On Thursday 13 September 2018, Figaro Digital were joined by digital marketers in the travel and leisure sector at The Hospital Club, Covent Garden, for an informative morning of presentations, deep-dive discussion groups, and networking. With digital impacting every aspect of this sector from holiday research and booking to how consumers interact with brands, the travel and leisure sector is at a stage of constant innovation and incredible possibilities.
We had a variety of industry and sector experts speaking at the event, including: Jessica Stephens, CMO at TrustedHousesitters; Daniel Reed, VP of Merchandising at Expedia Group; Jon Mowat, MD at Hurricane; Matt Tilling, Senior Digital Analyst & UX Lead at Reckless; and Simon Haven, MD at KMP Digitata. Here, we dive into their presentations and take a look at the latest in user-generated content, brand loyalty, video marketing, emotional appeals, and how to get the most out of your marketing team and tools in the travel and leisure sector from the #FigDigTravel Spotlight.
With a staggering 25 per cent of pet owners never travelling due to their commitment to their pets and the difficulty of finding somewhere to house them when away, it is no wonder that TrustedHousesitters has been such a success. However, the business wouldn’t work without the army of animal lovers who jump in to save the day to house/cat/dog sit whilst also getting a little holiday themselves. With this global community of pet lovers, TrustedHousesitters was sitting on a goldmine of user-generated content and wasn’t using it anywhere near enough within their acquisition marketing.
In her quick-fire presentation Jessica Stephens, Chief Marketing Officer at TrustedHousesitters, discussed the three ways TrustedHousesitters have used user-generated content from their members to drive social proof, articles for SEO, and even to fuel a successful global PR and link building campaign – known as the 12 Days of Sitmas. This campaign, amongst others, has allowed TrustedHousesitters to unlock previously unavailable content by incentivising, find real stories to develop an authentic voice across all marketing, and find super users to involve in content plans. With hundreds of thousands of registered users, curation is the key to their success.
View Jessica’s presentation here.
How should travel brands think about customer loyalty to drive profitability? According to Harvard Business Review, “fully connected customers” are over 50 percent more valuable, on average, than the highly satisfied customer. Customer satisfaction, in fact, only makes up a part of brand loyalty with other aspects of brand loyalty including quality of product, image, market share, and customer experience with the brand or product. So we know that customer loyalty is important. But, as Daniel Reed, VP of Merchandising at Expedia Group argues, the kind of loyalty brands want isn’t one garnered by rewards programmes or loyalty cards – 71 per cent of people don’t think loyalty programmes improve loyalty at all.
What Daniel discusses in his presentation is that ‘brand loyalty’ doesn’t actually mean loyalty at all, but rather trust. To build trust a business needs to understand the needs of their customer and deliver on those needs. So, it’s no wonder that the top 10 loyalty leaders of 2017 include business giants like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Netflix. Each of these brands focus on one part of the trust equation as part of their business model – Amazon focus on customer service and Apple on customer needs – whilst also being proficient at the other aspect of the trust equation. For further insights into how to apply the trust equation to the travel and leisure sector watch Daniel’s presentation.
View Daniel’s presentation here.
Video is the most effective way to meet your marketing objectives from raising awareness to increasing engagement and sales – increasing conversion rates by 86 per cent. And according to Nicola Mandelson, CEO of Facebook, “The Future is video, video, video,” and it is only a matter of time before all business’ will be taking advantage of a channel that drives reaction and engagement rates better than any other media. One of the many reasons for videos skyrocketing success is the effect they have on us. Our smartphones are dopamine pumps, with every bright light, colour, and notification getting us stuck into compulsion loops that make us check our phones on average every seven and a half minutes (or more for those truly addicted to their screens). Why does this effect video? Well, with 60 per cent of net traffic now on mobile and touch devices, what was the ‘normal’ way to watch content is no longer the norm. In addition to this, we respond positively to movement, something that give us a sense of ownership such as viewing content on our smartphone, and emotional storytelling.
That’s all well and good, but how do you harness the emotional power of video storytelling to meet your goals? Jon Mowat, Managing Director at Hurricane, provided the delegates with an outline of the practical steps for marketing professionals in Leisure and Hospitality looking to deliver better results with video content. To develop your own brand story that engages your audience emotionally and gets results you need to focus on the right part of the purchase journey, use the right metrics to measure success, unleash your hidden weapon, and watch Jon’s presentation.
View Jon’s presentation here.
Is there an over-reliance on promotional incentives to encourage conversions within the travel, leisure and tourism landscape? Do we really need to discount? Matt Tilling, Senior Digital Analyst & UX Lead at Reckless, delivered a quick-fire session looking at Consumer Behaviours and Psychological Techniques. However, before you can even think about incorporating emotional techniques into your digital marketing strategy, Matt argues that the most important action to take is completing the the BS Test. The BS Test, more commonly known as website hygiene work, consists of ensuring that your website isn’t Broken and isn’t Slow. Otherwise, regardless of what you throw at your digital marketing strategy you customers simply won’t convert.
Once you have graduated from the BS School of Website Hygiene, you are ready to move onto the Consumer Behaviours and Psychological Techniques that you can use to achieve great results without such heavy reliance on promotions. Matt has split these techniques into two primary emotional appeals: ‘Delight Techniques’ and ‘Fear Appeals’. On a cheery note, Matt kicks-off with the delight appeals which range from reciprocation to choice-supportive bias. However, it is the fear appeals that rule the roost with negative emotions effecting us incredibly deeply including cognitive dissonance, loss aversion or #FOMO, scarcity and urgency, and finally a need for closure. Watch Matt’s presentation for more insight into these emotional appeals and practical examples of them in use – enticing consumers to make that desired action.
View Matt’s presentation here.
With the proliferation of tools covering many aspects of digital marketing, how can you cut through the noise and make sure you are solving business challenges quickly, efficiently, and using the right blend of people and tools? Simon Haven, Managing Director at KMP Digitata, didn’t want to talk to the delegates about KMP Digitata, digital, or even the travel and leisure sector, but rather how to stop wasting time by being lean. In Simon’s view, wasting your time or anyone else’s is the most despicable thing you can do. Time is precious and you can never get the countless hours spent in meetings that go nowhere, writing documents that never get read, and delays because things aren’t, well, ‘perfect’.
Simon explained the processes that have helped KMP Digitata and their clients get lean and achieve amazing results quickly, using and integrating widely available marketing tools. This presentation is jam-packed with examples of how you can get nimble and optimise the time (and money) you spend working on your digital marketing strategies by valuing collaboration over documentation, breaking down large projects into smaller manageable steps you can all learn from, and identifying and focusing on the the most important aspect of your campaign. Find out exactly why KMP Digitata specialise in making the complex digital seem simple and manageable in Simon’s presentation.
View Simon’s presentation here.