The Power of Brand Partnerships

Brand partnerships can be an incredibly powerful marketing technique to drive visitation and return on investment for your destination. In fact, a 2017 Business Collaboration Index released by American Express revealed that mid-sized companies that engage in brand partnerships usually achieved a profit of 1.4 times their investment.

A carefully selected brand partnership can help you open up new promotional channels, supplement reduced marketing budgets, and build awareness and prestige amongst key niche audiences. Now, maybe more than ever before, brands are keen to be a part of the recovery narrative; brand partnerships allow regional tourism organisations to leverage that desire in order to create outstanding campaigns that provide benefits for both the destination and the partnering brands.

What exactly is a brand partnership?

A brand partnership is a strategic alliance between two brands to tell one cohesive story while creating a win/win partnership. Marketing trends have reflected that consumers these days (in particular Millennials and Gen Zs) are increasingly associating their identity with brands that reflect their values. A talk by Vice Media on the 24th of July 2019 in Sydney, Australia revealed that 7 out of 10 Gen Z consumers were more likely to support a brand that mirrors their values. As consumer identities become further entwined with brand identities, selecting a brand partner whose values and audience reflect yours will be essential in reaching the right audiences, and driving visitation to your destination.

For example, the all-too-recent Australian bushfires and overall heightened awareness of the climate crisis have seen the rise of the “conscious traveller,” someone who travels to support local communities and is conscious of the impact of their tourism dollars. This traveller may be motivated by volunteer opportunities to assist local communities and will respond well with a lifestyle brand that has strong sustainability and environmental values.

What kind of brands partner with destinations?

Travel brand collaborations can take various forms with a multitude of brands including (but not limited to) fashion and lifestyle, hospitality and/or finance brands.

Pro Tip! Any travel brand partnership must provide a clear point of conversion for the destination. That’s why we recommend including a direct connection to the travel trade industry by incorporating a travel agency or airline brand into the partnership.

Fashion and Lifestyle
With aligned audiences, solid point-of-sale presence, and loyal fanbases, fashion and lifestyle brands are great partners for destination marketing campaigns. Fashion shoots or influencer content provide inspiration to an engaged audience while compelling travel incentives provide retailers with opportunities to boost sales.

One of the biggest pleasures of travel is indulging in new cuisines and flavours, so naturally, travel lends itself to integration with hospitality brands. These partnerships are appealing to the hospitality brand as it allows them to grow awareness and increase sales through competitions that offer travel prizes.

Finance brands are constantly looking for opportunities to bring their relevant travel products to life and offer access to their loyalty databases and promotional investments through partnership initiatives.

What does a successful brand partnership look like?

When done correctly, an effective travel brand partnership is a proven way to access non-traditional promotional opportunities, reach engaged niche audiences, extend marketing budgets, and build awareness and prestige for both parties. Here are several examples of Gate 7 initiated brand partnerships that have achieved the above objectives:

Accessing non-traditional promotional opportunities and reaching engaged niche audiences
As an edgy youth brand with a highly engaged and hip millennial audience, General Pants Co. was the ideal partner for West Hollywood Travel & Tourism Board, whose objective was to strengthen their position as a quintessential, cool LA destination. The partnership allowed West Hollywood to be promoted across multiple channels and locations, including influencers’ social and websites, General Pants’ display windows and in-store point of sale displays as well as their social channels and eDMs.

The results: Strategically targeting a niche audience across multiple non-traditional channels and reinforcing WeHo as the ultimate LA destination generated over 15 million impressions and 280,000 likes.

Extend marketing budgets
San Diego Tourism Authority partnered with Travelex, a currency exchange provider, in a highly successful partnership that allowed both brands to achieve desired results with limited budgets. San Diego Tourism Authority leveraged Travelex’s owned advertising channels such as screens and boards in airports and shopping centres to entice travellers with winning a trip to San Diego through converting their currency with Travelex.

The results: The combined marketing budget of the two brands allowed San Diego Tourism Authority to achieve an ROI of 517:1 and delivered a media value of USD$830,063.

Building awareness and prestige
With the objective of strengthening awareness of Los Cabos as the ultimate Mexican destination, Los Cabos Tourism Board partnered with popular Mexican food retailer, MadMex, who was looking to increase sales and brand prestige. Los Cabos’ destination offerings were promoted across MadMex’s channels, eDMs, and all Australian stores and outdoor scooters, providing awareness across a myriad of consumer touchpoints. Meanwhile, MadMex customers were incentivised with winning a trip to Los Cabos, allowing the brand to increase food sales and boost prestige.

The results: Over 50 thousand sales and entries to the competition plus an 8.91% increase in email database contacts. (anticipated was 3%) There were also more than 38,000 sessions to MadMex’s website during the month-long incentive.

We’ve spent years making friends with brands inside and outside of travel to produce some pretty fantastic partnerships that generate awesome results. If that’s something you’re looking for, you should drop us a line.