Building your brand and establishing it as one that travelers can relate to and trust is important in the travel industry. It helps to shape how your business is perceived and gives people the chance to connect with you.
In this busy and digital world that businesses now exist in, it is a great way to let people know what you are all about and give your travel business a voice of its own.
We will take a look at three great examples of brand building in the travel industry, and highlight exactly how it is they have differentiated themselves from the competition and shaped our perceptions of them.
Examples Of Brand Building Through Storytelling and Marketing Campaigns
As you know, this online market place started out as a platform where travelers could book a room or entire house from a host offering up their place in a particular city.
Today the site offers more than just places to stay as experiences are now available to book too. Overall, AirBnB places focus largely on its customers – which is both the guest and the host in this case.
Testament to this is the platform’s review ethos.
Think of the last time you used the site, you likely read through the guest reviews before proceeding with any bookings. And if you are a host and someone wanted to book your home, you likely read the host reviews left on the person before accepting their reservation.
There is a big emphasis on trust on this platform. By nurturing a mutually beneficial and transparent relationship between hosts and guests, Airbnb has become a hugely successful name in the industry.
Of course, the nature of this relationship is constantly evolving and driven largely through the peer society. As of 2016, Airbnb launched guidebooks which are written by local hosts and provide insider knowledge of the host’s city. Any host can create one and guests get access to them automatically through their account.
Leveraging user-generated content saw the platform’s experiences compete more closely with the likes of TripAdvisor. Through storytelling and providing handy information to guests, Airbnb managed to successfully move the brand away from the business of accommodation and towards experiencing a place like a local.
Inspired By Iceland
Next in our examples of brand building is Inspired by Iceland, a tourism information board for the Nordic island nation.
In 2010, a volcanic eruption underneath the Eyjafjallajökull glacier in Iceland saw a massive drop in tourism to the country. Unfortunately, at the time the infamous event did some damage to Iceland’s reputation as a tourism destination. Without intervention, it was predicted to have a harsh impact on the industry with devastating knock-on effects for its economy.
Inspired by Iceland was the solution that the country’s government, tourism board, and various other strategic travel industry partners put forward. The idea was to rebrand and build the image of the Nordic island destination back up to where it had been.
Over the years, the tourism board has successfully run campaigns to engage and promote tourism to this beautiful destination.
One of the first campaigns released immediately after the eruption was Iceland hour which saw local Icelander’s, celebrity Icelander’s and other well-known figures who had previously visited the country getting involved.
They took to social media to share stories of the country, promote it as a destination and let everyone know that the volcano had not stopped life for the nation. Live webcams were set up at several tourist hotspots and the feed shared on social media, and a live web concert to raise awareness was held.
The result was millions in extra tourism revenue, web hits and stories shared. In fact, it was the most interest the country had ever seen.
Over the next few years, the tourism board has continued to use various humorous, informative and inspiring video campaigns including Honorary Islander, Ask Guðmundur, The Iceland Academy, and The A-Ö of Iceland to successfully build awareness of the destination.
Hotel and resort chain Westin recognize that travelers are increasingly focused on wellness along all parts of their journey. In order to appeal to a market of mindful travelers, they have used brand building to help nurture a loyal customer base.
Without singling out families, business, leisure or wellness travelers, the hotel chain has chosen to put out the message that taking care of their guests through healthy food, promoting movement and sleep, as well as sustainable travel practices is of utmost importance to them.
In order to build their image as a haven where travelers can rest, eat, work and move well, they have aligned their website branding and language to reflect this.
You will notice when landing on their home page that you invited to Empower Your Well Being through their signature wellness offerings. You are also encouraged to Stay Well at Westin, as well as be at your best while on the road.
With this in mind, several of their marketing and brand awareness campaigns focus on putting people’s well being first and foremost.
As an example, their You Need Better Vacation Days tool did its rounds on the internet, offering a humorous out of office message generator to encourage Americans to take the leave days they are entitled to.
Then there is the sustainability program which sees the hotels reweaving bed linen to make children’s pajamas to distribute to communities in need.
Through using a consistent voice and message that appeals to wellness orientated travelers, Westin is building their brand as one that mindful people can turn to.
Brand building is vital to gain customer loyalty and trust. By building up a personality and voice for your travel company, you can let travelers know how you are different from the competition, and better communicate your unique value to the world in a crowded digital space.