One of the things I personally struggled with while setting up my Travel Agency is how I could develop a luxury brand personality and get people to buy into the experiences we were offering, without actively marketing our services.
As the world shifts and turns around us, things we once knew fall to irrelevance. People change, times change, generations change, and with that so does the behavior and consumption patterns of goods and services. What worked a few years ago might be completely irrelevant now, and what works for one type of service might not work for the other.
If you’re an organization that aims to help people live an experience. If you seek to develop a brand personality and voice that breathes ‘Luxury’, then you would know by now that traditional forms of marketing often go against the basic rules of luxury marketing.
The key lies in striking the perfect balance. And that’s what I hope to address with this article — how to go beyond limits and develop a luxury experience-based brand identity.
So read on for a few tips and tricks I picked up along the way.
- Think Platform: Meet your Clients halfway
Instead of waiting, hoping, and paying for people to stumble into your website, meet your clients in platforms that they already frequent.
There are a lot of different platforms you could consider for this purpose. MeetUp is one such social platform geared towards fostering local communities who get together for a common aim and purpose. It has become increasingly popular for travel agents to create groups wherein they post about their trips and “meet ups.” For example, OutdoorAholics is a London based community that seeks to organize international outdoor groups who travel together in the common interests of hiking, mountaineering, etc. EscapeDubai is a group that arranges international trips for Dubai residents. Be it a trip abroad, or an adventure trip, you can create and foster an international community relevant to your brand identity.
If you’re an agent seeking to set up events within your domestic borders, then you can also use CitySocializer, which is a similar platform as MeetUp, but more locally focused.
Why is this so beneficial? Because these platforms fetch you natural, built-in sales and marketing for minimal effort. You also gain exposure to an international clientele that might not have heard of your services otherwise.
People these days spend most of their time in platforms, It is thus easy and beneficial to meet your audience where they already are.
- Don’t underestimate the power of Email Marketing
It’s true that a larger number of people frequent Facebook, and that Facebook is the best forum to gain visibility. However, it is also a “borrowed” medium, and as such you cannot control it, the rules keep changing and shifting, and you can’t control who sees your page and what impact it has. While you should definitely maintain a Facebook presence, you should focus more on a medium you can control, that is, Email marketing.
With Email marketing the greatest challenge I personally faced is gathering a big enough list of agencies and people to whom I could send out the newsletters, getting new subscribers was an even bigger effort. However, once you develop connections and gather a set of loyal subscribers, it’s far easier to maintain them over time.
This is an audience that you can actively market to on a regular basis and they can never be taken away from you, unless your quality dips, of course.
- Top of the Funnel Marketing is crucial for Luxury-Experience Brands
Every brand needs a distinct voice and personality all of its own. However, never is that need more astute than in the case of Luxury-Experience brands, as these are focused on providing a unique ‘experience’ as opposed to just another service. Furthermore, traditional forms of marketing, as mentioned earlier, can often hurt your brand image.
This is why you need to spend more time cultivating an image, without overtly marketing it. This is where “Top of the Funnel” marketing comes in, in the form of Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and other similar platforms.
If you’re a DMC, then it’s quite crucial to get a professional photographer to regularly update your Instagram and Pinterest accounts with well-shot travel images from different destinations. While Instagram and Pinterest don’t lead to direct conversion, they can help you get the word out. Luxury brand consumers always derive their value from how other people perceive the brand, so the greater your social media visibility, the greater chances you have of attracting
- Long-form writing hasn’t yet gone out of vogue
Many people erroneously believe that in this world of quick-fixes and instant-gratification, there’s no more room for in-depth long form writing in the form of blogs and travelogues. This cannot be further from the truth. YouTube, Instagram, etc, have their value, however people who are serious about traveling still invest time in reading up on all they can. It is easy to go wrong with long-form writing, but if done right it can make a great difference.
There are avenues that celebrate long-form travel writing, such as medium.com, and you can make use of these platforms to tell your stories, to weave an experience worth having.
Travelicious is another popular platform you can take advantage of. It’s a platform wherein you can write and post travel tips and blogs. This can help you bring traffic to your own blogs and social media. The great thing about this platform is that you actually get paid for every blogpost, so you’re basically getting paid for marketing your brand!
With the great proliferation of online spaces, the audience has become far more discerning. People no longer get entirely swayed and wooed simply by great photos and descriptions. People now put far more faith in peer reviews and ratings. So you need to make sure that all your clients leave you a glowing feedback, you need to keep an eye out for any online comments and reviews that might potentially damage your brand’s image.
You can also increase your company and service transparency by detailing the entire process and details of what exactly you offer, how your company was formed, etc. It also helps to have a personal narrative of the brand or an individual in order to personalize the experience, and make it more human. This helps develop intrigue, which is what most luxury experience-based brands must play off.
- Blogging and Vlogging
This point actually leads naturally from the previous points: transparency, long-form writing, and “Top of the Funnel” marketing. Once you have a social media presence, you need to link them to a blog which you regularly update with pictures, exploration of foreign cultures, and in-depth documentation (preferably as first person narratives) about all the experiences and adventures you embark upon. These need to be written with a highly witty and unique narrative style, they need to exude your brand voice.
As for Vlogging, you can also maintain a YouTube page which is regularly updated with natural visual testimonials, and perhaps even GoPro videos of all the adventures you or your clients embark upon!
All of this will also help with transparency, the more details you give out, the more trustworthy you appear, the more likely you are to get loyal clients!
If you follow these tips and tricks then you’ll be able to market your luxury brand, without actively and overtly marketing it! If you can come up with any other tips that you might have picked up, then please do leave them down in the COMMENTS and SHARE it!