Category Archives: Vacation Packages

Holiday Marketing Campaign Wonders and Blunders

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The holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year…IF you’re marketing team is prepared!

Having the right social media campaign during the holiday season can mean the difference between presents or a lump of coal in the company stocking.  Retailers, consumers and marketing departments all feel the tension this time of year as everyone tries to stay on top of demand, trends and of course, the competition.

Because religious holidays are the reason for the season, it is important to be sensitive to the needs and thoughts of consumers.  No one wants to see brands and businesses capitalizing on the occasion and taking advantage of employees’ family time to generate more revenue.

Companies that use the right amount of planning and careful considerations will be able to create holiday marketing campaigns on social media that generate buzz and even get your brand in front of potential customers who may have otherwise missed it.

In a recent Marketing Land column, Alison Zeringue took a look at some of the recent Wonders and Blunders of holiday social media marketing.  Here are a few examples of each:

Wonders

OfficeMax – Elf Yourself

In December 2007, OfficeMax launched a user-generated viral video campaign called “Elf Yourself”.  Visitors of ElfYourself.com were encouraged to upload photos of themselves, friends and family, and even pets, whose faces were then placed on dancing elf bodies.  These videos could then be shared on social media or as e-cards.

This website was able to reach 39 million unique views in December, making it the fastest growing site of the month.  Over the length of the campaign, the site attracted more than 100 million unique views worldwide.

WestJet – Christmas Miracle

This year’s best and fastest growing marketing miracle is the WestJet Christmas Miracle video.  This international airline left no doubt about which of Santa’s lists they should be on this year thanks to a real-time giving project that no one can find fault with.

Fliers were given the opportunity to “talk with Santa” in the terminal of the airport.  Their Christmas wishes were recorded, and when they arrived at the baggage claim of their destination, their luggage was not the only thing on the carousel.  Presents from socks and underwear, children’s toys and even a big-screen television were waiting as well.

In a subsequent blog post, the company ensured that it “wasn’t about branding, it was about you.”

Sephora – SephoraClaus

In 2009, beauty and makeup giant Sephora launched their “SephoraClaus” campaign, asking customers to tweet an item from their holiday wish lists (up to $150) using the hashtag #sephoraclaus.  Sephora then granted a wish to one lucky tweeter each day for 30 days.

Sephora utilized a simple form of entry (tweeting @sephora) and a dedicated hashtag to create a widely visible campaign that generated 50,839 tweets by the end of the month.  Consumers were also talking and tweeting openly about various Sephora products for the entire month, keeping the company in the conversation throughout the holidays.

Blunders

Kmart – Black Friday Crisis Management

Black Friday has become a holiday in and of itself as the major shopping day following Thanksgiving.  In a race to get the most guests through the doors this year, Kmart announced it was going to open earlier on Thanksgiving Day than it ever had in the past.  This is a practice that is occurring across the retail industry, but Kmart was not ready to handle the public outcry.

Critics took to Twitter to vent on the ethics of the decision, and the clearly unprepared Kmart social media team responded rather robotically:

Kmart-Thanksgiving-Twitter-Snafu

The company’s lack of a social media crisis management strategy landed them among Business Insider’s list of 2013 worst social media marketing fails.

AT&T – Never Forget Tweet

Although it’s not a traditional holiday, September 11th is recognized and remembered by Americans annually with reverence.  Similar to religious holidays, consumers are not eager to appreciate a brand’s attempt to commemorate an event like this.

This year, AT&T made a marketing faux pas when they tweeted an image of a smartphone capturing the Twin Tower memorial lights with the text, “Never Forget.”  Many people found the tweet to be opportunistic and distasteful.

With these examples in mind, here are four real life tips for running your own holiday social media marketing campaign that will help you avoid the blunders mentioned above:

1) When using a holiday theme in your marketing, don’t have a pushy sales message unless it’s a coupon.  Consumers are sensitive to overt sales messages during this time of the year.  You should also avoid using any religious figures unless they are appropriate for your company

2) Don’t just set it and forget it.  Check your scheduled content frequently.   Plans can change when unexpected events pop up.  Remember to check back on previously scheduled messages to ensure they are all appropriate.

3) Have a crisis plan in place.  If your campaign could offend anyone, be sure to have a PR professional to avoid saying the wrong thing.

4) If your audience is diverse, consider a charitable campaign.  Rather than a giveaway or deal-centered campaign, be a good corporate citizen during the holiday season.  No one can complain with that!

Time is Running Out! Creating Urgency in your Hotel Marketing

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In the hospitality market, a seemingly lost conversion tactic is the employment of urgency on hotel websites, in hotel marketing collateral, and across social media platforms. Urgency is a long-used tactic in the world of driving conversion and increasing eCommerce. So the question remains to be asked, why don’t hotel owners use this tactic more often?

It may be for a simple lack of understanding of how to implement urgency into daily messages. It also may be the fear of turning to something different than what has been working well in the past. Whatever the reasons may be, creating a sense of urgency is a great way to increase website conversions for your hotel.

A recent article published by Marketing and hospitality insider Sam Weston discusses 7 simple tactics that any hotelier can take to increase website conversion. Let’s take a look at the best practices and explain in detail, the significance of each.

1. Availability Messaging - Availability messaging is as simple as advising your guests how many rooms remain at a discounted price, how many spots are still open on the wine tour that comes with their stay, etc. For example; “Hurry, only 3 rooms remaining at this rate!”

2. Tell Your Guests How Popular you Are - No, not literally. This is a simple tactic that advises your guests on how many travelers (like them) are currently viewing your property, package, or room offer. For example; “22 people have viewed this suite in the past 12 hours.” Simple messages like this create the sense of urgency that we as hotel marketers are looking for.

3. Countdowns & Timers - Perhaps the oldest tactic in the book to creating a sense of urgency is to place an ultimatum, timer or countdown on your offer. Adding a countdown timer to the deal pages of your website is a simple way to let your guests know that “time is running out!”

4. Countdowns TO Events and Sales - Similar to the “time is running out” idea, a countdown to a big event or sale is a great way to create a sense of anticipation and urgency in your customers. Getting the message out early is the key here. For example; “Only 3 days remaining until you save 50% on your 3 night stay!”

5. Adjust Your Message - Standard hotel language can grow repetitive and lose its luster…fast. Next time an offer, sale or event comes across your planning, try switching up the delivery of your message. For example; Rather than saying “Rooms starting from,” spice it up with something along the lines of “Today’s Best Rate.” Experimenting with what works best for your hotels brand will prove to be valuable time invested.

6. Give a Friendly Reminder - In the case that a guest starts to book but does not complete the process, a simple follow up email will do you great justice. A message as simple as “I see you were inquiring for a stay the week of November 20th, but it looks like you stopped. How can I help? The rate you were considering was $89 per night, per adult, a savings of 30%!” Messages like this instantly remind the traveler what they were looking at and plant the idea of booking back in their mind.

7. Email Follow Ups - For those guests who may have missed your sale, offer or event, offer them the opportunity to get advanced notice of the next offer. This can be as simple as asking them to sign up for an email marketing message, or distributing the information via social media. This not only creates a sense of urgency, but can also go a long way in maintaining a loyal customer base.

 

 

 

 

 

Florida, Mexico, California Round Out Popular 2012-2013 Winter Travel Destinations

All-Inclusive travel continues to shine with more than 250,000 trips planned on ResortsandLodges.com between Thanksgiving and January 31st.

Resortsandlodges.com, a leading leisure travel website is releasing its Top North America travel trends for Winter 2012-2013. 1.3 Million travelers used the popular website to plan winter escapes over this time period.  Resortsandlodges.com has analyzed this data to determine the most popular All Inclusive Winter travel destinations in North America.

“The changes we have seen year over year in the All Inclusive market are somewhat shocking. Requests for all inclusive packages are down 30% in the U.S. and Canada, but have jumped 40% in Mexico. This gives us some indication that the All Inclusive market is underserved in the States.  As we dug deeper into that data we found there are currently only 7 properties in Florida with an “All Inclusive” tag attached to their offers, compare that to the 69,000 specific searches for this type of travel in the region, and what you are left with is an indication that travelers are choosing to explore Mexico and elsehwere where Resorts and Hotels offer these packages.” said Ryan Bailey, President of ResortsandLodges.com

Each year, Resortsandlodges.com helps millions of travelers plan their winter get-aways with a variety of both expert and user-generated content, including: Top 10’s, Travel Guides, Consumer Reviews, Photos, Trip Plans and Property and Destination Videos.

Beat the Cold: Top 5 Most Popular Winter All Inclusive Destination Searches on  ResortsandLodges.com

1. Florida All Inclusive

- 69,071 Searches

2. Mexico All Inclusive

- 41,218 Searches

3. California All Inclusive

- 33,433 Searches

4. Texas

- 26,200 Searches

5. North Carolina All Inclusive

- 21,540 Searches