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Luxury tourism case study from a marketing consultant

Results snapshot:

Revenue results: Our client experienced a 300% Revenue increase over 12 months and an decent ROI on their marketing spend
Strategic implications: The client is now less reliant on external players and more in control of the strategic direction of their business. Instead of being a “media consumer” they are now “media owners” with their own ecosystem.
Client budget: To grow from $150K/annum to $370K/annum within 18 months, the client spent around $1500/month to hire me as a part-time consultant to their board. I did receive a milestone bonus too on this project thanks to meeting our KPI’s.

Case:

This was one of the most challenging cases I ever worked on: My client decided to break away from a franchise in Luxury Travel and to go solo. I was called in after initial efforts failed and had to look for innovative solutions to build their business. The client did know their market well, which enabled me to simply add new tactical tools to the business – things the client never thought of doing before.

Action plan:

a) The business was too reliant on paid media and muscled out by larger brands who could acquire customers for a higher price with a long-term view. We switched over to “owned media” by inviting users to participate in the companies’ travel blog, where we also sold inventory from other advertisers (very similar to how Amazon operates). The result was that we became a “social” hangout for luxury travellers where my client even earned money from clients who never booked with them, thanks to advertising fees.

b) Next, we re-engaged the existing client list and connected “inactive” users to our new online ecosystem. Many became social contributors which is a powerful form of “C2C” (consumer to consumer) marketing, resulting in more direct bookings and advertising revenue for my client.

c) We then created a luxury segment for penthouse bookings on the clients’ website and connected my client with owners of boutique hotels for whom we “re-packaged” their high-end rooms in a more exclusive way. This helped hotel owners to skim high-end users within the market, whilst putting my client in a unique position to compete against massive portals such as Booking.com (Priceline) and Airbnb.

d) My client now has a series of adventure guides and country specific e-books which we distribute as part of the self-funded ecosystem. Other advertisers and e-book purchases pay for their marketing, as opposed to expensive advertising and franchise fees. This is also connected to other business assets as part of a larger integrated marketing plan.

 

Key enablers:

  • The client was open-minded and willing to experiment with new tactics
  • The budget allocation was just right
  • The client understood their target market, which enabled me to target the right users
  • We understood how to shift from “paid” to “owned” media in a very short time

Project notes:

I love anything to do with the luxury segment – and luxury travel was an awesome project to work on. Using the principles of content marketing in an innovative way, with a client that was prepared to experiment with new growth strategies was awesome. Marketing for luxury brands and tourism requires a unique understanding of various components, ranging from digital/social/content, to relationship management and stakeholder engagement.

The positioning of the client also increased their equity since the value of their brand is directly evident from increased consumer spending and sentiment.

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