3 Localization Must-Knows for Travel Companies

Lucy Xu
October 2, 2018
5 min read

With global tourism on the rise and localization being one of the most effective ways to adapt your content for international audiences, it’s important that travel know the best practices for effective localization. In our #TravelLocalization series, we break down everything you need to know to take your travel company global and reach your global audiences.

In our previous post — Why Travel & Hospitality Companies Must Localize Their Content — we explored key travel industry trends and how travel-related businesses can leverage this data to drive their localization efforts. In this next post, we break down the three fundamentals of localization that travel companies must take into account.

Whether you are a small or large travel enterprise, and regardless of what stage of the localization process you are in, read on to get up to speed on the fundamentals of travel localization.

1. Translation vs. Localization

First and foremost, it’s important to understand the definitions and to clearly know what differentiates localization from translation. Just because some pages or websites may be translated, does not necessarily mean that they have taken the extra step to be localized as well. The goal of localization is to give a product the look and feel of having been tailored for the target market and eliminate local sensitivities.

Translation is the process of rendering text from one language into another so that the meaning is equivalent. Localization (L10n) is the process of addressing cultural, linguistic, textual (and non-textual) components of a product or content and adapting them to a specific locale or market. In the examples below, observe the subtle but vital nuances of translation vs. localization:

Translation (from English to Italian)

English: What is your name?
Italian: Come ti chiami?
(Literally: How are you called)


Localization (from US English to UK English)

Sweater (American English)
Jumper (UK English)
Color (American English)
Colour (UK English)

2. The Importance of Locale

Another term you’ll hear frequently in the localization space is locale. A locale is a combination of a language and the place where it is spoken. “Localize” means to adapt the product to the locale of your target market; it includes both the translation and the differences in culture, format, and usage.

Locale is important because some languages are spoken in several different regions – such as Portuguese (Brazil) (pt_BR) and Portuguese (Portugal) (pt_PT). Take the sweater example, both countries speak English but there are slight differences between British English and American English. What does this all mean? This means that in order to reach your target audience effectively in each region, you must know which locale (language and country) you’re targeting.

3. SEO is Based on Location

While the first step to reaching and engaging your global consumers, the next step is making sure that your localized content is optimized for international SEO. A big mistake that companies make when mapping out their localization strategy is overlooking key steps like setting up a proper international URL structure and optimizing for international SEO. Beyond the localized content, you must also take into account the keywords of each respective market. If you’re ready to dive into the nitty gritty of international SEO for your localized sites, check out these 3 Ways to Optimize for International SEO.

Digitally Expand the International Presence of Your Travel Business

The bottom line: Companies at the heart of the travel industry – airlines, hotels, online booking and review sites – are required to become more global. It is because of this go-global mentality and growth, that localization of content (websites, apps, marketing messages, emails, etc.) will become a more critical part of growth and should be a pillar of a strong business.

Looking for some more actionable steps for taking your travel website global? Check out our #TravelLocalization series, built to equip everyone in your localization process – from developers to localization managers – with the knowledge and resources necessary for achieving translation and localization success. Explore the full series to learn everything you need to know for translation success:

Get The Complete Guide to Travel Localization

In today’s global world with rising rates of tourism and increased wanderlust amongst the generations with the highest purchasing power, it’s important to understand how to connect with your travel audiences across the world. Whether your travel, tourism, review or hospitality company does business overseas or strictly within your own borders, you can set yourself apart from competitors with effective localization.  In our latest Travel & Hospitality Localization Guide, learn all the fundamentals of travel localization – from how to invest in it and critical elements to be aware of when marketing to multilingual audience, to how your travel company can effectively localize across websites, mobile apps, and other digital content.

Download the complete Travel & Hospitality Localization Guide today to learn how to take your travel-related company global.

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Lucy Xu
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