Are you capitalizing on the latest travel marketing trend: The fake-ation?

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?


Travel and leisure marketing: Are you budgeting enough for your social media program?

July 20, 2012

Social media costs less, but takes more time.

Our research indicates most travel and leisure brands are spending between 10-15% of their total online budget on social media.

How much should you budget for your social media program?”

  • The good news: a robust social media program can cost just 11-14% of your digital budget. That’s a fraction of the average cost of a TV campaign produced in LA or New York.
  • The not so good news: Social media takes a lot of time, whether you’re paying an in-house person or an outside agency to do it.

Cost of In-House Resources Versus Outside Contractors

  • If you’re relying on existing in-house resources to get your social media program off the ground, the general rule of thumb is to start by budgeting for one full-time employee.
  • That person will be responsible for creating content and overseeing the design of your blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed as well as write any e-books and online presentations.

Salary Ranges for Social Media Managers

  • The salary range for this in-house position can run from $32,500-$55,000 for a social media manager or community manager, although a Director or VP can earn 3 times that.

Components of Your Social Media Budget

Your budget should account for three phases of social media spending:

1. Strategy and Planning

  • In this phase, budget for time to research tools, identify outside contractors who can help you develop your social media strategy and tactics, and staff time to interact with your contractors.
  • Don’t forget to account for the time and expenses necessary to promote your new social sites through your existing media campaign.

2. Campaign Launch

  • Budget for in-house staff hours and outside contractors to design and develop your blog, design a skin for your Twitter page, and populate your Facebook page with content.
  • You’ll also want to account for the cost of implementing tools for listening to and growing your fan base and Twitter followers.

3. Ongoing Support

  • After you launch, you’ll want to budget for staff and contractor time for creating ongoing content and promotions, and refreshing the design of your blog and Twitter skin.
  • In addition, you’ll want to keep up with the ever evolving technology tools to monitor your audience and to keep adding friends and followers.
  • Because social media is moving so fast, you may also want to budget for your staff to attend at least one annual conference on the latest tools and tips.

Total Costs for Your Social Media Strategy

  • A recent Marketing Sherpa study found that on average, participants spend 11% of their total online/digital marketing budgets on social media.
  • The IT Services Marketing Association polled its members and found that B to B marketers are spending 14% of their online/digital marketing budgets on social.
  • An e-Marketer survey broke those numbers down further and found that 60% of social spending is for in-house salaries, while 40% goes to outside agencies, consultants and service providers.

That’s what we’ve learned about budgeting for social media in leisure marketing.  How does that compare to what you’re doing?


20 ways to make sure your travel and leisure campaign goes viral.

July 18, 2012

There are lots of reasons people decide to spread your idea.  Internet marketing guru Seth Godin recently shared 20 of them.

How can you ensure the online videos you create for your YouTube channel go viral?

As travel and leisure marketing specialists, my ad agency uses a number of successful strategies to help our ideas go viral.  But I recommend testing every strategy against the teachings of uberblogger and internet marketing guru Seth Godin.

Seth Godin believes there are twenty reasons people choose to spread your ideas.

I spread your idea…

  1. …because it makes me feel generous.
  2. …because I feel smart alerting others to what I discovered.
  3. …because I care about the outcome and want you (the creator of the idea) to succeed.
  4. …because I have no choice. Every time I use your product, I spread the idea (Hotmail, iPad, a tattoo).
  5. …because there’s a financial benefit directly to me (Amazon affiliates, mlm).
  6. …because it’s funny and laughing alone is no fun.
  7. …because I’m lonely and sharing an idea solves that problem, at least for a while.
  8. …because I’m angry and I want to enlist others in my outrage (or in shutting you down).
  9. …because both my friend and I will benefit if I share the idea (Groupon).
  10. …because you asked me to, and it’s hard to say no to you.
  11. …because I can use the idea to introduce people to one another, and making a match is both fun in the short run and community-building.
  12. …because your service works better if all my friends use it (email, Facebook).
  13. …because if everyone knew this idea, I’d be happier.
  14. …because your idea says something that I have trouble saying directly (AA, a blog post, a book).
  15. …because I care about someone and this idea will make them happier or healthier.
  16. …because it’s fun to make another teen snicker about prurient stuff we’re not supposed to see.
  17. …because the tribe needs to know about this if we’re going to avoid an external threat.
  18. …because the tribe needs to know about this if we’re going to maintain internal order.
  19. …because it’s my job.
  20. I spread your idea because I’m in awe of your art and the only way I can repay you is to share that art with others.

Savvy travel and leisure marketing experts could take any one of these ideas and build a viral marketing strategy around it.

If Seth’s ideas make sense to you, check out his book on word of mouth and viral marketing, Unleashing the Idea Virus.

Your thoughts?

Travel marketing: 10 questions to ask yourself before writing your social media strategy.

October 24, 2011

Having trouble writing your social media plan?  Start by answering 10 simple questions:

  1. What audience do I want to communicate with?
  2. What is the compelling story of my brand that I want to share with them?
  3. What type of social content will I provide? (Conversational, Informational, Helpful, Promotional, Listening, Aggregate)
  4. Who will manage my social media marketing?
  5. How will the social workload be shared within my organization?
  6. Does my entire staff, including senior management, understand and use social media?
  7. Am I personally using or experimenting with any social channels?
  8. Have I developed a social media policy?
  9. How much effort am I planning on putting into my social media campaign? (Listen, Maintain, Engage)
  10. What goals or metrics am I considering to measure the effectiveness of my social media campaign?

Now that you’ve gotten the building blocks, use these  5 resources to help you write your social media strategy:

  1. How to write a social media proposal
  2. How to create a social media strategy
  3. How to write your social media plan in 8 steps
  4. How much should a social media strategy cost
  5. How to write a social media policy

Looking for more answers to your social media questions?  Check out 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: 12 simple ways to get more likes on your Facebook page.

January 7, 2011

Here are 14 tips and tricks to get more people to pay attention to your Facebook page.

Looking for some simple ways to increase your likes on Facebook, without investing a lot of extra money?

Hubspot inbound marketing consultant Diana Freedman recently posted some tips on Hubspot worth repeating:

1. Employees

People are more likely to follow pages that already have some sort of following, so send an email asking your employees to help build your initial numbers by liking your facebook page.

2. Partners, Vendors, Clients, and Customers

People are more likely to like your Facebook page if they have a business relationship with you. So don’t be afraid to send a personal email to partners, vendors, clients, and customers, inviting them to like you.

3. E-mail Signature

Create a signature template that includes links to your social sites, and encourage your coworkers to use this signature as well.

4. Blog comments

When you make a comment on a blog post, link to your most active social media profile (usually Twitter or Facebook) in a signature-like style.

5. White papers, Webinars, Guides

Link to your social media profiles on your whitepaper cover page, webinar thank you page, one-page guide footer, etc.

6. Contact or About Us Pages

Including links to your social media profiles on your contact us or about us page will reinforce the idea that your customers and prospects can reach out to you in social media just like they could via email or phone.

7. Business Cards

Include your Facebook page on your business card, and you’ll be surprised how many vendors and business partners will like your page.

8. Direct Mail

Include links to your social media profiles on any direct mail pieces you send, including catalogs, coupons, or any other direct mail asset.

9. Like Box on Website

Install a Facebook Like Box (formerly known as Facebook Fan Box) on your website. Your blog page, homepage, and other high-trafficked page sidebars are good places to install a Like Box.

10. Hide Content From Non-Likers

Create a default tab on your Facebook business page that contains content hidden from anyone who has not yet liked your page. Once someone likes your page, they can see the offer/content you had hidden. This is a great incentive for someone to like your page.

11. Suggest to Friends Button

Encourage your employees to use the Suggest to Friends feature to share your Facebook business page with any of their friends who would be interested in reading your updates.

13. Invite Friends Tab

Add an “invite friends” tab and periodically encourage your fans to head over to invite their friends who might be interested in reading your updates.

Want more followers on your Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites?

Check out Diana’s ideas for these social sites at 25 Ways to Get More Social Media Followers.

What are you doing to get more Likes on your Facebook page? Tell us about it.

Leisure marketing: 20 opinion leaders predict what’s coming.

January 5, 2011

What the top leisure marketing experts are predicting this year for restaurants, retail, travel, food, fashion, fitness and more.

It’s that time of year again when everyone on the internet is making predictions about what’s going to happen in 2011.

Rather than add to the clutter, I thought you might find useful my top 20 favorite lists of trends and predictions from some of the most trusted names in leisure marketing:

  1. Beauty trends from Elle magazine
  2. Bike and gear trends from Bicycling magazine
  3. Consumer trends from
  4. Consumer electronics trends from CES 2011
  5. Digital advertising predictions from Mashable
  6. Fashion trends from
  7. Fitness trends from Outside Magazine
  8. Food trends from Supermarket Guru
  9. Global consumer trends from JWT Intelligence
  10. Hispanic marketing trends from Think Multicultural
  11. Hotel trends from Smart Meetings
  12. Luxury travel trends from Luxury Travel magazine
  13. Mobile marketing predictions from the Mobile Marketing Association
  14. PR trends predictions from PRSA
  15. Restaurant trends from Nation’s Restaurant News
  16. Retail trends from Retail It
  17. Search engine marketing predictions from Search Engine Land
  18. Social media predictions from Social Media Examiner
  19. Technology predictions from VentureBeat
  20. Travel trends forecast from TripAdvisor

That’s what some of my favorite news and opinion sources are predicting for this year. How about you? What kinds of trends are you seeing develop? Tell us about it.

Leisure marketing: 5 questions to ask yourself when your social media strategy isn’t working anymore.

December 22, 2010

It might be time to take the next step and create stronger content, personality, conversation, or focus.

Social media is one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of a leisure marketing specialist.

Your social sites should be driving traffic to your website and leads to your sales team.  If they’re not, it’s time to ask yourself these five questions:

1. Have I established a two-way conversation with my audience?

It isn’t enough just to share content on your social sites. Followers of your sites want to talk to you. Reply to tweets, comment on posts left on your Facebook wall, or answer a question in LinkedIn Answers.

2. Do my social sites express a strong personality?

People want to connect with other people, not brands.

But if you create a voice that people can identify with, and pick someone like your CEO or Marketing Director to be the social face for your brand, people pay attention to you more.

3. Am I using the right social media tools?

You don’t need to have a presence on every social media site out there. Focus on the sites that are more relevant to your business. If you’re a B2B company you might get more leads using

LinkedIn, Slideshare and Twitter. If you’re a consumer brand, Facebook and Twitter might do the trick.

4. Am I posting enough fresh content to my social sites?

If you’re hosting a blog, you need to post new content at least 3 times a week. If you’ve developed a Twitter audience, you need to feed them 2-3 tweets a day. Got a You Tube channel?  Upload a new video once a week.

5.  Is my content appropriate to my audience?

The biggest problem I see with corporate blogs today is that they often have too many content creators and not enough focus.

If you’ve got a few writers creating content for you, set some editorial guidelines for them. Then make sure your contributors are staying on topic and writing content that surprises and delights your readers.

According to Diana Freedman, an inbound marketing specialist at Hubspot, there are at least 9 Reasons Your Social Media Strategy Isn’t Working.

If you market a leisure brand, what are you doing to test and adjust your social media strategy?  What kinds of questions do you ask when your social results don’t meet expectations? Talk to us.

%d bloggers like this: