Yesterday afternoon around 1pm, there were thousands of people lining the streets of my hometown all dressed in green, wearing shamrocks, and discretely sipping a Guinness or some Jameson from a flask. Huh? What? St. Patrick’s Day is not for another ten days. What is up with these shenanigans?
Annapolis puts on the parade in advance of the “holiday” for a few reasons—as a small town they can attract bigger marching units if it is NOT on St. Patrick’s Day; it helps local businesses during a traditionally tough time of the year; and finally, it is sort of a wake-up call to the residents who collectively ask “What the heck?” And then I began to think—which tends to be dangerous.
Part of what makes this event successful is that it happens when it is not expected. And this strategy might be able to work for your travel practice as well.
Price conscious consumers
With travel, we expect certain trips to happen at certain times: Skiing in the winter. Europe in the summer. You know the drill. But for your client that has a focus on price… change it up. Unwilling to afford an Alaskan cruise in July? Mention one in June. Europe is often a bargain around Thanksgiving.
Consumers also know what to expect in terms of travel. New Years will be followed with cruise messages for Wave Season. Europe follows in the spring and summer. Blow their mind; toss them a mid-summer cruise offer they can’t refuse. Caribbean prices are depressed and an out of season splurge might be just what the doctor ordered.
Often when our brains are given an impulse that does not compute, we stop, pause, and think it through. Sun and fun destinations are so successful in snowy climes because people who have been shoveling snow will see an image that is not snow. Stop. Pause. And then think it through, often buying. Don’t relegate it to just snow and sun/fun. Heat of the summer? Find a destination that has skiing—or perhaps uses their ski facilities for mountain biking or mountain tubing.
People enjoy surprises. They don’t like to be surprised. There is a difference. Take a look at your marketing plan and see if you can work in a few surprises along the way. With my practice, most (if not all) of my clients are very conscientious of price. They are not necessarily looking for the cheapest, but they do want the best value. I have found that bucking the trend reaps some rewards for me. Shoulder and off seasons are my friends. What about you?