When I joined an adventure travel company’s marketing team as a contractor, I needed to create an integrated marketing strategy and plan for the family travel product line. In analyzing the current marketing, I learned that their family travel business was solid at 20% of the bookings, but not keeping up with the 30% annual market growth. My goal was to create the first integrated marketing plan for this product line, and also help the company take advantage of the opportunity to grow the family travel business.
I analyzed the current marketing program and found that the audience definition was lacking, marketing efforts had been ad-hoc, there were no coordinated sales enablement efforts, and the product portfolio was limited to five destinations. These were gaps that could be filled with clear audience definition and targeting, a strong integrated marketing strategy, extending the product portfolio, and educating sales on consistent messaging.
I started with the audience definition by looking at market and industry research, competitor information, interviewing the sales team, and mining CRM data. I found two segments that could drive family travel growth: Generation X Parents and Boomer Grandparents. They both desired benefits that the travel company could deliver – excellent service, shared activities, and desirable destinations. However, the Generation X Parents segment would require additional and costly awareness efforts since they were net:new audience, while the company could use existing marketing efforts to reach their current audience of Boomers.
In doing this analysis, I realized that there was a gap in the family travel product portfolio. There were only five products where there could be more simply by adding family-focused itineraries to destinations that the company already offered. I raised this opportunity to my managing director and she worked with the VP of sales and his team to expand the portfolio from 5 to 11 family trips.
I created a messaging strategy and creative direction to resonate the Boomer Grandparents. During my research, I found that Boomer Grandparents wanted to take their families on trips to celebrate milestones and show their grandchildren places they’d visited in their formative years. I created the campaign theme of“Show Them The World” to capture that benefit. I also asked the marketing manager to find consistent imagery we could use across media that showed families engaging in activities. I engaged the editor to ensure that all messaging points would encapsulate this theme and include the proof points desirable to this audience.
From this strategy, I laid out an integrated marketing plan that worked in three ways. First, it was an omni-channel plan across digital advertising, search, content marketing, web site, e-mail and social. Second, it would be truly integrated by showcasing the messaging strategy and creative direction consistently at each touch point. Finally, there were two calls to action to accommodate the typical traveler path to purchase:
1) Drive awareness of family travel trips by asking the audience to download the brochure
2) Consider specific destinations and trips by asking them to download a specific trip itinerary
Finally, I enabled the sales team, which operated by region. I put together training materials and hosted several lunch and learns to give them an overview of the new strategy and enable them to consistently sell more family trips.
This campaign was a large success and accomplished the integrated marketing campaign goals as well as growing the family travel business. Here are some of the results
- 38% increase in YoY bookings
- $2000 net increase in average booking value
- 50% increase in family travel revenue
The year following this campaign, I added a content marketing plan and nurture campaign to keep the success going.