A traveler can walk on the beach under the setting sun in the Bahamas. Or a travel enthusiast can feel the hear the distant call of seabirds and taste salt on their lips as they stroll along the sandy shore to soak up a majestic Caribbean sunset. Which experience would you prefer?
While the first statement is accurate, it fails to inspire emotion. The second description involves sound, sight, taste, and the feeling that comes with an experience. Travelers want to imagine themselves at the destination. Emotive words whisk them to the scene without leaving their seats.
Travel is a golden opportunity to have new and immersive experiences. Discover why every travel marketing campaign should be an indulgent customer experience that gives the reader compelling reasons to take action now.
What is Experiential Marketing?
Experiential marketing sometimes referred to as engagement marketing, has been around for more than two decades. The goal is to engage consumers and encourage them to participate in the brand experience. Consumers create connections with the brand, prompting them to seek more interaction. Now in the Age of the Customer, it is crucial to engage in experiential marketing campaigns, which were once considered optional.
Branded engagement marketing must be authentic. True experiences inspire an emotional reaction, such as sadness, joy or anger. Inspiring emotion brings brands closer to consumers, earning their trust and bringing them back for more. There are three elements to engage customers:
- Get to know your target audience, what they want, and how they prefer to get it
- Define your business brand, from its corporate mission to its human-like personality
- Find a touch point that benefits both the consumer and your company by establishing an emotional connection based on authentic experiences.
And time is of the essence. Consumers have an average attention span of eight seconds. Brands must be relevant to consumers by knowing what they need. The first step is to grab their attention. Then the company has time to define itself as a reliable brand people can trust today and for the long haul.
Savvy Travelers Are Seeking Unique Experiences
People travel to change the pace of their daily routines and have unique experiences. From discovering new cuisine and cultures to kicking back in a scenic environment, travel gives consumers a chance to broaden their horizons. And savvy travelers want travel brands to deliver a personalized experience, from the initial travel marketing outreach campaigns to their stay at a faraway resort.
According to Google/Phocuswright, 57 percent of travelers feel brands should tailor their information based on past behaviors and personal preferences. Furthermore, 35 percent of them would be likely to pay more for such personalized services. And individualized efforts are only as effective as the data they campaigns are based on. An Adobe and Skift survey revealed the first-party data sources traveler marketers find most valuable including social media data, email, digital analytics, transactional data, and consumer surveys.
Developing travel marketing campaigns based on experience is imperative to attract the growing millennial market. Recently Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, mentioned the data point that three in four millennials would rather buy an experience than a physical product. As people trade file cabinets for cloud storage, they recognize the ease of a minimalist existence. Rather than accruing useless goods, millennials want memorable experiences. And other generations are following this lead.
The Allure of the Local Experience
With memorable moments trumping over material possessions, travel marketing has taken on a new meaning. One way to meet the increasing demands of the travel industry is to leverage the allure of the local experience. People crave authenticity within the travel destinations they book. From culinary experiences to local tours, travelers are eager to get immersed in other flavors, environments, and cultures.
One way to promote travel destinations is to feature partnerships with notable local businesses during the booking phase. Another is to use storytelling to share the details of spending time at the destination. What makes it special and why should people visit the place? Answer these questions in blog articles, guest blog posts, vlogs, email marketing messages, and social media updates.
Provide travel insights and smart tips to engage readers and keep them coming back for more. Share details that show you care about prospective travelers by delivering exciting content that resonates with them. Relevant content should be provided at every step of the buying journey to transform readers into travelers. Encourage satisfied travelers to share their experiences on social media. Keep in mind 87 percent of millennials turn to Facebook for travel inspiration.
What Makes Your Destination Different?
In a sea of travel marketing statements and images, what makes your destination delightfully different? Determine what your travel experience offers that makes it more appealing. Use web content, articles, and real-life travel stories to support the uniqueness of your travel destination. Look at the competitors to see what they’re doing then do it your way.
Can travelers learn how to scuba dive? Do they have an opportunity to tour historical venues? Focus on these topics in blog articles and promotional material. From luxurious accommodations to immersive cultural excursions, put a spotlight on the amenities that make consumers want to book a trip today to see for themselves.
When companies encourage reviews and feedback, some of the stories are negative. Even the most esteemed travel brands receive criticism. Proactive brands respond to unhappy statements, offering acknowledgment or resolution to show they care about the consumer. Always be interactive, so consumers feel you are willing to resolve complaints and provide a superior travel experience.
The Magnitude of Memorable Tourism Experiences
Try to recall the most magical travel experience of your life. Did you see your feet underwater, with tropical fishes swimming around your legs? Do you recall the feeling of catching up with your stomach during a skydiving plummet? Does the scent of lavender bring back the memory of a head-to-toe massage at a mountain spa? From the sound of tribal drums to the taste of Middle Eastern spices, we can all recognize the magnitude of memorable tourism experiences (MTEs). The persistence of these pleasant memories propel us back to our favorite travel destinations.
And anticipation increases the vividness of MTEs. Unforgettable tourism experiences inspire flashbulb memories, much like a photo album in your mind. The images are incredibly vivid and enduring, bringing back the feelings you had during the trip. Positive emotions encourage people to revisit the venue as they strive to recapture those exceptional feelings.
Travel marketing campaigns should focus on real-life and perceived MTEs, based on detailed research. Study trends, read reviews of competitors and analyze your site data on Google Analytics. Use facts to weave the fairy tales people long to bring to life. Share these stories to inspire the most sedentary readers to dive into a familiar experience to create more magnificent memories.
Discover the Seven Experiential Components of MTEs
To maximize the potential of MTEs, consider the seven experiential components that make people love the trip and want to return for more.
- Hedonism is based on the tourists’ desire for excitement, thrill-seeking, fun, amusement, sensory stimulation, fantasy, arousal, enjoyment, and participation. All of these feelings determine the tourists’ level of satisfaction and influence their future decisions.
- Novelty is based on modern tourists who are interested in customs, cultures, sights, and things that differ from their usual surroundings, merely because they are different from their previous experiences.
- Local culture includes the enterprise, attitudes, innovation, competencies, friendliness, and hospitality of the local people, based on the travelers’ interactions with locals – travelers who welcome local experiences have high levels of recollection about their excursions.
- Meaningfulness focuses on the benefits of participating in tourism activities that improve the traveler’s well-being and psychological mood to assert his or her identity while learning about other cultures and places.
- Involvement means travelers get involved with the vacation experiences and activities, boosting their recollection of the trip.
- Knowledge means tourists want to participate in an array of activities, especially ones that help them explore their talents and expand what they already know.
- Refreshment is the feeling of being refreshed that impacts travel memories as travelers exchange everyday structures such as work time for liberating adventures, tours, journeys, and events.
Galileo presented to the New York Inbound Marketing Professionals about this very topic, discussing how to create memorable experiences for Travel SEO opportunities. Check out the presentation here:
Put Experiential Components to Work For Your Travel Business
These seven components become the foundation of developing cutting-edge travel marketing campaigns. Use the MTE scale for ideation. Infuse keywords into the conversation to attract tourists and search engines. Without a basis on SEO principles, travelers are unlikely to find your content in the competitive din that exists online. Local knowledge is an excellent way to gain attention from search engines and travelers. Proprietary local experiences make one destination stand head and shoulders above the others.
One of the most viable strategies is to create Content Hubs around the experience. Identify the emotions attached to specific experiences, then express them in a meaningful way. Does the pulsating beat of local rhythms played at neighborhood bars bring people to their feet? Write content about music, its history, and how it inspires dance, song, and happiness.
Use long-tail and short tail keywords and synonyms in the content, titles, and metadata. Sprinkle in emotional words, such as thrilled and once-in-a-lifetime. Use them to build anticipation as the reader becomes immersed in the possibility of an unforgettable experience in a faraway land. From cascading waterfalls to bubbling jetted tubs, the devil is in the details. Thoughtful descriptions create spectator travel journeys that inspire consumers to save money and book their next vacation at your destination.
Experiential Marketing Improves CTR
Travel and hotel SEO is affected by CTR. Memorable tourism experiences can inspire higher click-through rates (CTRs) to improve site SEO and boost conversions. Travel experiences start long before the consumer leaves for the trip. The journey begins with tantalizing descriptions and imagery that paint a pretty picture for tourists.
Evocative content tells the story of your destination. Travelers become eager to see the place firsthand and are immersed in the destination before they leave home. Having this experience also creates a branded vision for the traveler, who now has memories connected to your brand. As a result, revisit rates are typically higher.
Repeat travelers dream of recreating their past experiences. Titillate their senses with the possibility of more dreams to fulfill. Offer special incentives to sweeten the deal, improve CTRs, and increase conversions. Use the power of words and imagery to pique the imagination of consumers, position them at your destination, then drive them to book a trip.
It’s time to embark on a fantastic journey of your own. Travel businesses need the assistance of a dedicated marketing team. Work with the travel SEO professionals at Galileo Tech Media to deliver irresistibly immersive experiences that inspire people to plan the vacations of their dreams. Discover how experiential travel marketing can brand your business and improve conversion rates. Contact us today to learn more!