September 13, 2012
According to Forrester, only 5% of Americans surveyed actually scanned a QR code.
QR codes are showing up in all sorts of travel ads, but are they effective?
According to a Forrester Research, only 14 million Americans scanned QR codes in a recent 3-month period.
Their research found that only 5% of Americans who own mobile phones actually used the 2-D codes in a recent 3-month period.
And the majority of those 14 million early adopters were young, affluent males.
Ad Age recently interviewed some experts in the field and reported three reasons that QR codes haven’t caught on:
- People are confused about how to use them.
- There’s little uniformity among the apps that read them.
- Many of the codes link to useless information or to the company’s website.
Melissa Parish, Forrester’s senior analyst-social and mobile marketing had this to say:
QR codes are “another instance of shiny-object syndrome. Something becomes trendy or sexy, and marketers feel they have to jump onboard to position themselves as innovative and make sure they don’t fall behind.”
If you want to increase the likelihood of prospective guests scanning your QR code consider the following:
- Make the content you link the QR code to rewarding and valuable.
- Make sure your QR code is readable.
- Don’t post codes on billboards in areas with no internet access or poor cell phone coverage like subways or in-flight magazines.
And while you’re’ at it, tell us how you’ve used QR codes effectively. Or if you’re really brave, tell us how they haven’t worked for you.
September 4, 2012
Solo travelers now account for over $28 billion in travel spending.
There are a lot more single Americans than you realize. It’s time travel and hospitality marketers started catering to them.
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans are single, and over 50 million Americans have never been married.
- 105 million adults in the U.S., nearly one-third of all Americans, are single.
- Almost 40% of the single population are divorced, and 60% have never been married.
- Marriage rates have declined from 72% in 1960 to just 52% in 2008.
Recently, Gary Leopold, CEO of ISM, one of the top travel and hospitality marketing firms in the U.S., explored the subject of solo travelers in a blog post for Media Post.
According to Gary, the statistics on singles travel spending are staggering.
- Singles account for $2.2 trillion in annual buying power.
- 1 in 4 Americans who travel domestically or abroad now do so alone.
- 25 million singles age 42 or older spent over $28 billion on travel in 2008.
Women are more likely than men to travel alone.
- According to Gary, women aged 42 or older are twice as likely as men to vacation alone.
- More than 80% of Match.com users listed travel as one of their interests.
A few travel and hospitality markers are taking advantage of this trend.
- Norwegian Cruise Line launched a ship, Epic, that has 128 “studio” suites and a private lounge designed for the single traveler.
- Some of the all-inclusive resorts like Breezes have packages just for singles.
- REI Adventures partners with Match.com to offer adventure travel trips to singles.
I did a Google search on the keywords “singles travel” and found dozens of singles travel specialists.
They’re focused on a wide variety of singles travel niches, including:
- Adventure travel
- Over 40s travelers
- Luxury travel
- Jewish Singles
- Singles Travel Clubs
It’s harder to find restaurant chains and other hospitality brands that cater to singles.
That surprises me, since the mothers of newly graduated 20 somethings and recently divorced adult children will tell you they eat out more than their married brothers and sisters.
What you can do to attract singles to your travel or hospitality brand
- You can start by developing packages and promotions just for singles.
- If you’re a travel brand, experiment with eliminating your use of single supplements.
- When marketing to singles, stop pricing on a per person/double occupancy basis.
- If you’re a restaurant, consider a singles’ menu and options for people who don’t cook at home.
What are you doing to reach the single traveler or diner?
Have you tried special packages or offers? What’s worked? What hasn’t? Tell us about it.
August 20, 2012
Compared to adults in other countries, US citizens take a lot less vacation. Is there an opportunity for your travel or leisure brand?
It’s not news that since the start of the Great Recession, Americans are taking shorter trips closer to home.
But did you know Americans take a lot less vacation than workers in other countries?
And they need their travel and leisure brands to pack more relaxation or excitement into less time.
Every year for the past decade, Expedia has surveyed employed adults in countries all over the world as part of its International Vacation Deprivation Survey.
The results of the latest survey tell a lot about why so many Americans are stressed out and in need of more leisure time.
Employed adults in the U.S. get less than half of the vacation time as workers in other Western countries.
- Americans receive an average of 13 days of vacation a year.
- By comparison, Canadians average 19 days per year.
- Workers in Great Britain get 26 days a year.
- Germans take 28 days a year.
- But the biggest winners are French workers, who average 38 vacation days per year.
Not only do we get less vacation, we enjoy it less, too.
- 4 in 10 Americans take only one week of vacation, and then use the rest here and there.
- 3 in 10 employed adults usually do not take all of their vacation days each year.
- A quarter of all respondents reported checking work email or voicemail while vacationing.
- 4 in 10 report having trouble coping with stress at some point during their vacation.
- 2 in 10 adults reported canceling or postponing a vacation because of work.
The funny thing is Americans see the benefits of taking time off.
- In the study, 1 in 3 American adults reported feeling better about their job after a vacation.
- 1 in 2 say they come back from vacation feeling rejuvenated.
- 1 in 2 say they come back feeling reconnected with their families.
Men and women have different attitudes about work and vacation time.
- Men are more likely to regularly work more than 40 hours a week (44% of men vs. 29% of women).
- Men are also more likely to take a 2-week vacation then women (12% of men vs. 8% of women).
- Women are more likely to feel guilty about taking time off from work (40% of women vs. 29% of men).
The only countries that leave more unused vacation days are the Japanese and Italians.
- American workers average 3 unused vacation days a year.
- By comparison, the British, French and Germans don’t use 1-2 days.
- Italian workers leave an average of 6 vacation days (out of 27), while the Japanese leave 7 (out of 15).
Courtesy of Expedia Vacation Deprivation Survey
How can your travel or leisure brand can capitalize on this trend:
- Can your brand offer people a better escape in less time?
- Can your guests cram more activities into fewer days, or enjoy a more complete escape?
- Should you put together all-inclusive and short-term vacation packages?
- Maybe you market your property as a cell-free or email free zone.
What are you doing to attract the vacation-starved American traveler? Tell us about it.
August 13, 2012
A recent study confirms most Americans can’t escape their work–even on vacation.
8 in 10 Americans have trouble leaving their work behind when they go on vacation. Could your travel brand be the solution?
A recent TripAdvisor travel trends survey uncovered a startling trend.
As a travel and hospitality marketing specialist , I don’t like to admit that I have trouble separating work from pleasure.
But the truth is I’m usually a day or two into a vacation before my wife gently reminds me to quit checking emails and voicemails.
The latest TripAdvisor Travel Trends survey reveals that I’m not the only American leisure traveler having trouble leaving their work at home.
The Fake-ation may be the biggest travel trend TripAdvisor uncovered this year.
According to Trip Advisor, American travelers are, in effect, taking vacations without getting a real vacation.
- 8 in 10 Americans say they chose their destination at least partly because it is too remote to connect with work.
- Yet 7 in 10 people admit to connecting with work on leisure trips.
- 6 in 10 check their e-mail, while 1 in 10 call the office.
Why can’t Americans leave their work behind? If they’re like me, the internet and cell phones make connecting to work too easy.
If you’re a travel or leisure marketing specialist, there’s a big opportunity for you in this trend.
People like me want to escape. But we need help letting go.
Could your brand be the solution? Could you provide the real escape people are looking for?
Instead of making it easier for people to connect to work, could you cater to their desire to disconnect?
- Could you remove the cell tower from the top of your building and provide a cell-free zone?
- Instead of offering free wi-fi, maybe you offer no-fi. Or if you want a little extra press coverage, $500 a day wi-fi.
- Maybe you go lo-tech and require people to turn in their cell phones and lap tops upon arrival.
- Or you set up cell-free and laptop free zones.
- If you’re marketing camping equipment, scuba gear or even movie theaters, maybe you position your leisure brand as the only true escape from the office.
TripAdvisor has uncovered a truth most of us can’t deny: We are looking for a way to get away from it all, but the internet and universal cell coverage have trapped us.
How you can your brand be our escape hatch?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
July 16, 2012
A recent study reveals that Baby Boomers spend a lot more and are willing to try new brands more than previously thought.
Boomers are spending a lot more, but are a little less loyal to brands.
TV Land, a division of Viacom, recently released “Generation BUY: A Closer Look at the Boomer Consumer”. The study found that 40 and 50 somethings are making purchases for 3 generations.
And spending considerably more money than younger generations. Some of their findings:
- People 40-59 are spending more on themselves each month than Millennials and Gen-Xers.
- Baby Boomers are spending twice as much on others in their lives than Gen Xers or Millennials.
- Boomers are less brand loyal than Millennials and Gen-Xers.
The study identified three shopping traits of Baby Boomers:
1. Baby Boomers spend a lot more than younger generations on their families.
- Boomers spend more than three times as much per month on their spouses ($514 vs. $169) than adults under 40.
- They spend nearly twice as much on children each month ($295 vs. $158).
- They spend three times as much on teens ($494 vs. $136).
2. Baby Boomers will not switch brands just because something is new.
- 91% of people in their 40s and 50s want a new brand to provide more value vs. 83% of Gen-Xers and Millennials.
- They won’t switch because a brand has more style.
- They will consider new brands if they are more useful or provide the most value.
3. Baby Boomers are more open to new brands and less brand loyal.
- 26% say they are not brand loyal at all, vs. 21% of Gen Xers.
- This willingness to buy new brands carries over to most leisure categories, including electronics, restaurants and automobiles.
If you’re marketing a travel or leisure brand, it’s time to re-examine your media spending and messaging, and make sure you’re investing against this all-important Baby Boomer demo.
You can read more about Baby Boomers in another recent 5 to 9 post: Is your leisure marketing ignoring 40 million Baby Boomers?