Find industry insights and updates relevant to your business needs.
As the 38th Annual National Travel and Tourism Week draws to a close and New York State’s COVID-induced restrictions loosen, it seems to be the perfect time to celebrate the renewed excitement in travel. Not only are consumers rejoicing, but organizations that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
For many travel and tourism businesses – 83% of which are small business – rebuilding is a tall task. In 2020, it’s estimated that 5.6 million travel-supported jobs were lost across the country. Not only are businesses working to regain their workforce, but they are looking to connect with future visitors and reconnect with past visitors.
This past week, organizations across the country have rallied around rebuilding the industry and sharing the value of travel and tourism. On a national level, the U.S. Travel Association provided a comprehensive toolkit to assist businesses in sharing facets of the industry and to engage consumers. On a more local level, the New York State Tourism Industry Association launched the “Roam the Empire” campaign to encourage New Yorkers to vacation in New York State to help reemploy over 300,000 New Yorkers who lost tourism-related jobs in the pandemic, help revitalize local businesses and communities and help fund New York’s economic recovery.
These community outreach programs highlight the importance of connecting with consumers as they begin to plan for the future. As we enter a post-pandemic world, consumers want to make and share memories once again. As such, it is crucial for travel brands to be top-of-mind. Ideally, businesses should be present on multiple channels and produce content that aligns with each stage of the customer journey, from awareness through consideration and, finally, decision.
Below, we’ve highlighted a few resources, channels and opportunities to market your travel brand in the most efficient way possible to earn back the business that was lost in 2020.
Content marketing has quickly become the premiere marketing method for businesses, especially those within the travel realm. Not only can businesses share scenic photography or videos capturing elements of a property, content marketing allows for organizations to share a compelling narrative.
Does your business have a unique origin story? Consumers want to hear about it! Creating captivating and inspiring content grabs the attention of consumers and in turn, gains your organization more business. For consumers looking to get away for perhaps the first time in more than a year, giving them a reason (or reasons!) to visit your business or destination helps to seal the deal.
So how do you create content?
We can help with that! Hearst StoryStudio offers turn-key content marketing solutions for brands big and small. StoryStudio not only creates the content, but distributes and promotes it – optimizing as needed.
Is your budget tighter than usual?
There are a handful of tools out there that are cost-efficient, easy to use and capable of generating eye-catching images, videos and interactive content. Canva and Pixlr are two such options to create original content and edit existing content, respectively. These tools can be used in conjunction with any larger content marketing strategy. Quickly crop and share images, create a video from static images, create a helpful infographic for visitors from a longer written piece of content and so much more!
Through display advertising, you can ensure that your campaign is on (yup, we’re going to say it again) display to consumers in your local area.
Typically, display ads are banner ads (graphics and text) that appear on websites and social media platforms. Display advertising allows you to reach your target audience efficiently and cost-effectively. Plus, with our data-driven approach to finding your ideal consumer through our four main targeting solutions (geotargeting, contextual targeting, retargeting, behavioral targeting), we can help you get the most out of every ad impression by selecting the audience with the highest likelihood to respond to your advertising. By employing engaging creative to emphasize your travel brand’s exclusive opportunities, rates, packages, etc., and appearing adjacent to relevant content, display advertising can assist in generating new business.
We thoroughly understand this marketing avenue through our meticulous collection of first-party data and our creation of content that features our local communities. This is one of the reasons why the Times Union has recently expanded its presence within the Hudson Valley through TimesUnion.com/HudsonValley.
In addition to bringing to light the regional news, events and trends shaping life in the Hudson Valley, we bring scale, scope and voice to the uniqueness of the Region. On this platform, there are a multitude of opportunities for travel brands to engage with locals, visitors and new transplants to this expansive region of New York States. The launch of our Epic Summer Escapes program is one such way to grow your business and reach.
Through the Times Union’s Epic Summer Escapes program, consumers who find themselves in the region for a moment, a weekend, a season or a lifetime will have what they want and need to experience the adventure and inspiration of local events, entertainment and travel throughout the area.
Epic Summer Escapes is a special 10-part summer travel series that will celebrate the best in regional escapes for every type of traveler. Content will be featured across Times Union.com and TimesUnion.com/HudsonValley, through weekly social promotion on Facebook and Instagram, via a weekly newsletter to drive readers, and through a special print edition to create a rich, cross-channel presence for advertisers.
While there are many facets of print advertising, specialty publications tap into the interests of specific audiences and demographics.
Neilson Scarborough data suggests that travel enthusiasts are engaging with print travel publications to find travel inspiration. Providing valuable and interesting content via tangible, eye-catching marketing collateral is a fantastic opportunity. The Times Union has launched the Upstate Traveler program for travel brands to get in front of a local audience interested in travel and tourism.
Upstate Traveler will be a hopeful, fun, glossy publication – forward-looking and photo-filled –on regional travel in all four directions from the heart of the Capital Region (north to the Adirondacks, south to the Hudson Valley and Catskills, east to the Berkshires and Vermont, west toward Cooperstown and the Finger Lakes).
The publication will contain travel tips, weekend getaways and one-day destinations, humorous pieces and a guide to special, unique locales, keeping a post-COVID eye on what will be open or closed this summer.
Available for a limited amount of time, the Times Union Media Group will be offering a special matching grant for all advertising spending for NYSTIA members. This exclusive opportunity will help your organization showcase itself as a high-value destination for travelers and share new opportunities for enjoyment to current travelers.
Upstate Traveler will both give your organization mass reach and connect you with your targeted audience online. Plus, with a matching grant valid through October 31, 2021, connecting with your desired audience, at scale, will become less burdensome.
Targeting consumers in the right place at the right time in their purchasing process is challenging for many travel, tourism and entertainment organizations, especially as consumers now use a variety of channels and devices to research locations and plan their agendas. As we find ourselves in an “experience economy,” it is now more important than ever to break through the noise and provide customers with the opportunity to engage with your brand. Developing a comprehensive branding program to drive results with a suite of traditional and digital solutions is key to reach consumers in unique, novel, and authentic ways.
The Times Union Media Group serves to provide its partners within the travel, tourism and entertainment realms constant access to specialized programs and product roll-outs to create a bespoke advertising experience. We pride ourselves in the ability to strategize and create the best custom targeting campaign for our partners for their continued success.
For more information on advertising positions and opportunities, please contact the Times Union Media Group.