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Things are certainly looking up weather-wise in Upstate New York! The sun is shining more frequently, the birds are chirping and the days are getting longer. And, as COVID-19 case numbers decrease and travel restrictions are slowly lifted, we know that people are itching to get out and about. With pent up cabin fever, many locals are getting to work planning a trip – either a simple trip close to home or one a bit more lavish.
Pre-COVID-19, Capital Region residents were true travel aficionados. In 2019, over 422,000 Albany residents took at least one round trip domestic flight for a vacation – almost half of our total area population! However, consumers currently remain cautious in their planning.
In order to both reassure consumers of safety precautions being taken and the *fun fun fun* opportunities to be had, travel destinations can get a jumpstart on summer tourism by communicating frequently and openly. As the state of travel and the industry as a whole evolves, the way in which consumers interact with destinations and organizations within the space evolves as well. However, if there’s a will, there’s a way – and we certainly have multiple tips on reaching travel-ready consumers.
We’ve highlighted 3 engaging marketing avenues below to put your organization’s best foot forward for the upcoming travel boom.
In a visually oriented communication world, social media platforms lead the charge in “showing” brand stories and relaying value rather than “telling.” Over the course of the past few years, there has seemed to be endless changes and updates made to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Plus, add in the new kids on the social media block (i.e. TikTok and Clubhouse) and the idea of creating a social media marketing strategy becomes increasingly daunting for an organization.
However, for a travel brand, a picture truly does speak a thousand words and social media is a necessity when it comes to sharing such images with new and existing customers, clients or guests. According to Statista, 36.5% of people use social media for travel inspiration, while 60% share photos on social media while traveling. What’s more? Over 1 million travel-related hashtags are searched for on social media platforms every week. Can anyone say #FOMO?
In the Albany DMA alone, more than 533,000 residents use social media apps or websites for at least 1 hour every day, and many use the social media resources available to them for more than 5 hours per day. Social media is a fantastic opportunity to not only promote an organization, but also to foster community engagement.
Oftentimes, the most engaging content on social media is the least sales-focused. While people want to know specifics on travel packages or logistics, visually appealing content shared on social platforms (especially videos!) are proven to increase audience engagement, purchase intent and brand association.
According to a study conducted by MarketingSherpa, roughly 72% of US adults prefer companies to communicate with them via email. This number is a direct reflection of the sheer volume of current email users worldwide – 3.9 billion! In addition, email’s predicted user growth rate for the next four years is 3% (about 100M new users each year).
Reaching people via email is critical as today’s consumers are always on the go and constantly connected with their digital devices (mobile, tablet, laptop, etc.). Email marketing is a cost effective, highly targeted, measurable advertising medium to reach ideal audiences locally, nationally or globally.
We would also like to note here that as is the case with social media posts, email marketing does not and should not be overly text-heavy. Yes, you do want to inform prospective clients about your business as a whole or specific organizational happenings. But with that being said – loosen up a little bit and have some fun with your email content! Perhaps include content that promotes some interaction like a poll or a survey. Or, did you spend the last few months remodeling? Show it off in the form of a video embedded in the body of the email. People loooove before and after shots. Storytelling through imagery is a powerful marketing tool.
And last, but not least, email newsletters still have an important seat at the marketing table. They offer a point of connection with consumers that is educational and helpful in nature rather than purely sales-focused. While they require some creativity to do well, newsletters foster brand value and brand validity through content that is genuinely useful to your target audience.
Content reigns king in the world of marketing and working to produce and distribute content that is of high-quality builds trust and establishes value in a brand. However, while the task of writing a blog or an article here and there is relatively straight forward, creating a content strategy that is robust is a long-term marketing play. When done correctly though, it will pay dividends through the traffic it will drive to your website and through the 360 degree view of the various facets of your organization.
So what exactly “counts” as content? According to the Content Marketing Institute, content can be anything that generates interest in a brand. This includes infographics, print advertisements, videos and much more. If your organization can devise a way to grab the attention of consumes through captivating content, you are ahead of curve. Content is the new creative and it is rapidly becoming the premiere marketing tool for businesses.
Already have content created? Great! Now it’s time to distribute it. While your website likely is the official home of your content, sharing it on social sites, web publishing platforms (like Outbrain and Taboola), local media sites (like timesunion.com), those handy dandy marketing emails and other platforms is key.
Within any marketing campaign for a travel brand, sharing unique insights or stories is an excellent way to resonate with a target audience and plant a seed within a group that has an affinity for travel. How those insights are shared, when they are shared and the platform on which they are shared is up to your organization. However, as travelers seek new opportunities in the coming weeks and months, now is the perfect time to work on taking stock of the assets and resources you currently possess and leveraging them or expanding upon them to promote your brand.
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!