By Graham Howarth, Director, P&MM Sales Promotion
With stories about rising fuel costs and surcharges continuing to hit the headlines, it is clear that the entire backdrop to any form of travel is changing.
For marketers looking to run travel-related consumer promotions such as free flight passes or holiday prize competitions, the unpredictability of these hidden costs are a real cause for concern.
However, with travel remaining one of the most popular types of consumer promotion given its ability to instantly capture the imagination and attention of any target audience, marketers are looking for alternative ways to offer it.
Fixed value travel cheques, for example, are increasingly being used as is clearly shown in sales of our Dream Ticket, which are up 50% in comparison with 2007.
By following a few pointers, a planned travel promotion enables companies to offer holiday prizes while maintaining control of budget spend for an effective promotion.
1. Always use a fully-licensed supplier who is ABTA, ATOL and IATA registered as this will give the client and consumer full protection and peace of mind.
2. Consider using Fixed Fee. This will give promoters and agencies the opportunity to offer bigger and better promotions to consumer and trade customers while also giving them total reassurance by removing the uncertainty of redemption levels.
3. Know your target audience and offer a holiday that will exceed their expectations. If you have a sizeable promotional budget and are aiming at consumers with a large disposable income then offer a luxury holiday to match.
4. Expectations need to be fully managed. What the consumer has to do or spend to participate in the promotional offer, competition, etc. has to be weighed against what is on offer.
5. Put a communication plan in place that is prepared in conjunction with the supplier. The winner’s experience should begin from the first point of contact and that means having one main person that will look after the winner from start to finish. Confirm all details, no matter small they are.
6. Appoint a supplier who has the capacity to handle all the administration and will look after the winners carefully and thoroughly throughout the trip until their return. Booking and finalising travel arrangements can be very time consuming. People may request changes be made to the original booking.
7. Be aware of seasonal variances when considering long-haul destinations. Ensure that the travel period is for a reasonable amount of time and offer as much flexibility as possibility. A short trip to a distant country may result in too much time travelling and not enough time spent at the actual destination.
8. Remember to include extra ‘add-on’ items such as insurance and spending money. There is little point in giving away a prize if the winner cannot afford to go away or enjoy it fully once there because of the extra money needed. Cover all reasonable costs where possible.
9. Don’t rule out the UK as there are some tremendous hotels and destinations in the UK to visit and they shouldn’t be forgotten!
10. Don't underestimate the "chat factor" and the longevity that travel gives. Countless and lasting memories will be created from a trip abroad and consumers will talk about this endlessly with family and friends. This is especially true when compared with winning a merchandise gift.
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