Travel marketing is a bit like baking. Not being a prolific baker myself, or someone who has the patience to follow recipes for that matter, it’s little wonder my apple crumble more often than not resembles a rather sad looking apple crumple.
Admittedly my brief brushes with baking have been a rather impromptu affair, invariably sans one or another ‘vital’ ingredient at the time.You know, those necessary evils such as baking powder, eggs or margerine. My kingdom for a cake that rises on its own steam!
And much like baking, scrimping on one ingredient or foregoing another one altogether almost certainly always spells a recipe for disaster.
Travel budgets being what they are and understanding the need to keep marketing spend as low as possible with the greatest yield, i.e. scrimping on the ingredients, I get why most of you would balk at my suggestion to spread your marketing across multiple marketing platforms.
Instead, after due consideration, you’ve opted to focus on one, or two platforms, like PR or print advertising, or even PPC. “I have to do some marketing so let me just throw together a quick press release or place an advert in the Sunday Times.” You simply don’t have the money to spread around, and you probably haven’t had the time to consider whether that ad or press release would have been more effective had it been but one component of a larger marketing campaign.
By dismissing an integrated marketing approach, you could be failing to spread the right message in the right places to the right people, and hitting your customers’ sweet spot.
Integrated marketing employs a combination of communication tools and media to get your message across consistently and to the right audience. I’m not talking about a shot-gun marketing approach. I’m talking about defining multiple, but focused, opportunities to ‘touch’ your audience and ensuring that you play in as many of these as possible in a consistent manner.
Let’s say for example you’re launching a new hotel. You want to let everybody know the good news and encourage your trade partners to visit. A once-off print ad is certainly not going to cut the mustard, nor is a lone press release sent to media in the hopes you get some good free coverage. Here today, gone tomorrow.
It is the combination of using multiple activities such as social media, blogging, PR and eNewsletters, online advertising, etc. combined with more traditional media, and at the same time, to communicate a short, sharp and consistent message that achieves better results.
While each of these platforms are essential in their own right, they are only one aspect of an integrated strategy, and each of these platforms to be evaluated to see what works, what could have been done better and what you could have left out completely.
An example of successful, albeit much-publicised, integrated marketing and a firm favourite of mine was the Tourism Queensland’s The Best Job In The World campaign.
The campaign hinged around one big idea (that’s the first step): Recruit applicants for a six-month job to become the caretaker of a Great Barrier Reef island. Oh and by the way, write a weekly blog reporting on your adventures.
People often think this was a social media campaign and although it did rely heavily on social media, it would never have succeeded had it not been for the development of a website and the use of advertising, public relations and other marketing platforms such as TV and a branded YouTube channel where the recruitment videos were uploaded. An integrated marketing approach.
In this case, the organisers didn’t raise extra budget for the campaign. They simply diverted most of their annual marketing budget to a six-week integrated marketing campaign and convinced their partners to ditch their rather mundane traditional tactics and jump right in on the action. Leap of faith, much?
Apparently, in addition to the cost of the advertising, it took incredible human effort to pull the campaign off. They received over 34 000 videos and 20 000 emails. The team also had to actively listen and respond to questions on social media so don’t forget you will have to factor the time and resources within your own company and organisation when budgeting to run your own integrated marketing campaign.
It took a lot of planning and coordinating, a large chunk of their annual budget and a focused and integrated approach involving several destination stakeholders, but this tiny tourism authority’s 400 000 website visitor target was totally smashed, with a resounding result of over 8.4m website visitors from every country in the world and it completely put them on the map. What’s more, every platform played its part in doing so.
So what’s your big idea? And how are you going to use the multiple platforms at your disposal to perfect your travel marketing recipe?