Planning your marketing is tough. You know why? Because it requires you to answer a difficult question.
How to create and market unique and immersive travel experiences ?
Beyond the understanding of the essence of travel experience it is also important to find what influences traveler experiences. As Otto and Ritchie pointed that for travelers there are four important factors that influences the experience, respectively hedonistic, peace of mind, involvement and recognition. In their study, they confirmed a need for travelers to be doing what they loved or liked, to have their imagination stirred and to be thrilled by the service activities.
First of all, they want to create memories for themselves and to share with others later on. The second and most significant factor is peace of mind, the need for both physical and psychological safety and comfort. The third factor is more to do with the process of service delivery than with the outcome, and the willingness to be active participants in certain service systems, having choice and control in the service offering. On the other hand, they also want to be educated, informed and invested with a sense of mutual cooperation. Finally, they want some sort of personal recognition from their service encounters, such that they could feel important and confident that they were being taken seriously.
The Travel Marketing Canvas
In a more marketing approach, the traveler experience can be seen as a consumer experience because the marketing significance of the tourist activity is based in tourist’s consumption. But the tourist consumption goes way beyond of simply material things, when it´s considered all the emotional aspects involved, it´s possible to understand that tourists consume experiences during all the journey.
In order to grasp this “travel experience”, I designed the Travel Marketing Canvas.
I got the inspiration from the Business Model Canvas. There’s other marketing canvases out there. But I did make this one and customized for the travel industry.
This isn’t a total marketing plan. It’s more a bird’s eye view, intended to be used as the starting point, before you further develop and define what you’re doing. For many people, the initial brainstorming around their message never happens, or it doesn’t go anywhere. Try this instead. When I work with a new project, going through this canvas is my first step.
Here’s what you need to define:
- What is your key experiences ?
- What are your brands values statements?
- Based on that, what is your experiential message?
- Who is your travelers audience?
- Who are their influencers?
- What owned media do you have access to?
- What paid channels do you have access to?
- What earned channels do you have access to?
- What are your goals? What are the Metrics linked to your goals ?
So this is the first section. You’ll hopefully have thought about this already, when you were laying the initial plans for whatever you’re doing. What type of key experiences do you to propose to your audience ?
Brands values statement
What values stand at the very core of your brand. They’re the center from which everything radiates from your brand’s design, voice, and customer service (relationships).And unless you’ve been living in a cave with no wi-fi connection, I’m sure you already know that you need to create a brand around your business.
Based on the Key Experience, and what you believe must be unique and relatable, you can start writing the experiential message. This is the one thing you want the travelers to experience. You might not know but in order to escape from run-of-the-mill experiences, travelers are more likely seeking out more adventurous and experiential travel thus can be achieve by creating an inspiring message that represent authentic travel.
You cannot transmit your message if you don’t know who you are talking to.That will simply not work. Consider this well: your audience is never “everybody” — it is always, always somebody.
The more you know about the travel interests and behaviors of your customers and prospects, the better experience you can provide them each time they visit and connect across your digital channels. Understanding what your customers are doing, where they’ve been, and what they’ve searched such as keywords, geolocation will help you recognize patterns and personalize your travel content dynamically.
The tourism and travel are both areas that are dominated by a large number of influencers and they can have a profound effect on their followers’ views and decisions. You have to find out which influencers are relevant to you and – more importantly – how can you use them to grow your brand online.
Earned, Paid and Owned media channels
Working out what channels you’re going to use is where most people go off the rails.The assumption: “We must be on every channel ! Look at our website—it has links to every social networks” is not going to work.
When a customer is planning a trip, they look at all the channels at, they begin as a source of inspiration. In general, the inspiration takes shape, those channels become planning tools. Some of them spend a lot of their pre-trip time online, from daydreaming through shopping and booking. And through this process, they are bombarded with informations
A useful framework for considering how traffic can originate is to consider the Paid, Earned, and Owned media. It’s a model first put forth by agencies and brands starting around 2009. There can be some confusion as to what each of these might mean.
Goals & Metrics
Now that we’ve got the audience identified and you know who you’re talking to, the next steps are just as critical to ensure your investment in digital marketing delivers an ROI.
Your goals must always be tied back to the fundamental goals of your business. For example, if your business’s goal is to increase website visit by 20%, your goal as a marketer might be to generate 50% more visite via external sources than you did last year to contribute towards that success.
Whatever your goal is, you need to know how to measure it, and more importantly, actually be able to measure it. How you measure the effectiveness of your digital strategy will be different for each business and dependent on your goal(s), but it’s vital to ensure you’re able to do so, as it’s these metrics which will help you adjust your strategy in the future.
Here’s what my canvas looks like:
With this brainstorming document finished, you can get started on an in-depth marketing plan that covers those goals in more detail and sets out plans and schedules around those phases. You’ll be able to maintain an overall vision of what your marketing is supposed to be about.
It’s not an easy mission. It’s not easy because it requires you to think one day, one week, one month and one year ahead all at the same time. This kind of activity is where you forecast whether or not your business will sink or swim.
You can download it right now here