Is your travel and leisure marketing helping your customers bond with your brand?

July 24, 2012

Author William McEwen reviewed 60 years of Gallop studies on great brands and identified 4 keys to building strong relationships with customers.

Why do some leisure brands succeed with customers and some fail? It’s all about relationships.

Have you ever wondered why people are devoted to some travel+leisure brands, and couldn’t care less about others? Are you unsure of how to create a lasting relationship between your travel+leisure brand and your customer?

If this is a problem for your organization, I recommend reading Married to the Brand: Why  Consumers Bond with Some Brands for Life.

The book compiles 60 years of Gallop study to examine how and why consumers connect to the products they use and the brands they buy.  And the findings easily translate to the specialized world of leisure marketing.

Author William J. McEwen discovered four prerequisites to build a strong and lasting relationship with your customer.

  1. Confidence: Your customers must feel that your leisure brand is one they can always trust and one that will always deliver on whatever it promises.
  2. Integrity: Your customers must feel that your leisure brand treats them fairly. And they must believe that your company stands resolutely behind your leisure products and services. They must feel that if a problem ever arises, you will fix it.
  3. Pride: Your customers must feel proud to be associated with your leisure brand — proud to be known as a brand owner, shopper, or user. They must be convinced that the brand and your representatives will always treat them with respect.
  4. Passion: Your customers must feel that your leisure brand is irreplaceable in their lives and represents a perfect fit with their needs, whether those needs are tangible or intangible. In fact, they should feel that their world really wouldn’t be the same without it.

When I think of some of my favorite travel and leisure brands, from Royal Carribean to Disney to Hilton Hotels to Singapore Airlines, they are fulfilling most or all of these prerequisites.

How about you? Is your travel + leisure brand living up to these expectations?  If so, tell us how you’re doing it. If not, ask yourself how you can start building confidence, pride, integrity and passion back into your relationships with your customers.

And how you can use some of the exciting tools offered by new and emerging media to enhance those relationships.


Is your travel and leisure marketing built for Millennials?

February 3, 2012

If you want your travel or leisure brand to reach Millennials, study this Pew Research Center report that describes their distinguishing characteristics.

The Pew Research Center released a comprehensive study on Millennials, the roughly 50 million Americans ages 18-29 who have come of age in the new millennium.

The report explored the demographics, priorities, values and social behavior of this generation.

It uncovered these 8 important distinctions that any marketer of a travel or leisure brand should take note of:

  1. Millennials are more ethnically diverse than any other generation. Almost 4 in 10 Millennials classify themselves as a racial or ethnic minority, compared to less than 3 in 10 Baby Boomers.
  2. They are much less likely to be married or have children than previous generations were at comparable ages: Only 1 in 5 are married, compared to 2 in 5 for Baby Boomers at the same age. And 1 in 3 are parents.
  3. They consider their technology toys almost like a third appendage. More than 8 in 10 say they sleep with their cell phone by their bedside. Fully 2 out of 3 admit they text while driving. And 3 out of 4 have created a profile on a social networking site. By comparison, only 50% of Gen Xers and 30% of Baby Boomers have done so.
  4. Just 1 in 5 are married, but 1 in 3 are parents, owing to the high percentage of single moms in this age group.
  5. Despite coming to age during two wars, just 2% of Millennial males are military veterans, compared to 6% of Gen Xers and 13% of Bab Boomer men at a comparable age.
  6. Exercise is a big part of their lives, with 56% saying they had gotten vigorous exercise in the last twenty-four hours, compared to only 46% of the overall population.
  7. They watch less TV than other generations, with only 57% having watched more than an hour of television in the past 24 hours compared to 67% of Gen Xers and 80% of Baby Boomers.
  8. And most striking of all, 37% of all Millennials are unemployed

Here are a few examples of how this information can help guide your travel marketing efforts to Millennials:

  • Create promotions and highlight benefits that will appeal to singles.
  • Does your brand have a special appeal to physically active people? Tell them about it.
  • If you must reach them in TV, advertise on shows like The Daily Show, which reaches Millennials in large numbers.
  • If you’re doing mass media advertising, be sure to include a large social media component, since this is where they’re spending more and more of their time.
  • A huge FYI: If you’re marketing a high-ticket item, you may want to spend less on your marketing efforts to Millennials, until the economy gets stronger.

Click here for a downloadable copy of the full report, “Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next”

How Harry Potter helped U.S. travel marketing take a giant leap forward.

July 7, 2010

The curtain went up in a big way on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

When the Harry Potter inspired attraction at one of America’s best theme parks opened to the general public,  the enchantment wizards and witches at Universal Orlando did not disappoint.

The most highly anticipated theme park attraction in years.

Although dozens of new attractions opening at theme parks across the U.S. every year, none created as much anticipation, or delivered as much on expectations as Universal did when it opened its Harry Potter attraction.

What’s included in the attraction.

The creators of this $200 million theme park within a theme park spared no expense to immerse visitors in detailed and exacting re-creations of Hogsmeade, the mythical village of the wizardry world.

These include the Hogworts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the streets and shops of Hogsmeade.

There’s also a working version of The 3 Broomsticks, a pub that serves Muggles the same food and drink Harry enjoys, like Butter Beer.

How The Wizarding World re-created Harry Potter’s world.

The park achieved visual parity with the Harry Potter movies by enlisting the services of Alan Gilmore, art director for all 4 Potter movies.

According to Gilmore, “Overall, I think the detail, the absolute rigorous pushing of detail is beyond compare.  Everything is correct.  Our mantra was authenticity.”

Here’s the best part.

The opening roused Disney, that slumbering dragon of theme park magic, and ignited a new war of inspiration between these two entertainment leviathans.

Which is leading to a whole new generation of breathtaking, movie-inspired attractions.

If you’re a travel and attraction marketing professional, make a note of this event. And vow to use The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as inspiration to raise the bar for bravery and innovation in your little corner of the travel and attraction kingdom.

Want a 3-step crash course in leisure brand marketing? Put away the kayak and visit REI.

June 4, 2010



This is not the place to learn about leisure marketing.


If you’re new to leisure marketing, I suggest you follow these 3 easy steps to get yourself up to speed quickly.

Step 1: Spend some time in a place where people have a serious commitment to leisure.

I live and work in Denver, Colorado. which is about as close to Mecca as a marketer of leisure brands is going to get. Every weekend, someone in our office is heading west on I-70 to put all four limbs to the test.

I’ve learned a lot about leisure brand marketing just by hanging out with outdoor enthusiasts and asking them why they buy what they buy.  But if you really want to learn about leisure marketing, you need to hang out with other leisure marketers.

Step 2: Identify the world’s best leisure brand marketers and spend some time with them.

Here in Denver, great leisure marketers are on every street corner and bike path. One of my favorites is the REI flagship store here.

REI sells gear and equipment to thousands of serious climbers, runners, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts. The store is broken down into specialty shops staffed by sales associates who are outdoor enthusiasts themselves.

If you stop and chat with one,  you feel like you’re part of a community of fellow believers rather than at a retail store.

They never try to sell you anything. They just respectfully answer your questions, and tell you what they know from their own experience. It truly is a community of people who enthusiastically exchange ideas about their passions.

Step 3:  When you see them doing something well, try to imitate.

In this business, it’s ok to borrow from your friends. Especially if your brand is not in the exact same category.  One area of the REI experience worth imitating is their website and online store.

They’ve taken their concept of creating a community of like-minded enthusiasts, and brought it to life in a way that few leisure brands can match.

With customer reviews of gear, articles and videos featuring expert advice on the outdoor activities members want to learn about, and a whole section where members can seek the advice and counsel of more experienced enthusiasts in their sport. And share their experiences and photos with their favorite outdoor activity.

That’s my favorite leisure brand marketer.

Who would you say is doing a good job of leisure brand marketing in your neck of the great outdoors?  Tell us about it.


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