By Dana Baasiri
Love may be in the air as the most romantic time of the year is upon us, but reaching couples and converting them into loyal customers is a yearlong courtship for many brands. Whether you are targeting newlyweds, honeymooners, or couples who simply love to celebrate their relationship together, travel partnerships can help you sweep consumers off their feet.
With countless resorts and hotels that cater exclusively to couples who love to travel — think romantic adults-only properties, stunning sunsets, miles of white sand beaches, gourmet food, and luxury accommodations — romance travel prizing can help brands win the hearts of consumers by offering them a once-in-lifetime opportunity to enjoy a “just because” romantic getaway, anniversary celebration trip or even their dream honeymoon.
Using Travel To Market To Couples
Whether or not you’ve considered incorporating travel into your marketing strategy, there’s no denying that travel is very much a part of any couple’s journey together. In a TripSavvy study, it was shown that couples without children have taken an average of 3.1 trips in the past year, compared to couples with children.
While honeymoons and destination wedding travel are the obvious romance travel trends, according to the Travel Industry of America, romantic getaways are truly so much more. Surveys and studies show that travel with a spouse or loved one sans kids allow couples to reconnect and reignite that spark in their relationship. From outdoor travel to epicurean trips (and everything in between), today’s couples value travel experienced as a way to strengthen their bond together. Not to mention, U.S. travelers’ plans around Valentine’s Day alone have jumped by 45% this year compared to last year, showing just how much couples feel the need to reconnect through travel.
How Can Brands Use Travel Partnerships?
From digital promotional partnerships to integrated entertainment marketing, travel partnerships and collaborations can be customized and designed exclusively to fit your strategy and objectives — many of which can be executed and turned around fairly quickly. Let’s look at these examples of ways to insert travel partnerships into your romance marketing plans:
Enter-to-win campaigns: Digital sweepstakes and giveaways are a great way to drive awareness and traffic amongst couples to your channels including brand websites, social media pages, or a dedicated landing page with a limited-time offer. Partnering up with an adults-only travel brand like Secrets Resorts & Spas to offer customers the chance to win a honeymoon to one of their tropical locations throughout Mexico and the Caribbean will not only capture the attention of couples, but it will likely inspire them to take action and sign-up to be part of your email list for future promotions and offers.
This multi-brand promotional partnership, for instance, capitalized on the need for warmer weather by dangling an “Ultimate Caribbean Escape” to Paradisus Resorts by Meliá to millennial consumers. The collaboration between the various brands and the travel partner resulted in a win-win for all as it allowed everyone to tap into a highly aligned audience and maximize their reach to 9.2 million social impressions. For the brands in particular, they simply had to include Paradisus Resorts in their promotional messaging in exchange for the prizing.
On-air surprises: Surprising a guest live and on-air with a once-in-a-lifetime romantic getaway can be a great way to boost engagement among viewers and listeners. Whether it’s coordinating a surprise proposal followed by a surprise honeymoon, or giving away a much-needed romantic escape to a deserving couple who may not have been able to afford one. Travel partnerships offer a slew of opportunities to create fun and spontaneous experiences that hook in both viewers and listeners, and the fact that it’s not costly makes it the icing on the cake. Most travel brands are on the hunt for opportunities that can get their hotels and resorts in front of millions of viewers and listeners, and are willing to exchange travel prizing for that marketing exposure.
iHeart Radio’s very own Ryan Seacrest Show leveraged this opportunity and partnered up with one of our resort clients, Secrets Resorts & Spas, to do just that. By partnering up on the “Secrets Love Unlimited” campaign, the show engaged 4.57 million listeners by offering an all-inclusive romantic getaway that they could not pass up on.
Memberships and loyalty programs: If you’re looking to encourage new subscriptions and sign-ups from young couples across the country, touting an exclusive deal to a dreamy destination or a members-only chance to win from a romantic vacation in the Caribbean. Not only will this help garner new clients to your database or membership program, but it will surprise and delight existing ones who may also be interested in planning a honeymoon or romantic getaway in the near future. Not to mention, travel brands generally run enticing offers geared towards honeymooners, wedding couples, and romance travelers this time of year (think attractive discounts, spa treatments, intimate dinners, and more) that can make for a perfect pairing to your campaign.
Regal Cinemas’ Regal Crown Club is a perfect example of a Loyalty Brand that does a fantastic job at surprising and delighting its loyal members while simultaneously garnering additional buzz around the release of its movies through travel partnerships. In anticipation of the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Sing 2 and American Underdog, Regal Crown Club came together with Dreams Resorts & Spas to launch a sweepstakes that was exclusive to members only, resulting in millions of impressions and lots of excitement for the blockbusters.
Location-based partnerships: Perhaps your goal is to drive attendance to a special event like a bridal trunk show or increase foot traffic to an in-person pop-up that brings your brand to life. Travel partnerships can incentivize your audience to do so by teasing a tropical getaway that is up for grabs, something that can be woven throughout your marketing messaging when promoting the event or pop-up and at the point of purchase through signage.
BeautyCon, a two-day festival that is pioneering the idea of experiential retail with over 200 brands in one area for consumers to try and buy, found a perfect partner in the INNSiDe New York hotel as they were looking to sell festival tickets and offer attendees discounted stays in the NYC area. With the hotel looking to align itself with an elevated and modern brand, this was the perfect alignment. The two launched a fun sweepstakes with tickets to the festival and a hotel stay as the grand prize, which was featured in Cosmopolitan and RealBeauty. Additionally, the hotel provided BeautyCon with a discount they could offer their audiences, which resulted in sales for both brands.
Similar to a true relationship, romancing your customers takes lots of nurturing throughout the customer journey. By incorporating travel partnerships into the mix, brands can reinforce their loyalty by adding surprise-and-delight moments and opportunities to truly engage their customers.
If you’re interested in partnering with a travel brand to reach and connect with couples, make sure to check out our travel portfolio of partners who are open to exchanging travel prizing for marketing reach.
Alliance Connection works with Caribbean and Mexico travel brands to drive awareness and bookings through strategic marketing partnerships and powerful brand interactions across a highly selective portfolio of brands, media, social influencers and entertainment partners that connect, capture and influence travelers across the U.S.
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