Travel marketing , also known as tourism marketing , is the business discipline aimed at attracting visitors to a specific location. Hotels, cities of art, nations, tourist attractions, conventions and events are destinations that can often be associated with this type of strategic marketing , which aims to implement specific techniques to increase the number of visits.
How does travel marketing succeed ?
There are basically three different phases which, from the moment of planning the initial strategy, allow the development of a marketing plan capable not only of identifying the right users, but also of winning them over and retaining them.
The three phases are: acquisition, activation, retention.
The management of these three phases in the creation of a successful tourism marketing strategy is a topic touched on recently, during the last event of the Marketest Club Tourism Edition . A significant detail that immediately emerged concerns the difficulty of leading the potential customer through an online customer journey compared to traditional channels.
The web, as is now evident, is the breeding ground of a real explosion of information from which users are constantly bombarded . Many of this information is useless, redundant, even annoying, and in any case even through the correct filter, the data to be processed for the user remains a lot. Even the web is now congested and therefore the space for positioning a brand or a product is becoming increasingly scarce. In essence, the marketing models that have so far been successful and proven effective may no longer be sufficient, or even completely wrong .
In particular, the world of tourism and travel has a particularly heterogeneous audience which, of course, needs a marketing strategy split across different audiences , diversified and attentive to target differences.
Brand awareness alone , in the world of travel and tourism, is now a concept to be considered outdated in the implementation of a digital strategy. The sales funnel is complex : it starts with the search for an airplane flight and ends with the management of the movements to the destination. So how to win over customers capable of completing the entire cycle of a journey? By developing a strong concept for the three phases of the sales funnel: acquisition, activation, retention .
- Acquisition: the example of success is represented by Emirates, which for this phase is betting everything on the highest quality of its luxury flights. Another winning strategy was that of Skyscanner, which initially limped in this phase of the funnel, achieved the desired results by creating a partnership with another very strong brand, Cornetto Algida, and offering users the chance to win a trip.
- Activation: engagement alone is not enough, if it is not accompanied by the right dose of emotion and curiosity. The emotional experience thus becomes a winning concept on which to focus in order to convince users attracted to the acquisition phase to move on to the activation step. Again, Emirates has devised a winning strategy made of striking photos of breathtaking skies. Booking.com promised a 360-degree experience, while SkyScanner focused on seasonal and relevant content, conveyed on both paid and unpaid levels.
- Retention: here we are at the last stage of the funnel. What’s the point of convincing a prospect to make a single purchase if there will never be a second one? Loyalty is what makes a marketing strategy truly successful, much more than impulse buying that the newly won customer will never follow up on. Obviously, retargeting is still widely used, both via Google AdWords and on social networks (and on the latter it should always be remembered that these are not channels designed for relevance, which is why conversions are on average quite low), but in this case the analysis of the data obtained so far can prove to be a winning strategy to better optimize the strategies and hit the target adequately.