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Travel Marketing: ‘Surprise and Delight’ to Stand Out

Michelle Peel

Writing today’s post on travel marketing reminded me a bit of writing a “What did you do on your summer vacation?” essay. Let me explain.

For my summer vacation, I spent a week in New Orleans visiting my mom, sister, brother-in-law and adorable nieces. Our flight to New Orleans was on-time, our luggage arrived, and our overall travel experience was nice. My daughters received free Pringles on the flight because they were so well-behaved. Such a pleasant surprise provided five minutes of delight for my daughters.

“Surprise and Delight” in Travel Marketing

One travel loyalty program trend that we are seeing includes the implementation of a “surprise and delight” strategy to “wow” customers by providing unanticipated perks. This encourages them to share their experiences. According to the whitepaper “How Surprise and Delight Amplifies Loyalty Marketing Strategies” by CrowdTwist, a successful strategy “encourages customers to repeat the activity that led to the reward” and “prompts consumers to re-engage with a brand or to make purchases.” In addition, surprise gifts help capitalize on word-of-mouth activity from customers.

While my daughters were both surprised and delighted with free Pringles, I can’t honestly say I was wowed by the experience or that it influenced my loyalty to a particular airline. But, to give credit where credit is due, this blog is spreading word-of-mouth about the “surprise and delight” experience.

Back to my essay. One morning while I was making my second cup of coffee, something on my sister’s refrigerator caught my eye. It was a personalized letter from Mickey Mouse thanking her family for their recent visit to Disney World. It included an autographed drawing of Mickey Mouse as a keepsake. “You got a letter from Mickey Mouse?” I asked. “We went to Disney, and I didn’t get a thank you letter!”

My sister laughed and responded that she was referred to a travel company that specialized in Disney vacations, “We had a great experience, and I will definitely use that travel company again!” What a terrific example of a successful “surprise and delight” strategy using direct mail as the preferred channel of delivery.

Here are some recommended tips to add surprise and delight to your travel marketing campaigns:

Personalization. Use digital inkjet technology to create highly personalized and relevant messages that deliver results. One-to-one marketing can be achieved through the use of dynamic-data driven letter content and the latest full-color, variable-data digital inkjet personalization technology. Customized messaging increases return on marketing investment (ROMI).

“Thank you, Peel family, for your recent stay at ABC hotel. Hope you enjoyed your visit to the beautiful Finger Lakes wine country.”

Offer. Place the offer in a prominent location and have the call-to-action in multiple areas on the mailpiece.

“Enclosed you will find personalized wine tasting score sheets, compliments of ABC hotel. We look forward to your next visit. Rebook your next stay with us within the next 30 days to take advantage of our preferred guest incentive …”

Cross-channel marketing. Direct the recipient to your call center or website. Even add a personalized URL (PURL) so they can respond or learn more about the offer.

“To take advantage of our preferred guest incentive, log on to www.ABChotel.com/PeelFamily”

By adding an element of surprise and delight to direct marketing campaigns, travel companies can build and strengthen customer loyalty.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2015/07/31/travel-marketing/
Michelle Peel


Michelle Peel

As Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager, Michelle enhances the customer experience for our clients by keeping her finger on the pulse of key consumer trends, new vertical market developments, and competitor insights that impact their business. A graduate of Elizabethtown College with more than 20 years of direct marketing experience, she brings the “make it happen” attitude to IWCO Direct every day. She is a dedicated Pittsburgh Steelers fan who enjoys shopping, crafting, and spending time with her family.

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