The Importance of Localization for the Travel and Tourism Industry
The Importance of Localization for the Travel and Tourism Industry

Being able to adjust messaging to international customers is essential for the travel industry.

This is why the pressure to be global in your communication is even stronger than for other types of companies. The best way to achieve this is through localization. Dive into this article for a detailed explanation of the importance of localization for the travel industry.

Why localization? 

While translation may have been enough for several decades, the travel industry has expanded so exponentially that the competition is much stronger and the customer base has much higher expectations. Translating a menu is no longer enough to set your restaurant apart. Especially if you use free online translators that use literal, word-per-word systems.  

The great thing about localization is that it aims to recreate the same look and feel as the original message, so that it has a similar impact in the target language and culture. This involves taking sensitivities into consideration, so that any image, symbol or word that may be inappropriate is deleted from the target product.  

Localization for the travel industry

Pictures are particularly important for the travel industry. The fact that different cultures assign different connotations to visual material is one of the main reasons why localization — and not translation — is the best solution for this sector. 

Also, localization can help with specificities such as currencies or measurements. As travelers in a foreign country, receiving the information you need in an adjusted format to fit your own understanding can help make the experience a lot more pleasant. But this is not the only benefit. If your hotel can have localized material for different nationalities and systems of measurement (for example: x miles = y kilometers) in advance, your staff will also be able to provide a more efficient and personalized service. 

And last but not least, localization also provides the capacity to adjust your content to different locales. A locale is the combination of a language and a cultural environment. For example, the English language has several different locales depending on where it is spoken. Localizing travel and hospitality information to adjust to different English speaker origins is another sign that your company is willing to go the extra mile. It will save the customer the effort of having to figure out differences for themselves, providing them with a high-end travel experience.

Localization as a branding tool  

Branding is about conveying a consistent company personality across all channels of communication. For global audiences, localization is the most efficient tool in creating this consistency, no matter what locale your message is adjusted to. This is why travel and hospitality brands can benefit enormously from using localization services.  

One of the ways in which consistency is achieved through localization is the use of term-bases, databases and translation memories containing previously translated content and client-approved terminology. In short, localization experts can leverage the advances of translation technology to meet technical, linguistic and stylistic consistency standards. Furthermore, the use of this technology helps save time and money, as it makes the translators’ work much faster and efficient.  

The bottom line: in the travel and hospitality industries, details are constantly updating and changing from one season to the next, and audiences rely on those details to fully enjoy the service they have purchased.  Localization is a reliable way to ensure all of your materials remain consistent and within branding guidelines, while adjusting to the customers’ language and culture. 

The relationship between localization and the digital world 

Localization is, for travel and hospitality related companies, a solution to help engage and communicate with their international audiences. Experts in this field can localize all types of material, from website content, flyers, travel videos, audio files and guidebooks to itineraries. But there is one more area where localization is important for the travel industry: digital and online platforms. 

As more and more tourists and travelers decide to buy their flights and book their hotels online, the travel sector has had to stay updated on the latest trends in online practices. From graphic user interfaces (GUI) to the use of keywords for search engine optimization (SEO), localization can help pave the way to success on a global scale.  

In the case of GUI, localization can help create a smooth customer experience, even in the simplest interactions with your platforms or apps. Imagine a button that, when pushed, would lead readers to the bottom of a page. When adapting your website or apps to new international audiences, you will need to localize the format of such interaction tools, to ensure their shape and size are appropriate for the text it will bear in the target language. A good example of this could be the touchscreen monitor on an airplane, where each passenger can select the language they wish to view the information in. If the buttons on that screen are not adjusted in size to the length of the commands in each target language, the experience could turn out to be quite unprofessional and disruptive for the passenger. This is also the role of localization. 

Also, SEO content has become key for any company wishing to expand to new markets. In the case of companies in the process of going global or improving their global communication, SEO localization can bring more traffic to your websites because it will link your content to the relevant keywords in the target locale. This will also improve your company’s understanding of your audience’s culture, which will in turn lead to a more positive feedback loop from your customers.