How to Run a Travel Promotion

The steps to go through, and our top tips for success 

The challenge brands face to effectively make an impact on today’s consumers is getting bigger and bigger. In a sea of noise, lacklustre promotional campaigns are quickly overshadowed by those with an innovative, tactical approach. But there’s no reason why your campaign shouldn’t make an impact too!

Travel is a hot topic

Modern consumers are throwing their desires for material goods overboard, and are instead eager for the chance to experience something new and exciting. So it’s no wonder the industry has grown so dramatically…

So, what’s behind this new generation of globetrotters? The rise of SMART marketing and online connections!

Exposure to unforgettable content on a daily basis has sparked an intense desire to explore the unknown. Whether it’s experience days, festivals, sporting events, or a five-star luxury holiday, demand is hotter than ever before. And those that respond to this – and do so well – will position themselves as a prominent brand in their industry.

But don’t get ahead of yourself! To catch the attention of your target audience, and get one up on the competition, focus on seamlessly delivering an unforgettable travel or experience promotional campaign.

We always recommend seeking help from the pros to ensure your campaign runs smoothly from start to finish. But to get you started – here are six steps to prepare you for take off…

Step 1: The brief

Creating a brief will help you bring strategy and stability to the whole process. After all, the outcome of a promotion relies on the quality of the brief. Before jumping in at the deep end, brands must decide upon achievable objectives.

To do this, you need to define the:

  • Demographic
  • Prize budget
  • Prize structure
  • Product and theme
  • Mechanics of the promotion, and how it's being communicated
  • Timeframes
  • ROI

Whether this is targeting your consumers, or being used as an incentive for employees, working out who exactly your campaign is aimed at will go a long way in securing its success.

Just remember, steps two through six must now align with the objectives you have outlined in the brief. A thorough brief will highlight the parameters of your campaign – a great platform from which you can start the design phase.

Step 2: Inspiration, research and costing

There’s a whole range of unique experiences and destinations to offer consumers. But it is always difficult working out which is most suited to your audience and – crucially – within budget.

To properly win the hearts of your consumers, the design needs to catch both their eye and their imagination. By bringing in the experts at this point you can receive the necessary guidance to design a stand-out promotion that aligns with your brand and attracts big attention.

But, to get started on your own, there are two things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Keep your options open
  2. Cover all costs

Do your research and refer back to the brief. This will help you find a relevant, achievable, and desirable destination (be realistic). Now you can focus on the budget!

Costs can include:

  • Transportation
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation
  • Insurance
  • Currency exchange
  • Added extras

Be sure you cover all bases to avoid unwanted surprise bills at the end of the campaign.

Step 3: Travel logistics

From VISAs and vaccinations to language barriers and time differences – there’s more to designing a campaign than simply choosing a dream destination!

To ensure your campaign runs smoothly throughout, work out everything your prize winner might need, and how you can deliver this to them.

Every promotion is unique. Be sure to cover every base and identify potential logistical issues in the early stages of development to avoid an unfavourable outcome.

Step 4: Design logistics

With stiff competition coming at you from all directions, you need to be sure your campaign stands out and makes a lasting impression on consumers.

A big part of this is choosing the right mechanics. Not only will they need to align with your brand and your target audience, but they need to be well thought out to avoid over and under redemption.

Brands must also outline the precise rules and regulations behind each one that’s used. The design phase is the time where brands can inject creativity and individuality into a campaign, but it's also one of the riskier steps of running a promotion.

Free ebook: Brands on Tour  Yes, brands! Find out everything you'll need to think about for a successful  travel promotion in our free ebook.

Step 5: Receiving a winner

Once a prize winner is chosen, it's all hands on deck! It's vital to contact winners promptly and make sure they abide by any specific terms and conditions.

Blunders, mishaps and other circumstances outside of anyone's control will need to be dealt with as soon as possible, and with great attention to detail.

If there is a time in your campaign something is most likely to go wrong, it's now.

Contacting and confirming details with the prize winner as soon as possible will minimise problems further down the line.

Step 6: Delivering the prize

The promotion doesn’t stop when you receive the winners! It's important – now more than ever – to focus on customer experience and ultimate satisfaction. You want your winners to feel safe, secure, and satisfied – all of which rely on superb communication.

Make sure they know what they are doing and when, and that you are doing everything you can to deliver the experience of a lifetime!

And don’t just stop there. Maintaining communication before, during and after the trip will show consumers you care and provide you with vital information that will benefit your next campaign.

Top tips for really making a splash

Our consumer promotions experts have put together a few extra tips to help your campaign go off without a hitch...

  • Can you actually promote the headline prize? Advertising tickets to events such as festivals, sporting events, concerts and the Olympics can be extremely difficult and, in some cases, impossible! If you're not a sponsor of an event, the chances are that you will not be able to promote it. Tickets can also have specific terms and conditions around using them as prizes which need to be researched and taken into consideration.
  • Are there any age restrictions that need to be considered? Many prizes will have a minimum age restriction in place, but it needs to be checked for all elements of the prize as there are some that are not well-known or obvious.  For example, two 18-year-olds can’t travel to America and check into a hotel without problems, as the minimum age is 21. Similarly, a family trip to Lapland with a husky safari sounds like a holiday of a lifetime, but it needs to be remembered that children have to be a minimum age of seven for the safari, and this could cause a problem for some families.
  • It's best to avoid a tight turnaround between the competition and the event or holiday, as this can cause difficulties. For example, an on-pack promotion that runs until June to win tickets to Wireless Festival is a great prize, and sure to attract a lot of attention.  However, the event takes place in July, so the chances are by the time the winners names are known there will be no tickets left. It's also important to keep in mind that visas are required for some destinations, and time has to be allowed for the winner to obtain one. Likewise, it's no good assuming that all the people who enter a competition for a trip abroad have a valid passport. It's important to build time into the schedule for them to renew it if need be.
  • Using images to promote a prize can be problematic. As part of the look of the prize, whether on-pack or online, you may want to promote a specific attraction to stand out and really attract attention. However, permission has to be obtained from the attraction in question. If they say no, then a generic image may have to do.
  • Make sure the incentive fits the audience. Just because you want to holiday in Ibiza, it doesn’t mean your customer does! It's essential to know the profile and age of the target audience but also, in general terms, the interests that would make them change their behaviour and put your brand into their shopping trolley ahead of another.
  • Terms and conditions should be published openly and honestly so everyone knows where they stand. This can include the cost of a phone call or text to enter, age restrictions, closing dates for the competition, or restrictions on when a holiday can be taken. If you're able to pay for it, then approval of terms and conditions by the Institute of Promotional Marketing is essential to make sure the promotion is above board and watertight.


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