EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR TRAVEL MARKETING

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1 EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR TRAVEL MARKETING

2 MARKETING IN THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY If you are a travel marketer, you are always looking for better ways to reach your customers in a unique and effective way. WhatCounts is here to help! The purpose of this ebook is to provide tips and best practices to help you improve your and other digital marketing practices. When you have finished this journey, you will know how to apply lifecycle marketing principles to travel and tourism marketing. Pack your marketing bags! You ve just booked a trip with WhatCounts for a tour of the best travel marketing how-tos. Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

3 CONTEXT THE SEARCH ENGINES HAVE WON Google is doing its best to monetize the travel industry. Would you go to a specific CVB or destination website to get information for a vacation, or would you simply type a query into the search engine bar to find out basic information about a destination? It is more important than ever for marketers to have engaging, updated content in their s. This is because people want authentic information upon which they can rely. DID YOU KNOW More than 25 percent of destination website traffic is coming from a mobile device today. 62 percent of mobile device traffic comes directly from mobile search, and 90 percent of that mobile searching is done via Google. Source: Travel 2.0 Consulting Group/ The Mark Report (www.travel2dot0.com) WHAT SHOULD MARKETERS DO? First, marketers should engage subscribers in all phases of the travel cycle, including pre-trip, during the trip and post-trip. Next, marketers should identify the audience with whom they are engaging and what message they are sending to that audience. For example, is there a clear message of what you want that audience to do when they have received your message? Travel marketing is all about communication with the right person, at the right time, with the right message. As a result of travel marketing, your goal is to get people to use your company s services or buy your company s products before, during or after their travels. It is important to make it easy and attractive for people to find your company, as well as to receive and act on your messages. Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

4 THE ONE QUESTION EVERYONE ASKS WHAT S IN IT FOR ME? People want to know what benefits they will receive from your marketing proposition. For example, picture your marketing as a gift bag. If your customer opens that gift bag, and there is nothing inside, he or she will be turned off and turned away from your company. This attitude applies to every stage of the travel process: The idea, when someone considers going on a trip. The plan, when someone figures out where he or she is going on a trip. Time spent on the trip. The aftermath, or return from the trip. The return and your potential reactivation of the customer. HOW NOT TO ANSWER THE QUESTION Descriptive approach, which is telling rather than showing: This is what the product is. The descriptive approach focuses on quantitative features of a product or service. For example, this phone has this screen size and can hold this much memory. HOW TO ANSWER THE QUESTION Aspirational approach, which is showing what the product or service can do: This is what you can do at this destination or with this product. The aspirational approach focuses on what the person will experience when they use a product or service. For example, this phone is going to make you feel in control and important. Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

5 THE FIVE PHASES OF TRAVEL MARKETING THE IDEA When someone starts to think about taking a trip, everywhere in the world is a possibility. People make decisions based on what they want to do and what is available at different places. At this stage, your information needs to be prominent and easy to find. You should do this by having strong SEO content and a presence on social media. Your messaging needs to be present whenever and wherever people are looking for your products or services. SIGN UP Put your signup anywhere that you can. Include it on your homepage, online forms, s and newsletters. Make sure the ask is in the top half of the webpage and stands out. Also include it on your signature - an unexpected, but significant, place to garner a subscriber. Consider including an option to sign up on social media pages, as well. SOCIAL MEDIA Why is social media a great place to post information? Because over 50 percent of people decide where they want to travel by browsing social media sites and 76 percent of them post travel updates and photos on social media. This encourages other people to try the same products and services. Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

6 CYCLICAL TRAVEL MESSAGES Travel is not seasonal as with other ecommerce items. This is because people may travel year round. However, people may have cyclical travel schedules, when they travel to a certain place at the same time every year. BE UP FRONT When you ask for a sign up, state what the subscriber is going to get out of the s he or she will receive. Is it going to be travel tips, updates, deals or perks? BE THERE BEFORE THE SALE Set expectations for your readers about your marketing: Frequency- daily, weekly or monthly Day- the day of the week they will receive these s Time- evening, morning or afternoon Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

7 EXERCISE BEST PRACTICES FROM THE START From address Have a from address that is legitimate and tells readers who you are. Done consistently, good from addresses build trust with subscribers. Subject line Personalize it with travel topics and destinations. Keep it short so it can be easily read and understood. Make sure it is relevant to the content of the . Pre-header Having a text preview makes your stand out in a crowded inbox. Make it a call to action. Make it interesting enough so if images aren t turned on, the subscriber will want to read and see more. GATHER YOUR INTELLIGENCE If marketers don t collect anything else from subscribers, they should at least collect zip codes. Then they can send readers targeted s that have to do with the areas in and near which they live. You can also monitor the search queries people are using to find your company. Use these keywords in your marketing copy to boost your SEO. Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

8 THE PLAN STAY RELEVANT DURING THE PLANNING PROCESS Be awesome. How? DRIP CAMPAIGNS Drip campaigns are a great strategy and possible to set up if you are a WhatCounts client. Please contact your Technical Account Manager for more information. NEWSLETTER SIGN UP Get people to sign up for your newsletters. Travel is not always a single-visit purchase, and you can offer subscribers tips, tricks and insider information that will keep them coming back to you for more. HOLIDAY CAMPAIGNS Employ holiday campaigns, and not just for the standard holidays. For example, you could plan a campaign for people to travel to Louisiana and purchase something on the day the Louisiana Purchase was signed. On the right is a holiday that Alaska Airlines sent out to its subscribers (design by Shaw + Scott): Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

9 SEGMENTATION Don t forget about segmentation. Target people s interests when they sign up, including psychographic information and specific types of travel in which they are interested. Now you can send more targeted s and drive engagement. PRE-TRIP INFORMATION If you know a customer s travel dates, then send pre-trip s reminding him or her to locate his or her passport. Send packing lists and create lists of things to do and see while travelers are at their destinations. STAY IN TOUCH When the trip is over, you can send customers s asking for reviews of where they visited, the hotel they stayed in and the restaurants they visited. You can also ask them to connect with your company on social media and share stories and photos of their trips. Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

10 THE TRIP YOUR WORK ISN T OVER When the traveler leaves for his or her trip, your job is far from over. Since travelers are using their mobile phones more and more, you can send them text messages for special offers or deals at their destinations. Connecting with them via social media to see how the trip is going is also a good idea. Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

11 THE AFTERMATH THE CHAPTER IS OVER, BUT THE STORY DOESN T END After the trip is over, build loyalty so customers keep coming back to you. If you have discounts or specials of your own, offer another company s deals to subscribers, monetizing your s by selling ad space. You can also join affiliate programs to offer complimentary products and services. MAINTAIN GOOD LIST PRACTICES How do search engines rate inbox placement? By the engagement those s receive. To do this, marketers must properly segment their lists. Building segmentations is possible in the WhatCounts platform: Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

12 CONSTANTLY TEST If you aren t testing your s, you are not doing marketing well. Different aspects of the same need to be changed once in a while in order for those s to stand out to readers. This is what testing is for, and it is easy to do in the WhatCounts platform. Testing gives you specific direction about where you need to go with your marketing. Make sure you give subscribers the option to update their preferences: how, when and what kind of s they want to receive. Also, make it easy for readers to opt out of receiving communications from you. Below is a sample of the A/B testing that is available through the WhatCounts platform: Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

13 PREFERENCES Make sure you give subscribers the option to update their preferences: how, when and what kind of s they want to receive. Also, make it easy for readers to opt out of receiving communications from you. DON T FORGET: WHAT S IN IT FOR ME? A subscriber s inbox is crowded, so remind them why he or she signed up for your s. Travel is cyclical; create messaging that speaks to the possibility that a subscriber may not be traveling for another year. Have someone who s been disengaged for a while? Offer them a discount or deal. Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

14 THE RETURN If you ve done your job right, you ve inspired people with the idea of travel. At its core, travel is aspirational, so you want people to come back from their travels with the idea of wanting to do more and see more of the world. At this point in your messaging, emphasize how much more there is for your customers to do and see. KEY TAKEAWAYS has a place in every phase of travel marketing. Be everywhere. Gather as much information as you can: The more personalized your s are, the more effective your marketing will be. Never stop testing. Now is the perfect time to , especially for travel marketers! LEARN MORE Want to learn even more about effective strategies for travel marketing? Watch the free webinar! Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

15 WHATCOUNTS 2013 DIGITAL MARKETING SUMMIT WHAT? The WhatCounts 2013 Digital Marketing Summit is two days of and digital marketing strategies, best practices, trends, education, advanced platform training and face-to-face time with WhatCounts team members. WHEN? April 24th and 25th WHERE? The Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center Atlanta, Georgia Sign up now! Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

16 ABOUT US WhatCounts provides data management, software, and services to marketing professionals seeking to deliver smart personalized digital messages to their target audiences. Each day our team partners with over 800 customers to leverage , social media, mobile devices, and the web to drive revenue. We believe that smart marketing equals personalization which requires marketers to have the right data, a content strategy and automation. Using smart technology, some of our customers are seeing marketing ROI as high as $200 returned for every $1 invested. We re headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with offices in Seattle, Sydney, Baltimore, and other regional locations. Learn more at WHATCOUNTS, Inc Peachtree Rd. Telephone: Suite 900 Toll Free: Atlanta, GA Fax: ATLANTA BALTIMORE CHICAGO SEATTLE SYDNEY WASHINGTON DC Copyright 2013 WhatCounts, Inc Peachtree Rd. Toll Free:

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