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Localizing Content for Global Travel Audiences

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Welcome to the globalized era, where your travel website can reach corners of the Earth you never imagined. But are you really reaching everyone? Let's dive into why localizing content for a global audience is not just a good idea—it's a necessity.

The Global Nature of the Travel Industry

A report by the World Tourism Organization indicated that international tourist arrivals were about 1.5 billion in 2019. These numbers illuminate the endless possibilities for travel websites to captivate a global audience.

Why Localization is Vital

Consider the phrase, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." It aptly encapsulates the need for localization. By adapting your content to local norms and languages, you significantly improve user engagement and can reap a higher ROI. A case study by Harvard Business Review demonstrates that localized strategies can boost revenue by up to 200%.

What is Content Localization?

Definition and Distinctions

Localization goes beyond mere translation; it's about making your content relatable to a local audience, factoring in their tastes, traditions, and culture.

The Importance of Cultural Context

For instance, advertising a beef burger in India—a country where cows are considered sacred—would be a massive cultural misstep. Studies like the one from Nielsen reiterate the significance of cultural context in marketing strategies.

How to Identify Target Markets for Localization

Step 1: Analyze Website Traffic

The first step in identifying target markets is to look at your website's traffic analytics. Tools like Google Analytics offer in-depth insights into the geographic location of your visitors.

  1. Log in to Google Analytics and navigate to the "Audience" section.

  2. Go to Geo > Location to see where your traffic is coming from.

  3. Filter by country or city to focus on specific regions.

Localizing Content for Global Travel Audiences
Use this data to identify high-traffic areas where you might want to consider localization efforts.

Step 2: Social Media Engagement Metrics

Social media is an excellent barometer for gauging interest in your services. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide analytics on the geographic distribution of your audience.

  1. Log in to your social media analytics platform such as Facebook Insights.

  2. Navigate to the Audience section to see the demographics and geographic information.

  3. Analyze likes, shares, and comments to understand where high engagement comes from.

High engagement from a particular region could signify a strong interest, making it an ideal candidate for localization.

Step 3: Survey Your Audience

  1. Use Survey Tools: Use online survey tools like SurveyMonkey to create a survey asking about users' localization preferences.

  2. Ask Questions: Include questions about preferred languages, currency, and what improvements they would like to see.

  3. Promote the Survey: Share this survey via email newsletters or social media.

Sometimes, the most direct approach yields the most valuable insights.

Step 4: Assess Economic Viability

Before deciding on localization, it's crucial to assess the economic viability of the target market.

  1. Market Research: Tools like Statista can provide economic data about various countries and sectors.

  2. Cost-Benefit Analysis: Factor in the cost of localization and compare it against the potential revenue.

Step 5: Competitor Analysis

It's always beneficial to look at what markets your competitors are targeting.

  1. Research: Use tools like SEMrush to see where your competitors are gaining traction.

  2. Compare: Look at your own data and see how it measures up against your competitors. This can also help you identify any gaps or opportunities.

Case Studies: Learning from the Best

Airbnb and Booking.com offer great case studies for localization efforts.

Airbnb customizes its content for users based on their location

By following these steps, you'll not only identify but also validate the most lucrative markets to localize your content for. It's an ongoing process that requires consistent data analysis and tweaks but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Key Components to Localize

Language, Currency, Images, Cultural References

These are the fundamental building blocks for effective localization.

  • Language

For example, when localizing for the French market, you'd have to ensure your website content is available in French. But that's not all—considering regional dialects and slang can be crucial.

Netflix often offers multiple French subtitles, like "French (Canadian)" and "French," recognizing the linguistic differences within the same language.

  • Currency

Your pricing shouldn't just be converted; it should make sense in the local economic context.

If you're localizing for India, where the average income is generally lower compared to Western countries, you may consider altering the pricing strategy to fit local economic conditions.

  • Images

Visual elements should also resonate with the local culture.

Using an image of a family enjoying a meal together may work in the U.S., but in Japan, where there's a different set of dining etiquettes, the same image may not have the desired impact.

  • Cultural References

This can include colloquial phrases, idioms, or even humor.

A joke that might make an American audience laugh may not be funny—or even appropriate—in a conservative Middle Eastern market.

Translation vs. Localization

Detailed Comparison and Examples

While translation is simply converting text from one language to another, localization covers a wider array of elements—images, layout, cultural references, etc.

User-generated content translated into Spanish on Airbnb

SEO Considerations for Localization

Meta Descriptions, Keywords, Google Rankings

Your SEO efforts must be localized as well. For example:

  • Meta Descriptions: For a travel site aimed at Spanish users, changing a meta description from "Best Holiday Deals" to "Las Mejores Ofertas de Vacaciones" not only translates but localizes the content.

  • Keywords: In the U.S., you might use "vacation packages," but in the U.K., "holiday packages" is the more commonly used term.

  • Google Rankings: Google ranks pages differently in different countries. A page that ranks highly for "Best Hotels" in the U.S. may not even appear in the first few pages in France unless localized SEO efforts are made.

Tools and Platforms for Content Localization

  • CMS: WordPress users have a range of plug-ins like WPML and Polylang that can make the localization process more straightforward.

  • Third-party Tools: Platforms like Smartling or Transifex offer robust solutions for more complex localization needs.

Localizing your travel website isn't just a luxury—it's essential for capturing the global market effectively. Given the vast opportunities and proven ROI benefits, localization should be part of your core marketing strategy.


  1. What is content localization?

    • Content localization is the process of adapting your content to suit the local tastes, traditions, and culture of a particular market.

  2. How does localization differ from translation?

    • Translation is merely changing text from one language to another, while localization involves a broader scope like adapting images, layouts, and cultural nuances.

  3. Why is localization important in the travel industry?

    • With the globalization of the travel industry, localizing content allows you to connect effectively with a global audience, leading to higher engagement and ROI.

  4. What are some recommended best practices for content localization?

    • Some best practices include conducting market research, engaging native translators, and running A/B tests to ensure the content resonates with the local audience.

  5. What tools can I use for content localization?

    • You can use CMS features or third-party tools like Smartling for effective content localization.


About the author


Ngan Nguyen

Ngan Nguyen, a member of Nilead team, focuses on content marketing, SEO standard content, content analysis, planning, and metrics. Drawing on practical experience and a continual pursuit of industry trends, her contributions aim to offer readers insights that reflect current best practices and a commitment to informative content.

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