Travel and Leisure
Travel and leisure brands can’t just sell a holiday, a hotel or a destination anymore. It’s become more about selling an experience – one that’s personalised, unforgettable and instagrammable.
But in an industry that’s constantly evolving and ultra-competitive, plus easily disrupted by new trends, advances in technology, and political and economic uncertainty, it can be a huge challenge for travel and tourism brands and marketers to stay ahead of the competition.
You need to market the experience your brand provides and use it as the key differentiator that will attract the right customers to your hotels, experiences, transfers and attractions, tapping into the “micro-moments” they’re experiencing on their research and purchase journey.
Having an eye on search trends and consumer behaviour will help you identify when these travel micro-moments are likely to occur and mean you’re present at the right time with the right message on the right channel.
One channel – mobile – has fractured the once linear decision-making process for customers though, with one third of all travel sales now happening on a mobile device. So travel marketers need to keep up with the more fluid purchase journey and take the opportunity to interact with customers on mobile.
There’s also the rise of the Online Travel Agencies to contend with. Competing on price has become incredibly difficult and as OTAs plough massive budgets into dominating paid and organic search results it makes it even harder to get seen.
Where you can compete though is in building relationships with your prospect and current customers over time, telling your unique story and helping potential travellers feel like they’re already there.
And you can also go toe-to-toe with competitors big and small once travellers are already near you, making sure that yours is the place where everyone wants to be.
So how can you make sure your travel marketing strategy is going to take you where you need to go?
How can you grow your travel and leisure brand?
Using offline data – Consumers don’t just interact with travel and leisure brands online. Bookings might be carried out over the phone by an agent or decisions made based on word of mouth. Offline activity is still crucial and can be used to better understand customer behaviour. How can you use offline data to feed your online activity and tailor the experience you provide?
Long buying cycle – You need to recognise the value of leads and the length of time it takes to convert them. Do you know how to create the brand awareness needed to attract new customers and build their trust in your brand on and offline?
Scarcity of product – Availability can be limited in the travel and leisure sector, so marketing campaigns need to be updated quickly for availability. Can your brand be reactive to changes and prioritise campaigns which focus on inventory rather than profitability?
Internationalisation – Scaling activity for multiple countries can be time-consuming and complex. Do you have the specific expertise and resources needed to manage marketing at scale for your travel brand?
Seasonality/trends – It’s vital to know when the peaks in search volumes are for your brand – as well as how and when to react to any changes. Does your travel brand have the time and experience to follow these trends and maximise them?
Complexity of the offer – As a cultural experience or hospitality brand it can be difficult to communicate complex offers and demand attention. Can you speak to your audience and show offers in an engaging and creative way?
Voice and Local search – With the rise of voice search across platforms, you need to know how to optimise your Google presence. How will your business achieve a top result in a voice search for location?