28 Apr Lifestyle Branding Strategies For The Luxury Travel Industry
Skift has released another amazing trend report and this one covers the trending topic of lifestyle branding – and for good reason. The luxury travel industry has been knee deep in this style of marketing since its inception, however, the landscape has certainly changed and it has presented unique challenges in not only making a cool image for your brand, but getting it seen and heard over all of the other digital noise.
Plenty of travel-industry brands like Virgin America, ACE Hotels and Airbnb have also carved out unique lifestyle brand niches as well. But creating a lifestyle brand requires a significant amount of commitment, marketing excellence and resources to pull off. — Skift
Lifestyle branding can also be done quite poorly – it isn’t an easy marketing strategy to pull off all the time. It takes an adventurous spirit and a marketing team that isn’t afraid to perhaps even offend some people.
Skift’s Trend Report is on for $295, or if you get a membership you can get all the reports for a pretty darn good price annually. If you don’t have that kind of cash we can explore some strategies here to get you started on the path down a long road of hits and misses.
Becoming a lifestyle brand is more than just putting out a cool ad – you’re going to need your entire brand to look and act a certain way. We’ve been writing a lot on marketing to a UHNW audience lately and have neglected an entirely different catchy named group of people known as affluent millennials.
“As baby boomers age and millennials mature into established consumers, luxury brands will have to retool many of their marketing strategies to account for the generational shift”, according to a new report by Unity Marketing.
Tastes are changing rapidly and what’s on the “wants and needs” lists of affluent millennials is quite different from the tastes of, say, someone who is considered “old money”. There was a survey done a while back by Chase on affluent millennials and this just gives you a starting idea of what’s going on there. The bottom line is marketing strategies need to change.
Before I go any further I just wanted to make it clear that, with all this talk about affluent millennials and different strategies, I’m not an ageist.
Luxury Travel Lifestyle Branding Strategies
That title is a mouthful. Regardless, I’ve almost blabbed you to near boredom by now so lets get right into the good stuff: People and brands who do it the way I think it should be done. And what better way to study than learn from the best?
1. Content Is König
Lifestyle branding is all about showing off and creating a certain feeling when people think of your brand. This means content is going to be your best weapon and will require not just a writer, but great photos, videos and visual content created for specific social platforms.
We’re talking about a visual marketing strategy here so enough with the reading, let’s look at some pretty images. Tiffany lives the lifestyle and she also runs a luxury marketing agency. I’m not even afraid to recommend her services, even if that means sending a client away from us. She’s just that good and you’re going to be hard pressed to find another in our league.
Tiffany Dowd is one of the biggest influencers in the luxury travel industry and helps the world learn about the best places to stay. It doesn’t hurt that she happens to be a painfully beautiful woman, but she always hits the mark in her content marketing for luxury hotels and resorts. This is how it’s done well and I would highly recommend studying her Instagram account.
I wrote about this new restaurant established in the Hotel Vancouver and how I thought they did a really good job with this promo video for Table8.
2. Instagram Is Worth Its Weight In Gold
Instagram has been a huge hit with our luxury travel clients as it’s a bit of the perfect storm. Users view beautiful pictures and videos which have a big opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Brands can also be followed which means you know you’re tailoring the right content to the right audience. Similarly, it is very easy to build relationships with affluent like-minded individuals that can be turned into clients without ever having to lay down a greasy sales pitch. Inbound marketing just feels more organic.
3. Let Your Customers Be Your Marketing Team
Say whaaaat?! Yea you heard me right. There are influencers and upcoming influencers that will stay with your hotel or resort and you will get free marketing from them. This is a strategy that takes a lot of monitoring and a general awareness of what’s going on in social media.
Just looking at Instagram and the hashtag #fairmonthotels at the time of writing, I spotted an influencer in the trending photos. This takes little to no time and if you don’t explore hashtags much in your job well then it’s time to get on it.
Here we have a photo that scored just about 42,000 likes with tagging and brand mentions for the Fairmont Sanur in Bali. The influencer enjoying her trip is a famous Asian musician with 6.2 million followers.
If she was selling posts on her Instagram account this would easily cost well over $10,000 USD if you were paying. Otherwise, this is a brilliant example of lifestyle marketing done by your customer just because you did your job right and offer something amazing.
4. Trending Technology For & More Intimate Experience
I’ve seen a lot of good things come from Snapchat and Periscope as of late mainly because it provides your loyal fans with a more intimate experience. They’re given a sense of being a part of a private club and it lets you continue to build a strong relationship with core followers.
Burberry was one of the early adopters of Snapchat and has actually turned it into a money making source, which is actually hard to do on new platforms – especially for luxury brands. I say why not do something different and try marketing on an emerging platform. Snapchat is almost to the point of not being cool so what is trending next?
I’ve been writing about Periscope and live steaming apps like Periscope for years. There’s just that excitement in the air when you watch something live that adds a whole new way of engaging with loyal fans. It’s also an incredible way to build relationships with those folks because you can communicate in real time with chat and messages.
5. Lifestyle Video Marketing
There’s just no better way to entertain and tell a story that will evoke emotion – and that’s what it’s all about. If you can inspire emotion with your marketing, you will inspire a purchase.
This Elegant Resort’s bespoke Aston Martin experience marketing was done just right.
So let this be one example of what can be done and hopefully it inspires your brand to do something worth liking, worth watching and most of all worth sharing. Your core influencers will have a lot of friends that trust their opinion and will more than likely create a new brand fan.
6. Lifestyle Partners To Enhance The Experience
The video example above is a great partner combination between the resort and Aston Martin in order to enhance the luxury travel experience. This is my current favorite form of marketing as it combines the brand power and reach of both parties all to benefit your customer. This is a win/win/win in my books and should be practiced by every luxury travel company at every opportunity.
The partnership between TEALEAVES and The Four Season’s is an easy example to cite and is a match made in luxury heaven for the two brands. Rather than trying to make their own or filling the rooms with Bigelow’s, Four Seasons has partnered with TEALEAVES to provide its guests with some of the most unique, luxurious and frankly beautiful teas on the planet.
Partnering also gives both of the involved brands an advantage over the competition as you’re offering something that’s unique to you – and I love that. When we’re doing a marketing campaign for a client that’s pretty much always a main focus. Doing something that stands out will not only lead to more money but brand awareness, a reason to do a PR campaign and all the SEO and social media perks that come with that.