Having been on a nice long, extended vacation recently, I made a point of not doing much work. This is not always easy, but since the vacation was up in a remote part of the state of Washington for part of the trip, and then up in Alaska on a cruise ship for the second part, it was somewhat easier without the daily connection via a smart phone.
Having said this though, at times I found my mind drifting in to work mode now and then as some observations struck me. Mainly they were relative to some of the different businesses that we engaged over the course of the trip. Each of them were very different, and yet since they were all tourism related, their ultimate goal was to first attract you to their service and then to provide a quality experience so that you were likely to share your impressions with others.
The first part of our trip was a 3 day stay at a remote, private lake in eastern Washington state – right about one half hour from the Canadian and Idaho border. Four of us stayed in a cabin that was very well taken care of, provided us a host of modern amenities and easy access to a variety of wildlife and nature experiences, including moose, eagles and a healthy population of trout. The owners main form of marketing this experience is through trade shows and the internet – but perhaps their strongest way to build business is by a tremendous experience shared with others through referrals and testimonials.
As for the Alaskan cruise part of our trip – perhaps there is no better marketing example than what the various cruise lines utilize. Especially, once you have signed up for the trip and they begin to share all of the various shore excursions, the whole experience is ultimately designed to provide you with a variety of opportunities to enhance your vacation. Their onboard service is tremendous – which of course encourages you to take advantage of the additional features they provide. And after the trip, cruise lines do an excellent job at follow-up with targeted mailings and relevant offers to encourage a repeat vacation.
A third look at marketing was that found in the ports. If in fact you were already signed up for a shore excursion, then the marketing effort was complete – otherwise you found a much more one to one approach. Various tours had individuals approach you upon leaving the ship, trying to sign you up for their version of the “complete experience.” And likewise in the various shops – a very friendly staff was there to personally engage you with their unique souvenirs or specialties.
So ultimately my observations were that no matter what business you are in, and even if they are very similar (in the case of these three tourist based examples), marketing is never the same. Every business has a unique proposition and must find the best way to share their story with you. What works for one organization might not go over so good for another. We must all seek out and experiment until we find what works for us.
This may not be terribly insightful, and yet since I was concentrating on enjoying my vacation first, this is as good as it gets!