Last week, we introduced you to a variety of traveling consumers. In Part 2 of this series we’re going to look at how transportation has evolved and how you can go about marketing to the needs of different consumers.
Evolving Transportation Modes
In Part 1, we mentioned that hotels are changing things up to meet new needs and interests, and they aren’t the only ones. Major airlines are starting to get creative, but affordable private flight is on the rise, too. The benefits of the shift in amenities may overcome the urge to avoid certain airfare prices. Cruise liners bridge the difference, combining the innovations for travel with the exploration of luxury and experience. In fact, the industry is expected to hit about 24 million global passengers in 2016, a growth of about two million over the number of passengers in 2014.
How to Market to Traveler Needs
Omni-channel marketing is the name of the game in 2016, and not giving your marketing strategy a place at the game table could cost your business 10% in lost revenue. That means digital marketing is big, as is taking advantage of trip planner sites, and gathering all-important data. It will also be key in differentiating your brand to your customers, especially if you can help them cut through all the noise associated with travel planning.
Some of the things you need to work into your travel marketing include
- Help customers discover travel experiences in new ways to elevate your brand above price-focused considerations
- Integrate the concept that psychological escape and relaxation is just as critical as the physical act of getting away
- Emphasize personalized, local, and authentic experiences
Be sure to encompass all phases of the travel experience when you develop your customer touchpoints.
Travel Agents are Still Important
While 90% of travelers have online touch points in their research stage, that doesn’t mean that real human travel agents are going out of business. Agency groups are reporting a record high in revenues, and that’s no surprise because agents are that much better at building real relationships with customers that lead to truer understanding and thus exponentially better results. Furthermore, there are ways for agents to take advantage of the independent knowledge travelers develop from their own research, as well as the very same tools that corporate trip planner organizations rely on.
Mobile is critical in the modern era. In case you remain dubious about that fact, consider that 51.8% of travelers will book their trips on mobile devices in 2016, up from just below 44% in 2015. That number is projected to continue growing as the number of computer bookings decrease. As a parallel, there’s been a 50% increase in mobile searches for travel categories, not to mention a 49% increase in mobile hotel queries. Plus, 65% of same-day bookings are done from smartphones.
We’ve written about the critical necessity of managing your online reputation. People regard business reviews as a key part of their research for purchases in general, but when it comes to travel it’s just as important as price to make their decision. Just under a third of travelers claim that positive reviews are likely to make them book their trip online, and reviews can enhance sales by up to 18%. This is all without taking other benefits of reviews into account, such as driving traffic to your site using social media.
Print really, absolutely isn’t dead. Even without considering the standard benefits that print options like direct mail offer your brand, you should be taking your cues from major digital players in the travel industry. For instance, Airbnb releases a quarterly magazine — yes, a tangible, printed magazine that goes out via U.S. Mail to at least 18,000 registered readers.
Summertime marketing isn’t just about vacation or destination marketing. There are many reasons for your customers to travel, and they have many decisions to make–from their choice of trip planner to the actual mode of transportation. If you want your summertime marketing for traveling consumers to be successful and boost your bottom line, it’s imperative that you understand the unique needs of your customers and the many ways you can market to them during this time of year.
Start Effectively Targeting the Traveling Consumer Today
Start by reviewing your own market research and consumer data and audit your current seasonal marketing strategy. Be sure to take the time to focus on how you’re currently reaching out to these “moving targets” in your audience, then use this post as a starting point to refine and optimize your strategy.
- What traveler segments should you focus on? What are you doing now to reach them?
- How much have you developed your multi-channel marketing outreach?
- Are the marketing channels you’re using now the most effective ones for your audience?
- Consider the points above. Are there any that will help your marketing be more successful? Gauge which you can implement immediately and which may take more time to develop
- Craft a plan that redirects the relevant parts of your omni-channel marketing by taking your implementation plans into account
You can also take advantage of the marketing tools Valpak has made available to you. Start by downloading our free e-book, Operation Advertise.