From Dreams to Reality: How Travel Brands Can Truly Inspire Consumers

September 1, 2016  |  Victoria Simmons

Travel & Tourism

Competition in the travel and tourism industry is fierce.

Marketing spend is fragmented. And, the C-suite demands greater accountability … does this sound all too familiar?  Many marketers feel pressured to respond with more transactional metrics — lower prices, hype features, or offer special deals. But, does this short-term focus to match or outdo your competition provide the long-term outcomes needed to build your brand and achieve sustainable top and bottom line success?

In this increasingly competitive industry, many brands have lost sight of the primary motivation that drives consumer consideration, preference, and purchase of travel and tourism products and services.

At BVK, we call it the Dream Factor.

It’s a critical brand dimension that leads to greater top and bottom line sustainable success–and secures long-term brand impact.

Research indicates that at any given time, a third of consumers are actively daydreaming about a trip. But less than a quarter of these “dreamers” say that travel brands inspire their dreams or reflect their core personal values. And, most travel brands fail to realize that about two-thirds of those currently dreaming about travel are more likely to buy goods and services from brands that reflect their personal values — and are willing to pay more.

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According to Google, travel suppliers don’t take advantage of what they call “Dreaming Moments” nearly enough. Their data indicates that 37% of travelers in the U.S. think about vacation planning once a month, and 17% think about it at least once a week. Google says marketers must find ways to inspire this untapped travel intent by fueling these “I-want-to-get-away” moments. And we couldn’t agree more.

BVK research builds upon this idea and fundamentally changes the way marketers think about the vacation planning lifecycle, and the critical role dreaming plays.  Most agree the traditional model is a fairly linear process, including five stages:

  1. Dreaming
  2. Planning
  3. Booking
  4. Traveling
  5. Reminiscing

New data suggests this process is oversimplified. 

Instead of being linear, it’s adaptive, or an ongoing process that doesn’t stop but is in constant progress. In many instances, consumers are planning more than one trip at a time. What is consistent, however, is that daydreaming happens throughout the entire process. And because most vacationers are opportunistic, brands that can influence travel dreaming stand to win out over their competitors. The data suggests that fueling travel dreams results in not only increased bookings, but also additional spending.

To take advantage of this new data, travel brands should start thinking about how to inspire consumers regardless of where they sit within the vacation lifecycle.  Suppliers should think of it as helping their customers flex and fuel their imaginations. The more creative and inventive a consumer’s day dreaming about travel becomes, the more likely it is that they’ll spend more on the trip itself.

This article is an excerpt from a proprietary research presentation.  For more information or to schedule a presentation, please contact Victoria Simmons, VP Group Director — Travel & Tourism.

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is Senior VP, Travel at BVK

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