Top 5 branding tips for growing a great holiday business

25 May 2017

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Holidays are a classic emotional purchase. People base their decisions around where to go on holiday and where to book by asking themselves a simple risk-reward ratio question: ‘how much am I willing to risk (the financial spend), to get the emotional rewards (the holiday experience) I want?’.

Because the vast majority of holidays are booked at arms length from the customer, your ability to influence the decision-making process is largely achieved through the effectiveness of your branding. Here are our top 5 branding tips to help you grow a great holiday business.

1. Don't be beige

It can cost 5 times as much to acquire new customers than it can to retain existing ones. So, the best way to grow your holiday business is to build a loyal following of happy customers.

The essential thing to remember here is summarised in this simple quote from marketing guru, Seth Godin: “Everyone is not your customer“. Why?, Because different groups of people respond differently to other groups of people. Some people may love relaxing by the poolside, yet for others, that is the epitome of purgatory. Trying to target everyone is the same as targeting no-one – the message becomes, well, a bit beige.

Yes, few will really hate it. But few will really love it either. This is not a good way to build a loyal customer base – it’s a good way to leave people feeling rather underwhelmed. When you are selling a service as emotional as a holiday, ‘underwhelmed’ is the last reaction you want.

 

"There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do."

Simon Sinek, Author – 'Start with Why'

2. Concentrate on the few

The only way to build real excitement and genuine love from your customers, is to stop targeting everyone and concentrate your energy on the select groups of people who will be most excited by the unique service you offer. You do this by aligning your own internal brand values with the values of your ideal customers.

‘But what about all the lost business – surely we can’t ignore loads of people?’, I hear you cry! Well, focusing on pleasing a smaller group will definitely cause some other groups to completely dismiss your service. However, what you need to remember is that those are the people who were unlikely to buy from you in the first place and if they did, would probably be the ones to complain. Why?… Because they just don’t ‘get’ what you do!

tips for branding a holiday business - drinks on the beach illustration

3. Engage your unpaid master sales force

Your brand is the most important tool at your disposal for building the connection with your ideal customers. It should speak to them directly, excite them, intrigue them and – most importantly – drive them to book with you again and again. The key to success here is consistency. From first impressions such as the quality of your website and whether it feels right fit for your customers, to the finer touches such as branded rooms, brochures and giveaways – your brand should continually reflect your own highest values in a way that delights your ideal customers.

Delighted customers are your unpaid master sales force. Not only do they come back and buy from you again, but they will happily tell everyone they care about to do the same. If you focus on delivering an outstanding service to the few people that really matter, then customer loyalty will naturally follow.

4. Build your reputation

When it comes to holidays, most travellers are looking for their own unique experience. Yes, thousands of other people may well have trodden the same well-worn path before, but deep down, everyone wants their holiday experience to be ‘special’ so they can share their own unique story.

The sharing of stories is how a holiday business builds a reputation. Whether this is positive or negative depends largely on the health of your brand. If you know what you do, why you do it and who you need to be doing it for, then everything you do should be positive. Build your business and brand for your perfect customer and a positive reputation will naturally follow.

tips for branding a holiday business - ice creams in the park illustration

5. Don't be 'just another' holiday business

A great brand should have a clear personality that helps to distance your holiday business from the competition. Whether you take on a rugged personality to attract the lovers of the great outdoors, or a sophisticated one aimed at individuals looking for a taste of the high-life, your brand should present what you do and how you do it as something unique.

When BML developed the new brand identity and website for Pitch Tents, we were very clear from the outset that it needed a defined personality that would help to separate it from other tent hire businesses in the market. We built the Pitch website around contemporary illustrations that gave them a fun and down-to-earth image, yet still retained the premium feel of a luxury service.

Don’t fall into the trap of being ‘just another’ holiday business – understand why you are different and make sure you articulate this in your branding.

Is your brand holding your travel business back? Take our FREE online Groundwork™ Brand Audit now and find out.