When I was in college, Daytona Beach and Panama City were the popular Spring Break destinations for a week of sun and fun. Now that I have a family, Spring Break still means sun and fun, but in a more responsible way.
For the past few years, in lieu of having large birthday parties for our daughters, my husband and I decided to have “destination birthdays.” Our oldest daughter’s birthday is in March, so her destination birthday coincides with Spring Break. When looking for a family-friendly option, we didn’t have to look very far. In fact, we just checked our mailbox. Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park with locations nationwide, sent us a direct mail piece. They had our attention with their tagline: “For awesome family fun, just add water!” The mailer further heightened our interest with, “We’ve weatherproofed your vacation with our gigantic, 84-degree indoor water park. Your unforgettable family memories begin here with massive slides and thrill rides.” Great Wolf offered a special promotional code on their mailpiece directing us to either call their toll free number or go to their website to take advantage of the Spring Break deal.
Spring Break for All
Spring Break marketing is huge for the travel industry. College students alone spend more than $1 billion every year on Spring Break according to Spendmatters.com. Airlines, hotels and resorts in warm destinations are reaping the benefits. This year’s top Spring Break destinations for college students, according to U.S. New and World Report, are Miami Beach, Cancun and the Bahamas.
Colleges aren’t the only schools taking a much needed Spring Break. More school districts are adding a Spring Break week into their school calendar. Travel Channel’s top picks for “an unforgettable family Spring Break” include warm destinations, ski resorts and unique experiences such as staying on a ranch or touring a city.
In recent years, more adults are also taking a Spring Break to recharge. Warm destinations and cruises are top destinations.
The Travel Industry and Direct Mail
Research firm Comperemedia reported that the travel industry mailed more than 554 million pieces of direct mail in 2015. More than 44% of all travel mail was self-mailers and many included compelling images and information on must-see destinations, cuisine, entertainment and activities. Cruise communications dominated the direct mail landscape with more than 463.8 million direct mail pieces last year. In fact, 9 of the top 10 travel mailers for 2015 were cruise lines.
Comperemedia highlighted these innovative travel industry direct mail marketing examples in their 2015 Direct Mail Overview:
- Disney Cruise Line travel prospects received direct mail packages with an informational cruise DVD, a link to a “personalized web page” with a video and links tailored to the recipient’s interests.
- La Quinta sent prospective travelers a direct mail offer to receive 15% off their next La Quinta stay if they watched their “personalized video.” The mailer included the link to the video.
Use Direct Mail to Target Spring Breakers
If you are in the travel industry, how do you market to all Spring Breakers? College students? Families? Adults?
By utilizing full-color, variable-data digital printing technology, travel marketers can create personalized, one-to-one direct marketing messages to very distinct audiences all in one mailstream. To test results by demographic, you can add a distinct promotional code on each mailpiece. For example, college students may have the promo code “SpringBreak2016” while families and adults may have another code for special deal redemption.
Use a tagline to grab the attention of the potential traveler. Be sure to place the offer in a prominent location and have the call to action (CTA) in multiple areas on the mailpiece. Hyatt Regency recently used the tagline, “Take a Spring Break!” to advertise their package deal for staying two nights and getting a third night free.
Travel marketers can also engage in cross-channel marketing by directing potential Spring Break travelers to call their toll free phone number or go to their website as a CTA to take advantage of the Spring Break deal advertised in the mailpiece.
Whether your Spring Break plans include outdoor winter fun or escaping the cold to a warm destination, we all need to take time to recharge. Recharge your travel marketing efforts, too, with direct mail.
By the way…Great Wolf Lodge was great family fun! In fact, it has been our Spring Break destination for the last three years.
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