Why your travel and leisure marketing should target Baby Boomers and not Gen X or Y.

July 16, 2012

A recent study reveals that Baby Boomers spend a lot more and are willing to try new brands more than previously thought.

Boomers are spending a lot more, but are a little less loyal to brands.

TV Land, a division of Viacom, recently released “Generation BUY: A Closer Look at the Boomer Consumer”. The study found that 40 and 50 somethings are making purchases for 3 generations.

And spending considerably more money than younger generations. Some of their findings:

  • People 40-59 are spending more on themselves each month than Millennials and Gen-Xers.
  • Baby Boomers are spending twice as much on others in their lives than Gen Xers or Millennials.
  • Boomers are less brand loyal than Millennials and Gen-Xers.

The study identified three shopping traits of Baby Boomers:

1. Baby Boomers spend a lot more than younger generations on their families.

  • Boomers spend more than three times as much per month on their spouses ($514 vs. $169) than adults under 40.
  • They spend nearly twice as much on children each month ($295 vs. $158).
  • They spend three times as much on teens ($494 vs. $136).

2. Baby Boomers will not switch brands just because something is new.

  • 91% of people in their 40s and 50s want a new brand to provide more value vs. 83% of Gen-Xers and Millennials.
  • They won’t switch because a brand has more style.
  • They will consider new brands if they are more useful or provide the most value.

3. Baby Boomers are more open to new brands and less brand loyal.

  • 26% say they are not brand loyal at all, vs. 21% of Gen Xers.
  • This willingness to buy new brands carries over to most leisure categories, including electronics, restaurants and automobiles.

If you’re marketing a travel or leisure brand, it’s time to re-examine your media spending and messaging, and make sure you’re investing against this all-important Baby Boomer demo.

You can read more about Baby Boomers in another recent 5 to 9 post: Is your leisure marketing ignoring 40 million Baby Boomers?


10 travel destinations share their Facebook marketing secrets

June 26, 2012

The Grand Junction CVB offered a Facebook coupon for a local vineyard.

10 easy-to-implement suggestions to increase engagement from CVBs and resorts around the country

How do successful travel and destination brands keep their Facebook fans engaged every day?

To find out, we studied the Facebook pages of CVBs and destinations around the country. Here are 10 tips from some of our favorites:

1. Ask fans to name their favorite attraction.

Branson, Missouri got 30 likes and a couple dozen comments after posting this question.

2. Offer your current fans an incentive to help you attract new fans.

Glenwood Springs, CO  gave away free passes to a local attraction and a night in a local hotel if their fans would spread the word and help them pass the 6,000 fan mark.

3. Give them a coupon from a local merchant.

Our client Grand Junction, CO, which positions itself as the epicenter of Colorado Wine Country, offered their Facebook fans this coupon for a local vineyard.

 4. Offer them a gift card to shop at your stores.

During the holiday season, Downtown Boulder, CO offered a $500 gift card good at participating local merchants.

5. Use a TV news-style video to report on upcoming events.

Once a week, Estes Park, Colorado puts out a news-style video with an anchorperson reporting on events for the upcoming weekend.

6. Post a QR code linking to deals at local merchants.

Estes Park recently posted this QR code that links to a local jewelry store’s deals.

7. Post a newspaper or magazine article, and ask for feedback.

VisitDenver recently posted this article from a local magazine, 5280 on Denver neighborhoods, then asked its followers if they agreed with 5280′s characterizations of each neighborhood.

8. Invite your fans to give you ideas for your annual travel guide.

The New York Tourism Board invites their Facebook fans to share their favorite places to stay and shop, and promises to include a few in an upcoming edition of the New York State Travel Guide.

9. Invite locals to post their videos of local scenery and activities.

Our client Wind River Country recently posted this video from a local video production house featuring heart-pumping footage of prime local snowmobile terrain.

10. Offer a giveaway from one of your sponsors.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort got their sponsors Subaru and Marmot to put up the money for this giveaway.

Those are a few examples of what other destinations are doing. Now tell us what’s working for you.


Travel and leisure marketing: The latest research on increasing your Facebook engagement rates

June 20, 2012

Your Facebook fans will “like” you more if you follow a few simple guidelines.

To get more fans to engage with your travel and leisure brand’s Facebook page, answer these 5 questions.

Buddy Media recently did a study of the Facebook engagement rates of 200 of their best clients.  Their findings will help you answer 5 questions most travel and leisure marketers have about this subject:

  1. What are the best times to post?
  2. How long should my posts be?
  3. What days should I post?
  4. What words will drive the most “Likes” and Comments?
  5. What words and phrases drive the highest engagement rates?

1. When should I post?

  • 60% of posts analyzed by the study were published between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Yet brands that posted before or after business hours achieved engagement rates 20% higher than the average.

2. How long should my posts be?

  • The Buddy Media report found that the shorter the post, the more fans read it.
  •  In fact, posts of 80 characters or less had a 27% higher engagement rate. Ironically, they only accounted for 19% of all posts.

3. What’s the best day to post?

  • The Buddy Media study found that the less people want to be at work the more they are on Facebook!
  • For the Travel and Hospitality industry, Buddy Media found that the highest engagement rates occur on Thursday and Friday. On average, they are 18% higher on those days.
  • The lowest engagement rates occurred on weekends and Wednesdays.

4. What are the best words to use to drive “Likes” and Comments?

  • The Media Buddy study found that direct requests work the best.
  • To drive “Likes” or Comments,  just ask directly for them to “like” your page, or comment on your post.
  •  The study found that “Liking” a post or page requires the least amount of effort, and if you tell them to do it they will.
  • Key words that scored the best were simple action words: “Like”, “Take”, “Submit”, “Watch”, “Click”, “Post”, “Become a Fan”, “Share”, “Watch”, “Visit”.

5. What are the best words and phrases to use to drive the highest engagement rates?

  • When running a contest or other promotion, soft sell keywords work better.
  • Use words like “event” and “winning.” Avoid more direct words like “contest” or “promotion.”
  • Ask questions. Posts that end with a question have a 15% higher engagement rate.
  • Questions that start with “Where” ,”When”, “Would” and “Should” have the highest engagement rates. Questions that start with “Why” have the lowest engagement rates.

You can download the complete Buddy Media report here. Then tell us what’s working to drive engagement rates of your travel and leisure brand.


Travel and Leisure: 12 new ways your travel brand could use QR codes

June 18, 2012

San Antonio’s River Walk uses QR codes on a self-guided tour

As specialists in 5 to 9 brands, travel and leisure clients are always asking us for advice on the latest technologies. Today I’m going to address three questions many travel and destination brands are asking about QR codes:

1.  Why should I use QR codes?

QR codes are a great way to connect prospective guests who are offline to information about your brand that is online. Just make sure your site is mobile-friendly, as people scan QR codes with their smart phones.

2. What are some of the ways hotels and destinations are using QR codes?

The key to successfully integrating QR codes into your marketing program is to ensure they offer some kind of value add.  In other words, you have to give guests something they do not yet have.

Mike Supple, Sr. Social Media Manager at Milestone Internet Marketing offers several ways hotels are successfully using QR codes to add value to the guest experience:

  • Guest Reviews: Create a mobile review page and link it to a QR code on the hotel bill to encourage guests to write a review while their memories are still fresh.
  • Restaurant Reservations: Leave a QR code on a sample menu to your restaurant, and link it to your OpenTable or Yelp page so guests can make a reservation.
  • Property Map: If you’re a large resort, display QR codes around the property and link them to a map that shows guests where they are and how to get where they are going.
  • Fun and Games: Create weekly treasure hunts linked by signs with QR codes that lead your guests through the best parts of your property.
  • Promotional Offers: Put QR codes in ads or brochures linking to special discounts only available through that QR code.

Patrick Landman from TNooze  believes guests are getting tired of having deals and offers thrown at them from every direction. Instead, he recommends that you use QR codes to provide a better guest experience. Some of Patrick’s recommendations include:

  • Use QR codes in cards in their rooms, notices on elevators, at the concierge desk and at message boards in the lobby with tips on where to dine or what to do on their stay.
  • Drive guests to a promotional landing page, not just your hotel website.
  • Include a call to action that tells guests exactly what to do. Example: “Scan this code for our latest restaurant, shopping and tourist tips.”

3. What are some interesting ways travel brands are using QR codes?

In a recent blog post, Troy Thompson, from Travel 2.0, cited three interesting ways travel brands are using QR codes:

  • The San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau uses QR technology on its self-guided River Walk tour to deliver additional content like photos, videos and historical information.
  • The Glendale AZ CVB puts a QR code on their door that directs after-hours visitors to their mobile site.
  • To celebrate National Arbor Day, New York’s Central Park  created the World Park campaign using QR codes. The campaign is explained in the video below:

How is your hotel or destination using QR codes to market to your guests? Share your examples with us and we’ll use them in an upcoming post.


Travel and leisure marketing: What can signature events do for your destination travel brand?

June 14, 2012

Buffalo Bill Days attracts thousands of people to Golden, CO every year.

Signature events can be the lifeblood of your destination travel brand, and attract a following that returns year after year.

The Philadelphia International Flower Show (IFS) wrapped up another successful year of operations awhile back.

In case you aren’t familiar with it, this 182-year old institution is the world’s largest indoor flower show and one of the premier horticultural events in the U.S.

The 8-day event attracts tens of thousands of gardeners and horticulturists to the city, uses 25,000 hotel room nights, and generates $61 million revenues and $8 million in city, state and federal tax revenue.

It also has a ripple effect on tourism year round, because these visitors share their experience of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Convention Center with hundreds of thousands of friends and colleagues.

What could your signature event be?

Think first about what is different and special about your brand, and build your brand and your events around that positioning.

Our client the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau is surrounded by some of the region’s finest wineries and vineyards, so it bills itself as Colorado’s Wine Country.

Each spring, the city attracts thousands of visitors from across the Rocky Mountain region to its Spring Barrel Tasting event.

Every fall, the city attracts thousands more to the Colorado Mountain Wine Fest.

We positioned another client, the City of Golden, CO as the home of the two-hour vacation because visitors driving from Denver can enjoy a great mountain escape in just a couple of hours.

Every summer Golden promotes Buffalo Bill Days and 3 other signature events that help reinforce this positioning and attracts tens of thousands of visitors to town.

Need some more ideas on how to use events to reinforce your brand’s position?  Consider these examples:

  • Traverse City, Michigan sponsors the National Cherry Festival every July.
  • Hannibal, Missouri has the National Tom Sawyer Days.
  • Roswell, New Mexico sponsors its annual UFO Festival.

We’d love to hear how you are positioning your leisure brand, and what kinds of signature events and conventions you are creating or attracting.


Travel and leisure marketing: Do your guests need help prioritizing their free time?

June 12, 2012

This book could help you grow your share of market.

The book 168 Hours makes a convincing argument that Americans lack the skills to manage their free time. Could you help them find more time for your travel or leisure brand?

Helping prospective enthusiasts prioritize their free time.

Is your travel and leisure marketing targeted to people who say they are just too busy to add one more activity to their life?

Laura Vanderkam’s fascinating book 168 hours: You Have More Time Than You Think shows you exactly how much free time people really have. And how they can prioritize their lives to get the most out of their free time.

168 Hours shows people that they aren’t short of time.

They just choose not to prioritize their time to fit in all the activities that are important to them.

Laura’s point is simple:  Everyone gets 168 hours a week to fill with whatever they see fit. If you subtract time for eating, sleeping and working, there are still about 50 hours a week left.

And it’s everyone’s job to manage their own time according to their own priorities.

Laura offers her readers 5 ways to get control of their time.

1. Figure out where your time goes.

2.  Determine what you’re good at.

  • If people invest their time in what they’re good at, Laura says they’ll use their time more efficiently, and feel more satisfied.

3.  Choose work that makes you happy.

  • When people like what they do, Laura says they can get into a zone, enjoy themselves and get more done.

4. Cut back on TV.

  • The latest Nielson figures confirm people watch 35 hours of TV a week. But studies show people get more enjoyment out of spending quality time with friends and family.

5. Take control of your calendar

  • Laura suggests people find time to do the things that are important to them by looking through their time diary cutting out time wasted on urgent but unimportant tasks.

If you’re the marketer of a travel or leisure brand, use this book to build your market.

  • Discuss the book with your customers  via your facebook page, discussion boards on your website and other social media tools.
  • Create a contest to encourage your users to track their free time and find ways to spend more of it with your brand.
  • Give away the book to contest winners, along with your products.

What are you doing to help people find the time to enjoy your travel or leisure brand?  Tell us about it.


The world’s best travel brands share their Facebook marketing secrets

June 1, 2012

Jetsetter uses its collection of fabulous photography to attract fans.

Here’s how 5 great travel brands are keeping their Facebook fans engaged.

Wondering how some of the world’s biggest and best travel brands are using Facebook? Here’s are five recent examples:

1. People like to look at beautiful scenery, so Jetsetter uses killer photography.

Jetsetter and other great travel brands are re-purposing irresistible photography of their property’s spas, pools, beaches and local sites to attract and keep fans coming back to see more.

2. W Hotels lets you book your stay right from their Facebook page.

Consumer want travel planning to be easy. So W Hotels lets them book their stay right from their Facebook page.

The booking module is usually located on the main landing page, giving a new twist to the adage that the most effective marketing happens at point of sale.

3.  Terranea Resort refreshes their content often, and makes sure their content refreshes.

To keep your community engaged, it’s important to update your content often.  And mix up the kind of content you put on your Facebook page.
Here’s an example from Terranea Resort of Ranchos Palos Verdes, CA  which reminds people of what a great site it is for weddings by posting videos of weddings.

4.  Everyone loves to be a winner, so Kimpton Hotels gives their fans something to win.

Kimpton offered a free night for a favorite birthday story and photo.

Contests are a great way to keep your community engaged. It could be a free flight, a free night, a discount or free miles. Get fans involved by asking them submit things as part of their entry, like photos, video or feedback. Just make it easy!

For Kimpton’s 30th anniversary, it ran a “Write Here, Right Now” contest where fans could share a favorite memory of a birthday with Kimpton.The top 30 entries won a free night at a Kimpton Hotel

5. Delta believes in sharing news of their most recent improvements.

On Delta’s Facebook page, they share about their new nonstop flights, expanded wi-fi capabilities, and first-class upgrades on regional jets.

Delta shares improvements with Facebook fans.

Those are five examples from great travel brands. Thanks to Lauren Drell from Mashable for her continuing research in this area. Share with us what you’re doing to keep your Facebook community engaged with your travel brand.


The shocking truth about travel and leisure marketing to teenage social media influencers

March 3, 2012

Teenage Influencers like to be shocked.

Teen influencers on social media sites are more likely to read and share content that is shocking or humorous.

If you’re marketing your travel or leisure brand to teens, the Ketchum Global Research Network recently published a study on the holy grail of this target audience:  teen Influencers on social media networks.

The study defines teen influencers as the top 15% most active users of social media networks, and offers useful insights into how to speak to this target.

Teen influencers cruise more, buy more and share more.

  • They spend an average of 2 hours a day on social media sites.
  • From movie tickets to mobile devices teen influencers shop and spend more than their peers.
  • Once they have bought and used a product, almost 9 in 10 teen influencers share information on those products with their friends.
  • 1 in 2 trust the advice of their friends when they’re shopping, compared to only 9% who trust an adult

The more shocked they are, they more they share.

  • The are more likely to share content that shocks them or makes them laugh.
  • They also like to share content that contains gossip about celebrities.

If you’re a  marketer of a travel or leisure brand and you want to reach teens, start by identifying what social media sites teen influencers hang out in, and start talking to them:

  • To get your products into the hands of teen influencers, start by creating content that will surprise or humor teens.
  • Create pages on social networking sites that make it easy for them to share information about your product or service with their friends. And to let them share in a conversation about your brand.
  • Don’t assume that because you think your content is funny or shocking, they will, too.
  • Test your concept with teens and get their reaction before investing your marketing dollars in production.

The study, conducted by the Ketchum Global Research Network, surveyed 10,000 teens ages 13-19 who are members of a leading social media site.



Travel and leisure marketing: How to become a twitter expert in 10 easy lessons.

February 17, 2012

Need some extra schooling? Take these 10 lessons.

Here are 10 articles and videos that will help travel & leisure marketing execs go from twitter novice to twitter pro in no time.

Twitter has become an important marketing tool for many travel & leisure brands.

Some of my favorites, especially destination travel brands, hotels and attractions are using it to improve brand visibility, promote events and yes, even sell products.

But many of you still say you are not quite sure how to get started.

To help you, I’ve collected some of my favorite articles and video on twitter basics from Twitip, the leading online provider of Twitter tips and tricks.

1.  Why should I be on twitter?

You’ve been told that twitter is a great tool. But you can’t remember why. This is everything you’ve been told, all in one place.

2.  How to set up a twitter account

A really good tutorial with lots of screen shots to walk you through the process.

3. 10 easy steps for twitter beginners

This article walks you through the basics of setting up your profile, following people with similar interests, the importance of updating daily, and more.

4. 6 ways to maximize the use of your 140 characters

You only get a limited amount of copy on each tweet. Here’s how to use it more effectively.

5.  How to get more followers on twitter

This is actually a compilation of several articles on the same subject.  Some tried and true techniques that will build your twitter following fast.

6.  10 traits for highly effective twitter users

This article will help you advance past the basics, and start tweeting like the pros do.

7.  8 ways you can use twitter to market your business

This article actually has a different title. But my title is more accurate, as this post explains how to monitor comments, drive traffic, add followers, brand yourself and more.

8. 7 tips for effective marketing on twitter

This is a nice reminder that twitter is a marketing tool that requires you to stop acting like a marketer, and start speaking more personably.

9. How to get a viral buzz on twitter

The author shows you how he created a simple viral marketing effort on twitter. It’s a good tutorial no matter what industry you’re in.

10. 100 Twitter Tips in 15 minutes

After all those entry-level courses, it’s time to graduate to advanced tweeting. Dan Hollings, the author of this video has been called a “twitter master” and this video will show you why.

Those are some of the tools I used to get up to speed on Twitter. What are you using?


Is your travel and leisure marketing built for Millennials?

February 3, 2012

If you want your travel or leisure brand to reach Millennials, study this Pew Research Center report that describes their distinguishing characteristics.

The Pew Research Center released a comprehensive study on Millennials, the roughly 50 million Americans ages 18-29 who have come of age in the new millennium.

The report explored the demographics, priorities, values and social behavior of this generation.

It uncovered these 8 important distinctions that any marketer of a travel or leisure brand should take note of:

  1. Millennials are more ethnically diverse than any other generation. Almost 4 in 10 Millennials classify themselves as a racial or ethnic minority, compared to less than 3 in 10 Baby Boomers.
  2. They are much less likely to be married or have children than previous generations were at comparable ages: Only 1 in 5 are married, compared to 2 in 5 for Baby Boomers at the same age. And 1 in 3 are parents.
  3. They consider their technology toys almost like a third appendage. More than 8 in 10 say they sleep with their cell phone by their bedside. Fully 2 out of 3 admit they text while driving. And 3 out of 4 have created a profile on a social networking site. By comparison, only 50% of Gen Xers and 30% of Baby Boomers have done so.
  4. Just 1 in 5 are married, but 1 in 3 are parents, owing to the high percentage of single moms in this age group.
  5. Despite coming to age during two wars, just 2% of Millennial males are military veterans, compared to 6% of Gen Xers and 13% of Bab Boomer men at a comparable age.
  6. Exercise is a big part of their lives, with 56% saying they had gotten vigorous exercise in the last twenty-four hours, compared to only 46% of the overall population.
  7. They watch less TV than other generations, with only 57% having watched more than an hour of television in the past 24 hours compared to 67% of Gen Xers and 80% of Baby Boomers.
  8. And most striking of all, 37% of all Millennials are unemployed

Here are a few examples of how this information can help guide your travel marketing efforts to Millennials:

  • Create promotions and highlight benefits that will appeal to singles.
  • Does your brand have a special appeal to physically active people? Tell them about it.
  • If you must reach them in TV, advertise on shows like The Daily Show, which reaches Millennials in large numbers.
  • If you’re doing mass media advertising, be sure to include a large social media component, since this is where they’re spending more and more of their time.
  • A huge FYI: If you’re marketing a high-ticket item, you may want to spend less on your marketing efforts to Millennials, until the economy gets stronger.

Click here for a downloadable copy of the full report, “Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next”


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