Five for Five with Melissa Mango: Transformational Travel

Five for Five with Melissa Mango: Transformational Travel

Alliance Connection

We chatted with our President and Founder, Melissa Mango, all about the fundamental shift from experiential travel to purposeful travel and how marketers can shift the narrative to catch up with the changing landscape.

Alliance Connection is beyond fortunate to work with some of the brightest minds in marketing with brands, lifestyle media partners, influencers, entertainment, and the travel and tourism industry. Our strategic marketing skillset can’t help but be elevated just by working with them, so we’re sharing the wealth! Join us as we profile a top mover and shaker in the industry who can help us all up our marketing game.

Melissa Mango’s FIVE FOR FIVE

We caught up with Melissa, where we chatted about travel with a purpose and how marketers can amplify the narrative to consumers.

  • 1.
    Consumers want MORE, and while that goes beyond travel, that need drives their travel decisions.
    The last couple of years has really forced everyone to pause and look for a deeper meaning in life. Our society woke up feeling a lack of purpose and that we were focused on things that lacked true substance. At the same time, we saw a significant shift in travelers wanting to be moved more by travel experiences. While travel isn’t the “end all be all” to fulfilling that void, that need is driving consumers’ travel decisions — as they plan their next escape, get on planes to explore destinations, and decide how they’re going to spend their money. Whether travel becomes a way for consumers to reconnect and strengthen relationships, discover their inner purpose, balance their fast-paced lives, invigorate a passion of theirs like music or art, discover a newfound hobby or all of the above, travel has the power to give them more.
  • 2.
    “Experience” and “authentic” have become overused marketing terms that consumers can see right through.
    Once an emerging trend that quickly became a buzzword, experiential travel lost its authenticity over time and the industry became oversaturated with the same narrative. As marketers, we are tempted to try and drive a narrative instead of letting the story unfold naturally. The result? We all end up trying to tell the same story instead of letting the narrative unfold organically. Enter transformational travel. The key difference here is that transformational travel is all about purpose, intention, and an improved self. By focusing on how to deliver a true, purposeful travel journey, we marketers can invite travelers back to form a meaningful connection with our brands and destinations.
  • 3.
    Transformational travel is an all-encompassing journey that has several touchpoints.
    Transformational travel is not one-dimensional. We’ve seen the demand shift towards travel with a purpose because travel can offer renewal in so many aspects. With mental health challenges at an all-time high, pillars like wellness and introspective (or solo) travel allow consumers to prioritize their personal well-being. Whereas community or group travel and cultural exploration offer travelers endless opportunities for connection, reconnection, and cultural appreciation. Not to mention, sustainability plays a big role in transformational travel as it encourages guests to leave a destination better than they found it. So, how can hotel brands bring that to life through their brand interactions? By curating meaningful programming, experiences that ignite the senses, culturally rich vacations, and moments that invite the guests to be active participants are all ways that contribute to a meaningful travel journey.
  • 4.
    All-inclusive hotel marketers must tell the story of purposeful and intentional travel through compelling content.
    One of the biggest challenges all-inclusive hotel marketers face is breaking away from “mainstay tourism.” Sometimes the story they tell on their website isn’t translated on property, or vice versa. So that begs the question: how can the all-inclusive industry provide a meaningful vacation experience with lasting change? Through content. They don’t have to rebrand their entire resort or pretend to be something they’re not; the smallest shifts can make the biggest impact, such as tweaking tone throughout the copy, focusing on how their experience can bring joy to guests, and highlighting ways they can offer opportunities for connection and renewal. This can also be done through user-generated or co-created content — but we have to trust those “behind the camera” to tell that story instead of trying to script it.
  • 5.
    Transformational travel doesn’t have a generational border.
    It’s understandable to want to market to your core demographic, but we can’t forget about the next generation of travelers. 10 or 15 years ago, we were afraid to market to millennials because they were in a lower income bracket. What followed suit were those same millennials discovering a high propensity to spend on travel, prioritizing discretionary income from hostels to 5-star luxury hotels and travel experiences. In other words, they are now the ones who are grown up and older, having shifted into our main target audience. Let’s not have the same hesitation with Gen Z — after all, 51% of them are planning international trips. Just because one generation makes up the primary core of our customers at the moment doesn’t mean we can’t talk to all of them. They can all coexist in harmony, and your core audience will not leave you because you bring more intentional travel to them or their children.

About Alliance Connection:

For nearly a decade Alliance Connection has been successfully working with Caribbean and Mexico travel brands as an extension of their teams to shape, mold and pioneer the travel industry. They have a proven track record of driving awareness and bookings through strategic marketing partnerships and powerful brand interactions across a highly selective portfolio of brands, media, and influencers that connect, capture and influence travelers across the U.S.

About Melissa Mango:

With over 25 years of sales and marketing experience, Melissa has helped revolutionize the way travel brands connect with travelers. From her tenure at renowned travel brands like David’s Bridal, Sandals and Beaches Resorts to building an award-winning full-service marketing agency, she has a proven track record of increasing brand awareness, sales, profit, and market share through strategic marketing collaborations. Her success stories include revenue-producing partnerships with world-class brands, including the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels, Nobu Hotels, Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts, Secrets Resorts & Spas, Regal Cinemas, Wheel of Fortune, Sony Music Nashville, and Margaritaville Island Reserve Resorts to name a few. Her wealth of experience and knowledge over the years has given her a unique perspective and deep insight into what it takes to thrive in the marketing and communications industry and how to leverage the ever-changing landscape and its trends.

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