When people travel for leisure, they want more than the basic services of relatively hassle-free transportation and acceptable accommodations. They are looking for peak experiences, personalization to suit their tastes, and exceptional service.
In other words, they are seeking connections to brands that can delivery them.
I’ve lately reported quite a bit from Skift, simply because they have a keen awareness of what’s really working in travel marketing trends. They’ve produced a magazine that outlines several mega-trends for 2015. One of them is having travel companies brand themselves as “lifestyle connoisseurs,” or ones that can give their customers exactly what they want on a holiday.
While this sounds like a lofty term, it has now become the expectation of a target market with travel dollars to spend. This is especially true with millennials and younger travelers, who aren’t willing to settle for the cookie-cutter tour experience of yesterday. You aren’t likely to see them be herded onto a bus, then shepherded around the Louvre, much like their grandparents – or more likely, great-grandparents – have.
Instead, they’ll look to your adventure travel brand and see if what you offer can be customized to their ideal vacation experience.
You can do this with creating high quality verbal and visual content channeled through social media, influencer relationships and events. As the author Samantha Shankman writes, the more specific you can get with your positioning and message, the more engagement, conversion and customer loyalty you can generate.
If you can also create a structure for premium pricing, that can also bring in customers willing to pay it. While that might seem counterintuitive, you will actually find that customer loyalty will increase when you can offer something that really connects with your prospect. It will also bring in more sales revenue for your company. One Seattle travel marketer, Devin Liddell, posited that customers “will pay more for a brand that believes in something.”
What if you’re not a luxury adventure travel provider? You can still take lessons from these companies. Think about what you stand for and the message you want to convey. Here are some questions to get you thinking
- Do you provide thrilling, heart-stopping, adrenaline rush experiences, or something more tranquil?
- Do you mostly book luxury accommodations or something more budget friendly but comfortable?
- Do you have tours that support customers every step of the way, or do you have self-guided itineraries?
- Does your website design match up with the message you want to convey? Are you going for luxury adventure travelers, or budget-minded ones?
- Have you checked out your social media, email marketing strategies, and other advertising to be sure your presence conveys your positioning?
The point here is to start thinking of your company as more than a travel provider, and more as a lifestyle leader, or connoisseur. Those companies that can perceive themselves in this light will have a definite advantage over those who are merely selling vacations.
What are some ways that you can shift your thinking and become a lifestyle connoisseur? Share your thoughts below!