Hacktoberfest guests

Four get-yourself-thinking tenets of marketing from travel pros

If there’s one thing we learned from Hacktoberfest, it’s that you really can’t go wrong with great product & brats.

A few special guests came by to leave their stamp on the creative process, and though the event has come to a close, here’s some of what’s stuck with us:


Jason Holic, VP of Digital Marketing at Experience Kissimmee

Understand your traveler’s intent

Jason got a firsthand look at the early stages of our creative process. A longtime destination marketer, he gave his take on the importance of understanding a traveler’s intent in order to connect with them.

“One of the challenges we have is recognizing what the intent of the visitor is on their customer journey.

Are they just looking for inspiration? Are they committed to the destination? Where do we fall on their journey? Do they already know they’re coming to Central Florida or are they in that in-between stage? Or do they just want to know what else there is to do or where to stay? That’s the challenge: figuring out where they are on that path.

As destination marketers, we really need to figure out their place in that journey and also what their level of intent is in order to serve up the content that is most likely going to resonate with them further down that path until they ultimately convert and visit us.”

 

Zach Stovall, Travel photographer, videographer & writer at Zach Stovall Photography

Tell a better brand story

Zach brought his 15+ years of experience in visual storytelling to the mix. On top of being unofficially awarded “Most Authentic Lederhosen,” he shared examples of compelling imagery that helps properties tell a better story.

“[Hotels] need to keep their own stories in mind so they can connect with the appropriate guest for them.

A good story is cohesive, has a solid start, weaves through the whole story process, keeps the reader or the viewer engaged, all the way to the end. It’s all about setting the scene and making it dramatic.

I think it’s important that resorts and hotels use that in all of their marketing.

When they use people to support their marketing, then they can speak more to their ideal guest and they can interact with your brand.”

 

Dr. Dan Spellman, Course Director – Digital Marketing & Personal Leadership at Full Sail University

Start with your “Why”

Dr. Dan shared a historical on how hospitality has changed digitally over the last two decades along with some real-world challenges hoteliers face—and tied all of it back to why. (It’s not his first rodeo here at Flip.to.)

“I was inspired by Simon Sinek’s book, “Start With Why.” I focused on this when talking to hoteliers about their business.

Why are you in the hospitality business? What drives you? What is your motivation when you come to work?

We also looked at our personal why. For me, it was digital media. Things are constantly changing and improving from a digital marketing standpoint.

We would discuss this approach with everyone from top level staff to services. We all wanted the same thing: to serve the guest. And the way each and every hotel does that is different.”

 

Christina Leake, Social Media Director at Westgate Resorts

Unveil experiences

Christina and the team chatted all things travel marketing, from guest storytelling to content marketing, and from the big picture down to the day-to-day application.

“When I first arrived, we were very real estate focused, using a lot of room and interior shots that weren’t resonating with the audience. Almost immediately, we decided to flip the switch to marketing around the experiential—what people are doing while they are on property, around the area, and in the city they are visiting.

By doing that, our audiences have grown exponentially. Our click through rate and revenue have increased as well. Being able to highlight the experiences helps us not only sell the place—it helps us sell the story.”

 


Behind really great product is a lot of collaboration, dynamic teamwork, and, of course, a bit of fun.

And this meeting of the minds was just the start. We’re excited to unveil more in the coming weeks, so be sure to follow us for the big reveal.

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