Beach, please! Good travel marketing is SO not dead

Travel. Ask any of the CN&CO team, and we’ll tell you – we’ve all been bitten by the travel bug at some point, and have a sense of adventure deep within us. Not only that, we realise how important and valuable it is to expose ourselves to different countries, different cultures, and different ideas that come with exploring the world. This not only has tremendous value for our personal growth as individuals, but also for the various teams and brands we are working with. Travelling gives us a fresh perspective, and more often than not, inspires us with new ideas and ways of doing things. Carel and Kurt recently returned from Lebanon, which seemed like a cultural adventure of sorts. We’re keen to see how their exploration and exposure to beautiful Beirut will translate into more CN&CO magic that our clients will high-five us for.

Travel as a topic is nothing new. The way travel is being marketed to consumers, however, is. It’s become a whole lot more innovative.

I’ve been watching the travel industry closely to see how brands and agencies will change their approach in appealing to consumers, particularly in light of the recent sucker punch the rand took. Having said this, I’ve noticed something interesting, particularly based on two of the world’s biggest travel brands. Yes, they try to be as financially appealing as possible to consumers, with their specials and deals. But they’re also appealing to the explorer in us all. They aren’t “just selling destinations” or “selling on price”, they’re selling experiences. They’re starting to talk to the our wanderlust.

Sure, the price of a getaway may be a big factor in our decision, but I don’t think it’s the one and only. As a consumer myself, I feel no matter the cost, if the experience being “sold” or the emotion in me being targeted is inspiring and exciting enough, we’ll find a way to make the price being charged, work.

I subscribe to a whole stack of travel newsletters to keep an eye on the latest adventures and specials on offer. Most of the time these newsletters, which arrive in my inbox on a weekly basis, almost serve as a “sedative” to calm the travel ants in my pants down – because most of the time I know I’m too busy holding down the work fort to escape for seven days to sip piña coladas on a beach in Thailand (although, with today’s remote working options that would be totally possible.)

There is the odd occasion when I tend to travel-splurge and spontaneously book an adventure thanks to a certain newsletter that creeps into my inbox (yes, I’m looking at you, STA Travel. You and your quirky marketing, blue ticket and flexi fares!)

Now, a little more detail on two brands that are doing travel marketing right.

Travel brand, exhibit A: Emirates

Emirates recently challenged seven of its staff (all of whom have a passion for travel, and who have been aptly called “Globalistas”) to explore the world and share their experiences. The tagline they went for is: “Let their passions inspire your adventures. Because nothing beats #BeingThere.”

In this instance, Emirates isn’t pushing price points or trying to sell flights. It’s pushing adventures, which, if appealing enough to the reader, they’ll be enticed to click through and book an airline ticket with Emirates. Very clever. Take a look for yourself.

Travel brand, exhibit B: Cathay Pacific

Another airline doing travel marketing in a unique way is Cathay Pacific. The airline has just launched a new global campaign, #onedayoffline, which “builds on the airline’s international brand campaign, Life Well Travelled, to demonstrate a belief that travelling well is essential to living well. This belief underlies everything that Cathay Pacific does as it strives to enhance the overall travel experience for passengers and enable them to experience more genuine, meaningful and memorable moments along their journey.”

Very often, especially in the digital age, people tend to get caught up in the social media race while travelling. They snap pictures to update Facebook, and then immediately Instagram them to death. Far more preferable would be snapping the pic so that we have the memory, putting our phones away, and enjoying being in the moment. I love the idea behind this campaign, and while I have never flown with Cathay Pacific, I feel like this is a brand that gets me and is genuinely interested in encouraging me to spend #onedayoffline for my own good. I’m really considering booking with Cathay Pacific to explore even more of the brand and be exposed to the airline’s ethos.

That said, it’s no guessing who my top two contenders for “airline of the decade” and “travel marketing campaigns of the year” are…