By: Hailey Harrison
Is there any market out there that isn’t highly competitive? Probably not. But travel marketing is a particularly noticeable example.
Not only are travel and tourism numbers up, but travel is now more likely to happen on the spur of the moment, based on a good deal or appealing campaign. TrekkSoft’s travel marketing surveys indicate that searches for travel “today” or “tonight” have grown by 150% over the last two years.
So not only is it important to get attention, it’s important to get it now.
Whether it’s promoting national or local tourism, a travel agent or a shuttle company, some basic travel marketing rules hold true.
Let’s take a look at ways to get — and keep — the attention of the audience by following the path of AIDA: Attract, Interest, Desire, Action.
Attract: Construct Memorable Visuals
Is a picture worth a thousand words?
Apparently it is.
- Use visual appeal with campaign images, logos, and website images.
Not only do visuals more immediately grab attention than text, they’re more likely to be remembered than simply reading words.
Research based on eye-tracking internet users suggests that they spend more time viewing relevant images than they do reading accompanying text.
Visual content also includes the content for the company itself, such as logo and website design. All content should be oriented around travel and adventure; create an eye catching travel logo which is memorable, so that even after your client has looked away from the marketing campaign, they’ll remember who was behind it.
Creating a logo isn’t always as easy as it seems, but with the prevalence of free software and low-priced sites like Piktochart.com and Logodesign.net, it’s definitely worth a small investment of time and effort.
And it isn’t just static pictures.
- Use video content.
Video content is booming. In the last two years, as an example, mobile video viewing has increased by ten million minutes per day.
Adding a brief video, no more than one or two minutes long, can really get attention; and with such a short investment, it’s more likely to keep it, as well.
Any aesthetic appeal is going to increase interest in a campaign, especially for tourism. We travel for the views, after all. We travel to see something different. So seeing even just a glimpse of what we have to look forward to whet our appetite.
Interest: Build The Buzz
Effective travel marketing campaigns aren’t just built on traditional methods of advertisement.
Yes, of course, a full page spread in a magazine can give your viewer a gorgeous picture of what they can look forward to if they visit your retreat. But let’s be honest. Who reads magazines anymore?
- Use social media platforms and online venues.
Marketing online, through social media platforms, and other “less traditional” spaces gives your campaign greater visibility, as well as allowing a higher chance of engaging with your viewer — about which, more later.
- Market at the front end, the back end, and everywhere in between.
It isn’t just the initial aspect of searching or booking, either. Statistics indicate that 70% of travelers use their smartphones during all aspects of travel: finding their destination, booking a hotel and flight, deciding where they’re going to eat while they’re there, researching local attractions and activities. So continual virtual marketing is worth the effort.
Desire: Engage the Audience
One of the best ways to nudge your viewers along the pathway to becoming paying customers is to engage their interest and emotion via your marketing campaign.
- Get the audience involved in the campaign.
A good example of this is in Canada’s “Keep Exploring” campaign which asked locals to submit video of their favorite activities and places to visit, and then combined the results into a fast-paced, dynamic, inspiring minute-long video. Engaging locals not only added interest for the audiences from other countries, but re-engaged the interest, pride, and spirit of adventure for the locals themselves, resulting in a boost to tourism.
- Build emotional investment with characters throughout the campaign.
Another way to achieve this same goal of emotional investment by the audience is to create a narrative that uses a “face” or a spokesperson throughout the campaign.
Then again, it doesn’t even have to be a spokesperson. It can be a spokes-lawn ornament. Just take a look at Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome. The company created accounts on Twitter and Facebook, as well as a blog, for their spokes gnome, and post pictures of him in various sites around the world.
Viewers are motivated to keep up with his adventures, interact with him on his social media accounts, and even vote for which vacation destination he should travel to next. One recent campaign featuring the Roaming Gnome generated more than 100,000 engagements on social media.
Action: Add Value
An absolute must for travel and tourism marketing is to make sure that the viewer sees the value of making a decision now. This can be handled in a variety of ways.
- Offer free tips and information with bookings.
Not everyone is a travel pro, and not everyone gives in to the spirit of adventure on a whim. Some hold off simply because they’re not sure what to expect.
Offering to bundle pro tips and information with each booking helps to set the traveler’s mind at ease. They don’t need to worry; you’ve got their back.
- Offer discounts on other bookings or events.
Speaking of bundling, your viewers are more likely to book multiple events within their travel plans all at once, if it’s clear to them how it will benefit them in the long run. That’s evident from most travel sites, such as Orbitz and Expedia, which offer discounts or bundled packages for travelers who book flights, hotels, and cars all at once.
But it can be taken further. Partner with local tourism sites and events to offer discounts on entry fees for popular destinations, such as parks.
With smashing, visually intriguing campaigns, user-engaging content, and clear value, your travel marketing is certain to get the attention you’re looking for. Your clients will not only be more likely to make the decision to travel with you — they’ll be more likely to decide to do it now.
It’s true, travel marketing is a competitive market. But with these tips, you’ve got it in the bag.