Top four drivers for customer loyalty in the travel industry

family travellers on beach

When it comes to maintaining success in any industry, customer loyalty is crucial. Studies have shown that retaining existing customers is far more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, with the expense ranging from five to 25 times higher. In experience-driven industries like travel and tourism, where the customer journey is central, fostering that customer loyalty becomes even more critical. Here, marketers face the challenge of maintaining consistent engagement across various touchpoints and ensuring satisfaction throughout the customer’s entire experience.

But keeping customers happy isn’t the only way to encourage loyalty. In this article, we explore four of the key drivers for customer retention: satisfaction, delight, brand identification and trust. We’ll also share practical tips on how you can tailor your marketing and content strategies, as well as create content that fosters a stronger bond with your customers.

Top four drivers for customer loyalty in the travel industry


1. Satisfaction: The cornerstone of customer loyalty

Satisfaction is one of the main factors that cultivates customer loyalty. Customer satisfaction comes from comparing perceived performance, such as service or experience, to expectations, desires and past experiences. Ensuring overall satisfaction across the customer journey and various touchpoints is essential, and meeting expectations often leads to satisfaction. However, the multi-touchpoint customer journey, typical in experience industries like travel, presents a challenge for marketers. They must constantly observe their customer journey, ensuring satisfaction across every touchpoint, to lead to an overall positive experience.

To drive customer loyalty through satisfaction, content marketers must make sure that essential travel advice is available across the whole experience, from pre-booking and during the travel itself to post-travel. For example, it’s crucial to provide pre-planned itineraries for different kinds of travellers, post-booking content such as packing lists and travel tips and excellent customer service around the clock.

How to boost loyalty with must-have travel content

To drive satisfaction and loyalty, one should also factor in:

  • Personalised content: Tailor content to individual customer preferences and behaviours. Use data analytics to understand customer characteristics, needs and preferences and deliver personalised recommendations, newsletters, emails, CRM content and content offerings. To have a satisfying experience, customers expect to be treated as individuals.
  • Local in-language content: Tailor content to specific target markets by creating in-language content that also captures cultural references and travel preferences. Creating multilingual content from scratch ensures your content appeals to global audiences.
  • Compelling destination content: Create high-quality content that highlights the unique attractions, activities and experiences available at various destinations.


2. Delight: Surpassing expectations and creating memorable experiences

In today’s highly competitive markets, simply satisfying customers isn’t enough. Brands must now aim to delight them too, by surpassing expectations and evoking deeper emotions. Continuously delighting customers is key to winning and retaining their loyalty over time. To achieve this, content marketers should craft captivating narratives using compelling storytelling techniques.

The Service Dominant Logic (SDL) and Experience Dominant Logic (EDL) theories underscore the importance of creating memorable experiences. This aligns with the rising demand for purpose-driven travel experiences, where travellers seek meaning and fulfilment on their trips.

How to boost loyalty with delight-focused travel content

Here are some tips on how to boost customer loyalty with delight-focused content marketing, which centres around storytelling, interactive elements and authenticity:

  • Storytelling through blogs and articles: Publish engaging blog posts and articles that share stories about travel experiences, local culture and hidden gems. Use narrative-driven content to captivate readers and foster emotional connections with destinations. Consider incorporating customer stories and testimonials.
  • Leverage user-generated content: Use customer testimonials and reviews to showcase authentic experiences and build trust.
  • Incorporate interactive and immersive experiences: Consider using gamification and augmented reality to surprise and engage customers, leaving a lasting impact.
  • Editorial and authoritative content: Leverage the know-how of expert writers, influencers and journalists to create memorable and meaningful content that resonates with customers.

Recommended reading: 6 Tips to create authoritative content

3. Brand identification: Building strong brand-consumer connections

Brand identification highlights people’s inclination to associate themselves with brands that reflect their values and aspirations. Consumers view products or brands as extensions of their own social identities. Take, for instance, a luxury hotel renowned for its opulence, elegance and impeccable service. Such a hotel attracts loyal customers seeking comfort, sophistication and personalised attention during their stay.

By fostering brand identification, brands create a sense of belonging and loyalty, establishing enduring relationships with their clientele that go beyond mere transactions.

How to boost loyalty with building brand-focused travel content

Here’s how travel industry content marketers can achieve this:

  • Showcase brand values: Create content that communicates the brand’s commitment to excellence, sustainability, social responsibility, or any other core values that resonate with the target audience. 
  • Community-building initiatives: Create online or offline communities where consumers can connect, share stories and engage with like-minded individuals who identify with the brand. Building a community around shared interests, values, or experiences strengthens brand identification and fosters long-term loyalty.
  • Authentic user-generated content: Encourage customers to share their experiences with the brand through user-generated content (UGC) platforms or social media. Authentic content created by satisfied customers not only builds trust but also fosters a sense of community among consumers.
  • Brand advocacy programs: Empower loyal customers to become brand advocates by providing them with exclusive benefits, rewards or opportunities to engage with the brand. Brand advocates can amplify the brand’s message, share positive experiences and contribute to a sense of belonging among their networks. 

Recommended reading: Travel content predictions 2024 – Explore our key insights on how to target the travel audience with content marketing strategies in 2024

hotel room guest

4. Trust: Establishing credibility and reliability

Trust is pivotal for creating enduring relationships with brands. It represents a belief in the honesty of a brand, as well as a commitment to relying on it over the long term. Content marketers play a vital role in cultivating trust by prioritising transparency and authenticity in their content creation.

How to boost loyalty with building trust with your travel content

Here are some tips on how you can create customer loyalty with trust-focused content marketing:

  • Transparency and authenticity: Be transparent about your brand values, practices and product offerings. Authenticity builds trust with customers, so ensure that your content reflects your brand’s true identity.
  • User-generated content: Encourage and curate customer reviews and user-generated content to provide authentic testimonials and experiences from consumers.
  • Collaboration with influencers: Partner with influencers and brand ambassadors who align with your brand values and have a loyal following. Their endorsements can enhance credibility among their audience.
  • High-quality editorial content: Invest in creating high-quality editorial content that educates, informs and entertains your audience. By providing valuable insights and expert opinions, you demonstrate authority and expertise in your industry.

From loyalty to advocacy and sustained growth

Brands can cultivate lasting connections and create meaningful experiences by embracing the power of strategic content creation and staying in tune to the needs and preferences of their audience. With a commitment to customer satisfaction, brands creating experiences that delight customers while maintaining authenticity, relevance and trust can drive conversions and customer loyalty.

By prioritising these loyalty-centric approaches, travel brands can build a loyal customer base that not only drives revenue but also serves as advocates, spreading positive word-of-mouth, generating referrals and contributing to sustained growth.

Get in touch

Discover how Key Content’s global network of specialised travel content experts across 75 markets can assist you in building customer loyalty and scaling your content marketing efforts. With our expertise in crafting authoritative, editorial content, we ensure your brand leaves a lasting impression. Get in touch with Key Content today.

Practical tips on how to improve customer loyalty through content:

  1. Personalised content
    • Tailor content to individual preferences and behaviours.
    • Use data analytics for personalised recommendations.
  2. Content localisation
    • Adapt content to specific target markets.
    • Translate or create multilingual content.
  3. Compelling destination content
    • Highlight unique attractions and experiences.
    • Engage with captivating narratives and stories.
  4. Storytelling through blogs and articles
    • Share travel experiences and local culture.
    • Use narrative-driven content to foster emotional connections.
  5. Leverage user-generated content
    • Curate customer reviews and testimonials.
    • Showcase real-life benefits of products or services.
  6. Incorporate interactive and immersive experiences
    • Use gamification and augmented reality.
    • Provide immersive content experiences.
  7. Editorial and authoritative content
    • Collaborate with expert writers and influencers.
    • Provide valuable insights and expert opinions.


Sources include:

Desveaud K. (2019). A Customer Loyalty Conceptual Framework: A Grounded Theory Review Approach. Proceedings of the European Marketing Academy, 48th,

Gallo, A. (2014). The Value of Keeping the Right Customers. Harvard Business Review. URL:

Närvänen, E., Kuusela, H., Paavola, H., & Sirola, N. (2020). A meaning-based framework for customer loyalty. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management. URL:


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