Experiential Marketing in the Travel Industry–A lot of people don’t know much about the cultures in other countries, so businesses in the travel industry may want to focus on educating consumers on other cultures during their experiential marketing event.
For example, Colombia wanted people in the U.S. to know that the country was reinventing itself into a luxurious vacation destination. Instead of rebranding themselves using traditional ads, Colombia threw an experiential marketing event right in the middle of Times Square in New York. The event featured a Grammy award-winning singer from Colombia, traditional Colombian foods, and other carnival-style entertainment so people could see what Colombia had to offer. By creating this unforgettable experience, Colombia was successful in their efforts to give New Yorkers a taste of the Colombian culture. This was a great way to entice people to consider Colombia as a travel destination the next time they plan an exotic vacation.
Give Away Free Items
Consumers always respond well to free items—and many businesses in the travel industry have caught onto this fact. However, if you want to get consumers’ attention, you can’t just hand out standard branded swag at an event. You have to give them something of value—and you have to make them work for it.
The Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau wanted to promote the fact that JetBlue had recently launched a non-stop flight from New York City to Palm Springs. Instead of setting up a booth in New York City to hand out swag branded with “Palm Springs,” the visitors bureau thought outside the box. They set up two giant blocks of ice in the middle of New York City and asked residents of the city to “break out of the chill” of winter. This slogan alludes to the idea that Palm Springs is more desirable than New York during the winter because of California’s warm and sunny weather. It also referred to the fact that there were prizes frozen inside the ice blocks that were up for grabs. The people of New York crowded around the ice blocks in order to chip away at the prizes, one of which was a free trip to Palm Springs.
Think of non-traditional ways to give away free items so you aren’t just handing out t-shirts and reusable water bottles at a branded booth. Making people work for the free items is a much more memorable experience.
Focus on the Five Senses
People experience a new city or country with all five of their senses, so keep this in mind as you are planning your next experiential marketing event. There’s no better way to convince someone to book a trip to the beach than letting them hear the sound of the waves crash against the shore and allowing them to feel the sand between their toes. Figure out a way to activate all five of guests’ senses at your next event so they can essentially “try before they buy,” meaning they can experience a new destination before committing to taking a trip there.
Many people don’t travel to certain cities, states, or countries because they believe unflattering stereotypes about the area. To increase tourism to these areas, businesses in the travel industry have to focus on breaking the stereotypes that are making the destinations seem unappealing.
Texas recently discovered that people outside of the state viewed it as a cultureless state full of cowboys and guns. The state rightly assumed that these stereotypes could be hurting their tourism industry, so they set out to break them with a Texas on Tour experiential marketing event. The tour traveled from coast to coast and introduced people across the country to the real Texas. People were invited to wear virtual reality headsets to travel the rapids of Big Bend Country canyons. They could also walk into a room with wall-to-wall green screens that displayed images of the beautiful shorelines of Texas. This event showed people that there is so much more to Texas than what they may think. As a result of the event, 50,000 people requested Texas travel guides and registered for more information on traveling to the state.
Before choosing a hotel, people visit the hotel’s website, look at photos on social media, and read online customer reviews. But, there’s no way to know what a hotel is really like until you see it in person.
Hotels have the unique opportunity to introduce consumers to their brand with pop-up shop experiences. For example, Cambria Suites designed a pop-up space that was an exact replica of their hotel suite. The pop-up was displayed at malls and airports throughout the country, and it gave potential customers an opportunity to see things they probably would have missed just by looking at photos online. People who visited the pop-up space could feel the softness of the pillows and soak up the relaxing atmosphere of the luxurious hotel suite. By bringing their hotel suite to life, Cambria Suites was able to win over new customers who may have never considered the hotel before the event.
Experiential Marketing in the Travel Industry