At Travefy, we love hearing how users are utilizing Travefy Professional. We recently learned about Jeff and Kate Howard’s travel and blog business, HotelsNearDCMetro.com and discovered how they use Travefy and how Travefy Pro has impacted their business.
Q: How would you describe your travel website?
We essentially are a travel blog that marries information on Washington, D.C.’s neighborhoods, transit, and hotels. Our site is HotelsNearDCMetro.com. Of course, as the name suggests we focus only on hotels that are located close to the D.C. Metro system. We also run https://njhotelsnearnyc.com/ which focuses on hotels near transit outside of NYC.
This is our fifth year with the D.C. site and in the site’s lifetime, we have served over 1,000,000 visitors. This year we wanted to begin writing about things to do in Washington, D.C. which is how we found Travefy, and we use it to power our power our page on sightseeing itineraries for tourists in Washington, D.C.
Q: Why did you decide to use Travefy, even though you’re not a travel agent?
We did a study this spring and found out that 95% of our website users are leisure travelers. When we asked our visitors what they needed help with and about 1/3 told us that they needed help finding things to do in Washington, D.C.
We had been wanting to expand the content on our website to capture people searching for things to do, tourist activities, etc. We also wanted content to keep people on our website longer and appeal to them at different times in their decision-making process. In addition, we needed content that was less hotel driven and would appeal to other websites.
What we noticed quickly that most articles run along the lines of “Top 20 Things to Do in D.C.” We wanted to speak directly to a certain type of person with themed day itineraries, and try to put together a complete picture of one day in D.C. Inevitably, that would help our visitors understand logistics to get from place to place, as well as be inspired.
Q: What problem does Travefy help solve?
As mentioned above our first crack at creating itineraries in Word and Excel went poorly, they looked awful and would take a while to build. They looked like something you would get at summer camp explaining chores and activities.
- Travefy allowed us to put together sightseeing itineraries much faster, with good visuals. We didn’t have to worry about formatting, or if it would look good on a mobile phone. We just had to plug in the content.
- Looking up restaurants for certain areas became a nagging process. First of all, people have all different types of tastes; it is likely our suggestions for places to eat and secondary to places to see. Travefy’s database of restaurants allowed us to simply pick something that looked good in the local area, then move along planning for activities. An additional bonus was that restaurant descriptions are built into the tool.
- Travefy made it easy to copy and agenda and change one part of it. This helped further cut down on time because a lot of people visiting D.C. will want to see the essentials at the National Mall and then go do something else like a museum, or food, or do something outdoors.
- The PDF downloads for each agenda help keep our website users coming back. If we have a user in the dreaming stage of a trip to D.C. hopefully our agendas keep us top of mind when it comes time to make a decision on where to stay. Plus, the PDFs are nicely branded.
- Ease of use was another positive. My wife is slowly starting to take over more aspects of managing the site. She is tech-savvy enough to use her iPhone and do a bunch of social media wizardry. It took her about an hour or two to master Travefy and then was able to knock out agendas quickly.
Q: How has Travefy helped you achieve marketing goals and what has been the feedback?
Yes, we are starting to see other websites gladly mention our sightseeing itineraries. Getting mentions from other sites has been one of our primary goals. Last month we launched a new version of our website that includes better navigation, and now the agendas are one of three links in our header navigation. Needless to say, people are finding them, and we are pleased with the feedback from our users.
Q: Do you have any advice for travel bloggers when it comes to content?
When we looked at developing content for things to do in Washington, D.C. We knew with the way Google is working now that writing XX number of articles on those topics might not make much of an impact, mostly because our website is still small compared to other players. It basically was going to be impossible to attract any additional credibility simply rewriting the standard articles.
We also see Google ranking the same pages for many variations of the same type of keyword. For example, you’ll find TripAdvisor pages will rank for “things to do,” “places to see,” “attractions for tourist.” We see Google rely a lot less on keyword density and more on a general understanding of how well your page fills user intent for a parent topic.
This signaled to us that if we wanted to compete in this space for traffic we needed to do something unique and it had to be high quality, as well as evergreen.
All that being said, our advice to travel bloggers is to present your experiences in a neat and clean fashion. Additionally, it helps to focus on being an expert in one destination or type of trip. This should help attract attention in the ultra-competitive travel space.