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”


Travel and leisure marketing: 33 simple ways to measure your social media campaign.

September 7, 2011

Measuring social media isn't as complicated as many travel marketers make it out to be.

You won’t be the first travel marketing specialist to admit you don’t measure your social media campaigns.

In a study last year, Mzinga and Babson found that only 16% of marketers worldwide  measured their social media campaigns.

The #1 reason marketers give for avoiding measurement?  It’s too difficult.

In an effort to debunk that myth, I offer you 33 mostly simple ways to measure your social media campaign:

1. Fans

2. Followers

3. Friends

4. Increase in Fans, Followers, Friends

5. Likes

6. Favorites

7. Comments

8. Mentions in Mainstream Media

9.  Downloads

10. Uploads

11. Embeds

12. Installs

13. Views (for videos)

14. Ratings

15. Social Bookmarks

16. Subscriptions (for RSS, podcasts, video series)

17. Page views (for blogs, microsites, etc)

18. Volume of consumer buzz generated

19. Shift in buzz over time

20. Seasonality of buzz

21. Volume of competitive buzz generated

22. Buzz by category / topic

23. Buzz by social channel (forums, social networks, blogs, Twitter, etc)

24. Rate of virality / pass-along

25. Change in virality rates over time

26. Effective CPM based on spend per impressions received

27. Change in search engine rankings for the site linked to your social media site

28. Demographics of target audience engaged with social channels

29. Geography of participating consumers

30. Sentiment by volume of posts

31. Shift in sentiment before, during, and after social marketing programs

32. Time spent with distributed content

33. Time spent on site through social media referrals

If you’re looking for other ways to measure your social media, visit the blog of David Berkowitz, Director of Innovation at 360i.  He’s compiled a list of 100 ways to measure your social media.



Ten simple fixes to common travel and leisure website mistakes.

July 29, 2011
SEO Cloud

There are 10 simple things you can do to improve your website's search rankings.

If your travel & leisure website is consistently losing the rankings battle, get back to basics in your SEO strategy.

Haris Krijestorac, the host of some recent Hubspot Website Optimization Webinars published an excellent post on correcting 10 common website mistakes that many marketers of travel and leisure brands make.

1. Shorten your page title to no longer than 70 characters.

The page title is the text at the top of your browser window that is the title of the page  google shows in its search results.

If it’s over 70 characters, search engines cut it off and may rank your page lower.

2. Shorten your meta description to no longer than 150 words.

That’s the description under the page title in search results. Like page titles, meta descriptions get cut off, which can cause traffic from search engines to drop.

3. Rewrite your page title using more realistic words.

This is a key factor in search engine rankings. So write it using generally accepted industry terms as key words, and avoid using marketing speak.

4.  Use different keywords on all your pages.

Many websites use the same keywords for every page. That’s a lost opportunity as each page of your website is a new opportunity to get found by search engines.

5. Register your domain name for several years.

The search engines favor websites that are not set to expire for a long time because this tells them you’re going to be around for awhile and you’re not a spammer.

6.Add alt text to your images.

Most search engines can’t read pictures. So you have to add alt text.

7. Put your layout-related code in CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).

Putting your layout-related information into HTML instead of CSS confuses search engines, making it harder to find keywords. Put it in CSS and your rankings will go up.

8.  Limit the length of your conversion forms.

Conversion forms are crucial for converting traffic into leads. But many sites ask for too much information, so visitors abandon the site before completing the form.

9. Remove text that isn’t relevant to your keywords from each page.

Search engines read text better than anything else. But many sites cram too much text onto their site. As a result, search engines struggle to extract the relevant text.

10. Install analytics so you can analyze and correct problems.

The only way to stay on top of competitive challenges is to analyze your results regularly, watch for abrupt changes in traffic, and refine your SEO strategy accordingly.

Read the full post and additional tips and tricks at Hubspot.

Tell us about what you’re doing to improve the organic search rankings of your travel & leisure website.


How to win the search rankings battle in the leisure marketing industry.

March 7, 2011

Search engines base rankings in part on the type and style of content.

Is your website optimized according to standards Google has set for your industry?

If you’re a leisure marketing professional you have to know and follow the rules by which search engines rank websites in your industry.

Let’s take the leisure marketing sub-category of restaurants as an example.

Recently, one of the experts at Search Engine News shared some of the rules Google has set for restaurants use to get  Google reward a  better ranking to your restaurants with Fast Casual Magazine.

10 tips for improving a restaurant’s search engine rankings:

1. Link to your menu from your home page.

It’s the main reason people come to restaurant websites, so you need to make it easy to access.

2. Create a PDF menu.

Google has an easier time indexing text on PDFs than if you scan the menu. Plus a PDF is easier to download, print and share.

3. List daily specials.

Deals are indexed higher because people are always looking for good deals.

4. Display your prices.

Google Maps and other web services try to provide a price. If they can’t find yours, it can lower your rankings.

5. Participate in a menu distribution service like Dotmenu.

Not only do these services get indexed by the search engines, but they also share your menu with a wider audience.

6. Make even the small print readable.

The more small print you have on your site, the lower your usability scores, which can lower your rankings.

7. Input your menu as text, not as a scanned document.

Google is now able to scan many types of images.  But the indexing isn’t perfect.  Images also slow down your site, which lowers your search rankings.

8. Leave off the special rules, exclusions and warnings.

These scare customers and the search engines away.

9. Create ALT text for images, hyperlink logos and add keywords to the metadata in your PDF documents.

These make your PDF documents more scannable by the web crawlers.

10. Avoid Flash.

Flash slows down your site, which lowers satisfaction scores and search rankings. Search engines also can’t read text in flash scripts.

Thanks again to the editors of Fast Casual and Search Engine News magazines for developing this valuable content. You can find the complete article at Fastcasual.com.


Leisure marketing: 10 valuable resources for social media novices.

November 12, 2010

10 timely articles to help you plan a new social media program.

The Social Media Safari Question #7:

“My staff and I are starting a social media program from scratch. Can you direct me to some previous posts you have written that would help guide us?”

Gladly.  Here are 10 relevant posts to help leisure marketing specialists like yourself get up to speed on social media.

They’ll show you how to plan your social strategy, point you to some of the leading gurus, discuss budgeting and measurement, and outline some of the best social media success stories.

  1. 10 leading experts help you plan and execute your social media campaign
  2. What leisure marketers can learn from history’s greatest social media screw ups
  3. 20 tips for overcoming your fear of blogging
  4. Leisure marketing to the 57 million Americans who have tried social gaming
  5. 5 ways your leisure marketing could incorporate location-based services
  6. 33 simple ways to measure your social media campaigns
  7. Advanced social media tools for listening to your customers
  8. The most powerful online leisure marketing machine is not a machine at all. It’s Lady Gaga.
  9. The Star(bucks) of leisure marketing is also the (Star)bucks of social media
  10. Leisure marketing at its viral best: Hi-Tec Sports

Looking for more answers to your social media questions?  Check out these other posts in our 10-part Social Media Safari Series:

  1. Does social media really work for marketing leisure brands?
  2. How much should I budget for social media?
  3. 10 social media campaigns that produced real results.
  4. 2 social media success stories utilizing limited budgets.
  5. What Coca Cola, Starbucks and Oreo can teach you about leisure marketing on Facebook.
  6. The Top 10 social media thought leaders.
  7. 11 ways businesses are using Twitter to promote their brands.
  8. If Twitter can save Conan, it can certainly revive your leisure brand.
  9. 15 valuable resources for social media novices.
  10. 20 ways to make sure your leisure marketing campaign goes viral.

Does social media really work for marketing leisure brands?

November 3, 2010

The key to driving real results in your social media program is to define success up front, and identify a metric to measure it.

Social Media Safari Question #3: “Does social media really work for leisure marketing specialists?”

If you’re a leisure marketing expert there are two ways to read this question.  1.) Have social media campaigns produced measurable results for other leisure marketing brands?

There are lots of case studies to support the argument that social media works.

Leisure and lifestyle brands large and small have successfully used social media to build communities of loyal followers, promote new products and drive traffic to their stores or channel.

You can read my posts about the social media successes of Starbucks, HBO and Hi-Tec by clicking on these links.  If you want to read about other leisure brand social media success stories, I’ve written another post in the Social Safari series that offers more examples.

The other way to read this question:  Will social media work for my leisure marketing campaign?

Before you can define if a social media program will work for you, first you have to decide what you’re trying to accomplish.

Are you using social media to start a dialogue with a new demographic? Establish yourself as a thought leader in your category?  Attract business to your e-commerce site?

Build a database that you can use to prospect to? Create a new channel for customer service?  Drive business to your bricks and mortar business?

Once you understand the result you’re trying to achieve, it’s easy to identify a metric to measure your campaign:

  • If you’re trying to start a dialogue with a new demographic you can measure the increase in Fans, Followers and Friends to your social sites.
  • If you’re establishing yourself as a thought leader, you can measure the number of comments to each post, the number of times visitors download your e-books or white papers, or the number of visitors who come to your blog via social bookmarking sites.
  • If you’re generating business for your e-commerce site, measure the increase in visitors to your site, their average length of stay or the increase/decrease in purchases.
  • If you’re trying to create a new customer service channel through your Twitter feed, you could measure how many followers tweet you in a day/week/month or the number of problems resolved through your Twitter feed each day/week/month.

If you want more ideas on this topic, I wrote a post recently identifying dozens of ways to measure your social media campaign.

Looking for more answers to your social media questions?  Check out these other posts in our 10-part Social Media Safari Series:

  1. Does social media really work for marketing leisure brands?
  2. How much should I budget for social media?
  3. 10 social media campaigns that produced real results.
  4. 2 social media success stories utilizing limited budgets.
  5. What Coca Cola, Starbucks and Oreo can teach you about leisure marketing on Facebook.
  6. The Top 10 social media thought leaders.
  7. 11 ways businesses are using Twitter to promote their brands.
  8. If Twitter can save Conan, it can certainly revive your leisure brand.
  9. 15 valuable resources for social media novices.
  10. 20 ways to make sure your leisure marketing campaign goes viral.


Leisure marketing: An argument for putting less money into internet advertising and more into TV.

July 23, 2010

Despite all the excitement about the internet, people still stare at their TV screens a lot more than their computer screens.

Last month, Americans spent 158 hours of their free time watching TV, compared to just 25 hours cruising the internet.

Our job is to show you how your customers are spending their free time. Sometimes we don’t like what we see.

The internet has been a boon for leisure marketing specialists, opening up a whole new world of opportunities for our clients and our agencies.

It’s also been fun to represent an active medium that engages visitors, versus TV, which gets a bad rap for turning people into couch potatoes.

But sometimes the new world we’re excited about runs smack into reality.

Nielson’s release of its latest 3-Screen Report is one of those times new media enthusiasts should take pause.

In case you don’ follow it,  that’s the study that compares the amount of time people spend watching their TV, computer and cell phone screens.

If your leisure marketing is directed to these viewers, the following information might help you prioritize your media spending.

And help you understand why TV still makes sense for leisure brands.

The truth is people still spend 6 times as many hours watching TV as they do cruising the internet.

  • According to the study, the average American spends more than 158 hours every month watching TV.
  • By comparison, the average person spends just 25 hours of their free time cruising the internet each month.
  • In the last year, people actually spent 2 hours more each month watching TV than over the same period last year.
  • At the same time, internet usage on home computers actually declined 13% over Q1 2009.

Source: AC Nielson

Advertising on the internet still makes sense. Just not as much sense as the internet media would like you to believe.

That’s why I recommend you look for a media buying service that is media-agnostic.  Which means they don’t favor new or traditional media.

Here at CCT, if a client is in a leisure category like destination travel, our media department is shifting larger portions of our client media budgets to the internet portals where they’re searching for travel information.

But when a client needs to build broad reach and frequency against a large audience, we still enthusiastically recommend TV.

And if a client has the budget for both, we will often recommend a one-two punch of TV and internet advertising together to quickly raise awareness and drive more qualified customers to your website.

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