The tourism campaign space is very noisy right now, with competing messages, videos and news items from every level of the industry. Tourism New Zealand re-focusing on domestic travel, RTOs / DMOs and regional collectives getting you to consider their region, and of course individual operators looking for each and every visitor.
None of this is negative, and simply reflection of the efforts being put in by thousands within the industry to help support and save businesses and individuals. It does raise the question though, how much of this is just noise, and how much is effective?
Looking at the wide range of quality in campaigns in market, as well as working on a number at various levels with clients, the old British army adage of the ‘7 P’s’ comes to mind: “Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.”
Proper Planning and Preparation
There are always a set of simple questions that need to be considered for any campaign. These should include:
- Who is the audience?
- What is the messaging?
- What channels should we be using?
- What do we want the outcome to be?
- How can we achieve this outcome?
- How are we measuring this outcome?
The first three questions are clearly being considered. We are seeing slick messaging, lovely visual elements and usually good targeting for audiences. This is great to see, and many of the campaigns have been eye catching, or generated good discussion both in the media and in the real world.
The issue is, what is happening after people are interacting with ads? What is being generated other than discussions?
If your campaign is simply to get mindshare, and keep your product or region at the forefront of peoples planning, then some fun creative might well be the start and end of your campaign. If you are trying to actually influence travel behaviours, or directly sell to consumers, then what is the second part of your user journey?
Piss Poor Performance
Single operators have possibly the easier job here. A single landing page can be created for the campaign, with imagery and copy that specifically reflects the campaign. It makes the journey cohesive, and tracking should already be set up on the website. A simple UTM code is all that is required to make sure that conversions are attributed correctly in Google Analytics.
If you are a larger organisation or collective, then what are your desired outcomes? If you’re looking to influence travel then you need aspirational content; listicles, itineraries, video, all sitting in a branded and themed hub. You might need to sell tickets directly too. Do you do this by linking off to operator sites? By having ‘book now’ buttons directly to operator booking engines? Having live availability yourself? How is this all tracked to prove that you are offering value?
You also need to ask where this content is sitting? Is it a specific campaign hub on an RTO website? Is it a single-use microsite that will only last for the campaign? Is it a new sub-brand that needs a microsite to start with, which will then grow and evolve with the brand?
If you can’t answer these questions, then you need to ask why you are going to market at all? In such a crowded and noisy environment, what are you doing other than spending money for the sake of it?
The Bare Necessities
If you are serious about your campaign work, and creating value and tangible results, what are you going to need to consider?
- A defined campaign goal. What is a measurable success for you and your stakeholders?
- Cohesive creative across all channels
- A landing experience that matches the creative. Either a unique landing page, or a hub/microsite
- Content that meets your intended goal – either driving direct conversions, or influencing traveller behaviour
- Tracking that allows you to attribute traffic and conversions to campaign work