5 ways travel and tourism brands can market to the Hispanic traveler

September 25, 2012

Hispanics like to bring their families on business trips.

Travel Market Report recently interviewed Kelly McDonald, author of How to Market to People Not Like You on catering to the Hispanic traveler.

Although originally addressed to travel agents, Kelly’s recommendations are good advice for any travel and tourism marketer.

To understand why you should market to Hispanics, just look at the numbers

  • According to the 2010 census, Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the U.S.
  • There are 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S. and 1 in 4 of Americans under 18 are Hispanic.
  • The Hispanic population grew by 43% from 2000-2010, and accounted for 56% of the population growth in the U.S.

Here are 5 recommendations from Kelly on how travel and tourism marketers can help attract Hispanic travelers:

1. Make it operationally easy for Spanish-speaking guests to deal with your brand

  • Present a Spanish-language option for your website, even if it’s just FAQs.
  • Do the same for your phone answering system.
  • Many Hispanics are in service industries so they work late hours. Consider extending your hours to 8 pm on weekdays and opening on weekends.

2. Speak Spanish

  • This seems obvious, but what you may not know is that many English-speaking Hispanics prefer to speak in Spanish if the choice is given to them.
  • Make sure you have at least one Spanish-speaking reservations or information agent on staff. It’s important, too that they have good travel expertise and service skills.

3.  Develop expertise in what the Hispanic market wants and needs

  • Hispanics often bring family members on business trips, so cater to spouses and kid of the Hispanic business traveler.
  • Other trends in Hispanic travel include extended family and multigenerational travel and a love of shopping. Understand them and cater to them.
  • You can also cater your menu and service offerings to Hispanics. The Westin Hotel in San Antonio serves Mexican cookies in its afternoon tea time because American cookies are too sweet for their Mexican guests.

4. Market through social media

  • If your marketing budgets are limited, social media is an efficient way to reach Hispanics.
  • Hispanics spend a larger portion of their time on social sites than other ethnic groups.
  • They also trust what their friends say on social sites more than other groups.

5. Understand that Hispanics make decisions differently

  • Hispanics usually want to involve the whole family in the decision-making process. So your reservations and customer service reps need to be more patient and consultative.

Thanks to Nick Verrastro and the crew at Travel Market Report for this excellent advice.

How about you?  What are you doing to make your travel and tourism marketing more Hispanic-friendly?

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5 ways your travel and leisure marketing can earn back the trust of women.

September 18, 2012

A study of women in 22 countries identified 5 ways brands are failing women, and 5 strategies to earn back their trust.

A landmark study found that women control 73% of household spending, but feel neglected by many brands.

Authors Michael and Kate Sayre, partners atBoston Consulting Group recently published a book: Women Want More: How to capture your share of the world’s largest, fastest growing market .

The landmark study upon which the book is based traced the attitudes and purchasing habits of 12,000 women in twenty-two countries.

The study found that women control 73% of household spending, and $4.3 trillion in consumer spending in the U.S. alone.

But it found that women the world over are dissatisfied with the products and services they buy. The reason?

Many companies don’t take the time to understand the issues modern women face, and create products that fail to meet their needs.

The authors found that women are having difficulty balancing all the roles they are called to play at home and in their job. They’re time-starved and stressed out.

And they  struggle to balance what the authors call “the job at the job and the job at home.”

The book reports that companies fail to meet the needs of women in five key ways:

  1. They are not addressing women’s need for time-saving solutions.
  2. They have poor product design and customization for women.
  3. Their sales and marketing efforts are clumsy and often insulting to women.
  4. They fail to align with women’s values or develop community.
  5. They don’t ‘give back’ to society as well or as much as they could.

The authors offer five ways that travel & leisure brands can earn the loyalty of women:

  1. Take the time to understand and tailor your product to their needs and values.
  2. Create products and services that save women time.
  3. Demonstrate your own values and commitment to the community.
  4. Empower your sales force to be more responsive.
  5. Offer 24/7 access to customer service, and product information that’s simple and easy to find

According to the study, women place a premium on the following values:

  • Love
  • Health
  • Honesty
  • Emotional Wellbeing.

Women want the brands they buy to understand those values, and offer them services that honor them.

According to Ms. Sayer, “Take care of those core values,and companies can really connect with women.”

How is your travel & leisure brand connecting with women? What changes have you made to reach better connect to women’s wants and needs? Talk to us.


Tell me again: Why should guests care about your travel brand?

September 6, 2012

When I moved to Denver 18 years ago, it seemed like a long way off from the work-obsessed, almost cult-like ad community I left behind in Minneapolis.

Then I started meeting a few of the natives. And saw what they were doing with their free time.

Up and down my street, and in office after office at work,  I met people who worked hard. And played even harder.

I met people who plotted and planned out every minute of their evenings, weekends and vacations like it just might be their last.

They mountain biked, kayaked, fly fished and tent camped in the summer.

They skied, went snowboarding,  ice climbed and went snowshoeing in the winter.

Somewhere in there, they found time to take vacations to exotic resorts, desolate beaches and undiscovered four and five-star hotels in Asian and Eastern European cities I had never heard of.

In between trips and treks, they talked my ear off about their passions, and the latest travel and outdoor recreational brands  that helped keep their adrenaline pumping.

And I began to understand the difference between a customer and a follower.

That brings us to your brand.

Have you created the kind of product or place that people can’t stop talking about? Is your brand worthy of someone’s full and undivided passion?

Do the people who follow your brand feel like you get them? Do you participate in their conversations enough to know what they love? And hate?

Do you wrap your brand in the same love that intoxicates your followers?

If so, I know 3 million people here in Colorado who can’t wait to meet and talk to you.

If you don’t, I know another 300 million Americans who can’t wait to ignore you.



Travel and leisure marketing: Is it time to re-think your policy on single travelers?

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:

  • Cruises
  • 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.


Travel and leisure marketing: 5 sites that are changing the way travelers shop.

August 30, 2012

Several websites and apps are helping reinvent the travel space.

If you’re a travel marketer, it’s important to understand how these sites are changing the travel game, and how you can use them to attract new guests and gather competitive intelligence.

Here are five fast-growing concepts leading travel experts say are leading us into the future.

1. HotelTonight is an iPhone and Android app that delivers day of booking hotel discounts.

The app gives consumers the ability to book a hotel the same day they need it, at a steeply discounted rate.

The site partners with hotels with too much inventory to fill open rooms with last-minute guests, and save them up to 70% off the hotel price.

Implication for travel marketers: If you’re a hotelier, consider partnering with HotelTonight to sell out your remaining day-of inventory.

2. Backbid allows travelers with a flexible hotel reservation to solicit other hoteliers for better deals.

They post their reservation on the site and wait to see if other hotels will offer them a lower rate or incentives to move a booking over to the second hotel.

Implication for travel marketers: This site gives you an opportunity to see the rates your competitors are offering in real-time, and decide if you want to beat them.

3. Room 77 is built on the philosophy that you should be able to choose a room in a hotel like a seat on an airplane.

Room 77 offers you the chance to see what rooms look like in a hotel and instructs visitors on how to book that exact room. So far, they have well over half a million room sin their database.

Implication for travel marketers: This is one more site to showcase your property and market your inventory to savvy travelers. 

4. Hipmunk is a new flight metasearch site that takes travel planning to the granular level.

In their own words, the site”takes the agony out of travel planning” by giving you more information on your flight.

For instance, if you like to sleep on the airplane, you can find out which ones will be “dark flights.” It also displays in as simple a format as you can get, the flights that are cheapest, quickest, and have the shortest stopovers.

Implications for travel marketers: This is just one more example of how much detail travelers now want in their searches. Look for ways to provide more detailed searches on your site.

5. Gogobot  is built on the belief that people want travel advice from people they trust.

So it offers travelers tips and advice from a member’s network of family, friends and business colleagues.

Implications for travel marketers:  The Gogobot phenomenon proves that people are using social media to make more and more of their travel decisions.

Make sure you’re monitoring social sites like this and responding to both positive and negative comments.

Thanks to EyeforTravel for identifying these sites for their North American Innovation Award. By the way, HotelTonight won, and Hipmunk was the runner up!


Travel and leisure marketing: Are Americans suffering from vacation deprivation?

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.


Destination marketing: Higher taxes are no way to treat a guest.

August 17, 2012

Are travel taxes taking too big a bite out of your guests’ wallets?

A study by the U.S. Travel Association has raised new concerns that high travel taxes are affecting travel habits. 

Is it time to re-think your attitude on travel taxes?

In an era of declining tax revenues, travelers are considered an easy target by local, county and state governments.

But according to Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, public officials need to think of travelers as important contributors to local businesses and jobs.

According to Dow,”Few public officials understand how rising travel taxes influence consumer behavior and impact the economy.”

To help, the USTA announced a study of consumer attitudes by its  Travel Tax Institute.

The research reveals that taxation has a clear impact on travel planning and spending decisions. Among the key findings:

  • High Taxes Alter Travel Plans: 49% of travelers say that high travel taxes have caused them to stay at less expensive hotels, spend less on shopping and entertainment, and visit during the off-season.
  • Taxes on Hotels, Airfare High: 68% of travelers rated hotel taxes as “very high” (35%) or “high” (33%); 66% rated taxes on airfare as “very high” (38%) or “high” (28%).
  • Rental Car Taxes Much Too High: Nearly two out of three travelers surveyed (64%) say that the total tax rate on rental cars is “much more” than they expected to pay.
  • Travelers See Taxes Rising: Nearly two-thirds (65%) say they expect to pay higher travel taxes in the year ahead; only two percent believe taxes will decrease.
  • Travel Taxes Should Fund Travel Infrastructure: 60% of travelers said travel taxes should be reinvested in travel infrastructure, such as roads and airports.

Another 49% said “travel/tourism marketing and promotion” also would be an appropriate use of the revenues.

Only 14% cited “non-travel related expenditures” such as “contributions to government general funds” as an “appropriate” use of travel taxes

What do you think? Are high travel taxes affecting your guest’s decisions?

What are you doing about it? We’d love to hear your take on this important issue.

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