfer service.

For example, only with the re-launch is it possible to specifically free various accommodations from their destination and marketing silos and to establish new, easily accessible categories such as design, classic and boutique hotels.

It is now also possible to ensure that the most optimal and broadest possible secondary use of the new content is accessible to search engines, translated and used, for example, in search engine marketing.

In the background, all content has been accordingly systematised, indexed and future-proofed in the CMS during the creation process.

Further airtours instruments

As a result of the brand’s change strategy and process, further communication assets have been created, such as e-mailings. These not only draw on the same content pool, but also — depending on the marketing occasion and partner — allow for the creation of new content that can be extended to the website for conversion.

In a further article I will report on the approach to the design, planning and implementation of airtours’ tactical and strategic marketing measures.

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