Maximise Your Destination Marketing Campaign with a Travel Trade Partner
Integrating a co-operative travel trade partner into your destination marketing strategy is a smart way to both promote your destination and drive an often impressive ROI.
Yet, with so many potential marketing partners to choose from, it’s important to critically evaluate your options before signing a contract.
Depending on your destination marketing strategy, you may want to assess working with wholesalers such as Viva Holidays, touring companies such as Intrepid, retailers such as Flight Centre, online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia or Luxury Escapes, and even airlines. We haven’t even touched on amplification through media titles yet!
Any partner should be assessed on (at least) four considerations:
- Depth of (your) destination product available
- Opportunity for further product development
- Size of agency and B2B opportunities:
- The larger the agency, the more agents that can be educated about your product or destination
- B2B opportunities include utilising your partner’s online training programs for education, their sales team to assist with messaging, and/or the ability to distribute content via company channels
- An ability to leverage existing content to increase reach
- Addition of evergreen content e.g. destination guides or itineraries
- A shared target customer profile and established relationships with your key audiences
- Additional channels they can bring to the table e.g. owned and social channels, training incentives, e-newsletters
- The fit with your marketing strategy and/or ability to share key insights
- Great knowledge and product in your market and ability to effectively sell your destination
- The potential to share the cost of your campaign
CURRENT TRAVEL TRADE ENGAGEMENT
- A commitment to training the wider travel industry
- Key events which you can attend
- Educational tools/webinars in which you can be included
If you are a regional tourism organisation, for example, you might look to partner with traditional retailer Helloworld – and its wholesalers Sunlover and Viva Holidays. This partnership will give you access to travel agents (the frontline!), training opportunities, social and owned channels, plus eDM distribution with shared audiences i.e. multiple touchpoints for your co-operative campaign to be seen and therefore increase visitation to your destination.
One recent example is Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and Luxury Escapes. Port Macquarie-Hastings Council wanted to expand its local partners’ distribution as well as raise destination awareness amongst Australians. Partnering with Luxury Escapes, marketing surrounding the campaign included Instagram and Facebook posts, with a Mantra the Observatory package offered online and eDM as the call-to-action.
To authentically tell the destination story, Gate 7 worked with local Port Macquarie photographer and influencer Lisa Michele Burns, who took part in Luxury Escapes’ Instagram Story Q&As and a one-day takeover. A detailed destination guide was shared on the Luxury Escapes website, showcasing what to eat, see, and do in Port Macquarie.
The campaign resulted in 996 hotel packages, 3177 room nights, 4,873 PAX, and $530,000 revenue for Mantra the Observatory.
Travel trade partners are also great for media campaign calls-to-action
Before COVID stopped us from our beloved travelling (who’s with us on that first outbound flight?!), Brand USA New Zealand sought the help of the largest privately-owned Kiwi travel company, House of Travel, to provide an exclusive call-to-action for a consumer campaign titled ‘Go Beyond’.
Designed to inspire and engage Kiwis to go beyond a U.S. city or state they would normally visit, House of Travel set up a dedicated landing page with tactical air and packaged deals aligning with the destinations featured in NZME’s content schedule, as well as a competition for one lucky winner to receive a $10,000NZ travel voucher.
Gate 7 and House of Travel worked with NZME’s radio station and partnering airlines to implement 38 individual House of Travel store activations, touring an impressive, branded hot dog stand to each. Based on new airline routes, the ‘Incredible Hot Dog Tour’ showcased various U.S. city-themed hot dogs that were handed out to agents and customers, driving mass education and engagement.
Luckily, most of us in the world of travel are used to working with multiple partners.
Don’t limit yourself to just one and think about which other travel brands could assist in promoting and selling your destination. For instance, bring on-board (excuse the pun) an airline, car hire company, or hotel to provide a competition prize and significantly extend your budget. You can also jointly create content that can be repurposed and leveraged across multiple channels for all partners. Once you’re in it together, you’ll be surprised at how far your tactical marketing campaign can go.
When Travelex approached Gate 7 and its client San Diego Tourism Authority with a proposed content campaign to promote their Travel Money Card, their immediate need was securing an appropriate destination partner for a competition prize. But, recognising a much greater opportunity, Gate 7 pitched a comprehensive campaign optimisation that would include the addition of airline partner, American Airlines, the power of two well-known influencers – Little Grey Box, plus a dash of our “create once, publish often” mentality to extract as much value as possible from every asset.
The resulting campaign exceeded expectations with an ROI of 517:1 (USD), more than 20,000 unique competition entries, visibility at airports across the country, and more than 2.5 million social impressions.
Co-operative campaigns don’t drive extensive reach, distribution, efficiency, and increased visitation without a strong partnership, clear goals, and experienced stewardship.
Over 22 years, Gate 7 has established strong relationships within the travel trade industry and collectively built the knowledge required to drive visitation from Australia and New Zealand to destinations around the globe. If you’d like help finding the right partner to optimise your next destination marketing campaign, give us a shout.