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Hidden Gems | Promoting Your Travel Brand

As the Capital Region of NYS enters Phase 3 today, industries that were especially hard-hit, such as restaurants, can begin returning to a form of normalcy. This is not only great for businesses and the local economy, but it also gives way to some good old-fashioned socialization and FUN.

Speaking of fun, consumer’s summer travel itineraries have most likely significantly changed course. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought travel (domestic and international alike) to a near standstill since March of this year. However, as the days get longer and the sun gets stronger, consumers are itching to find an alternative summer vacation destination and travel method.

According to a new study by The Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), 53% of consumers plan to get away on a summer vacation. Of those individuals, 62% plan on traveling by car (can someone say, “road trip!”) This is a 72% increase from last year. These metrics lead us to believe that people will be searching in their backyard (or extended backyard, as 46% of consumers would be willing to drive more than 5 hours rather than fly) for a vacation destination.

So, how are people finding alternative travel ideas and what will travel actually look like in our new normal? The answers may be more old-fashioned than you would think!


Oh, the Places You’ll Go


With urban areas being hotbeds of COVID-19 cases, residents in such regions are looking to escape to less-populated locales. However, while Capital Region cities may see an influx of NYC residents, or comparable city-folk, other regions of the state may see an influx of Capital Region residents.

For example, there are individuals who have never been to the Finger Lakes region of New York, who have never experienced a wine tour and have never visited some of the area’s iconic farmers’ markets. For many, such a trip would be within the 5-hour car ride window, making it an enticing weekend getaway. Likewise, there are Albany residents who have never gone hiking in the Adirondacks or have never laid eyes upon Lake George. This hypothetical trip would be well within the 5-hour road trip window, making it a great day outing.

Consumers, Convention/Visitor Bureaus and local businesses want to support their local neighborhoods and peers. As such, many have been cross-promoting offerings and working together to attract more visitors. While this is one method of marketing local hidden gems, there are additional approaches that can be and should be taken. The ball is really in the attraction or destination’s court when it comes to earning consumers’ business. Here’s how to reach some of your ideal targets:


How are people finding their next vacation or staycation?


Albany residents are travel aficionados. Last year, over 422,000 Albany residents took at least 1 round trip domestic flight for a vacation. However, in light of the current state of affairs, this year’s number is bound to decrease substantially. Assuming 62% of these individuals will now be traveling round trip by car (referencing the above national survey results), roughly 260,000 Albany residents will now be driving to their summer vacation destination… and they’re most likely going to need a different one!

Neilson Scarborough data suggests that these individuals are engaging with print travel publications to find travel inspiration. Ignoring your local audience can result in a loss of potential profits and losing out on a powerful, untapped marketing opportunity. As such, we highly suggest getting your marketing affairs in order to promote your sweet escape. Here’s a few print marketing channels to choose from to connect with local consumers.


Print Marketing Channels


The Times Union Newspaper – Print/Online/E-edition


For over 160 years, the Times Union has been the voice of the Capital Region as the dominant media source in the Capital Region.

Our publications provide readers news and information important in their lives, while giving advertisers the opportunity to connect with spend-ready local consumers. For example, more than 130,000 Capital Region/Albany DMA residents view the Travel Section of the newspaper (print or online) weekly. That’s 130,000 people with an interest in travel who are viewing your destination and considering taking the drive to experience it.


Special Initiatives/Specialty Publication


Our specialty publications tap into the interests of our audiences, with titles such as Women@Work, Savings Source, Vow, 75 Essential Restaurants and Holidays. Through these printed publications, we provide valuable and interesting content to highly sought after demographics.

We are thrilled to be publishing the Second Edition of “RENEW 2020,” a special print and digital publication focused on personal growth on July 19. As we navigate the “New Normal,” the publication will focus on evolutions within various industries, specifically highlighting local travel and “hidden gems.”

As we mentioned the Finger Lakes earlier, we want to circle back on this region quickly. Within a special publication, leveraging both the location and activities associated with the location is a great way to showcase the overall “brand” of the region. Sharing unique insights or stories is an excellent way for a destination to resonate with a target audience and plant a seed within a group that has an affinity for travel.




With Local First and LocalValues, our direct marketing solutions can bring your message to every household in the market – or a target selection of your best potential customers. We offer design, print and delivery options suited to every size business and budget, with attractive, high impact AdNotes, single sheets, menus, booklets and more. Our direct-mail program can put custom-designed postcards, self-mailers, and letters into households that businesses are looking to reach.

An image of a glistening body of water and some beautiful scenery would not only be attention grabbing, but another touch point with your target audience! As it takes roughly 6-8 touches to generate a lead, ensuring that you do so in a concise, timely manner is key.

We look forward to being a recourse and providing expert level help to your business as a trusted advertising partner. Get it touch with us today!



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