By Dr Rosie "Roses are Red" Akenhead
Today I read an article on www.nooga.com which makes a mildly bland statement: “non-traditional marketing campaigns engage consumers.” It then goes on to show a marketing campaign on one of the most traditional marketing days of the calendar year: Valentine’s Day. Call me a cynic- but I find it increasingly hard, especially in the travel industry, to see innovation in marketing around this time of year. For me, Valentine’s marketing is predictable across most retail and online industries- an awful lot of red, even more love hearts and a whole lot of 241 Pizza Expresses. Joy.
The travel industry always hits a mini peak around February 14th. Weekends away, spas, theatre, dinner, flights to city destinations: all these travel picks are winners in the Valentine money spinning roulette. Lastminute.com’s second highest search term this week is for “valentine’s hotel”. Despite the population’s obliviousness to correct grammar, it would seem that it is not so much the destination, nor the price, but it is “the valentine” aspect which is the most essential part of the search. This is interesting because it gives travel marketers a new opportunity to exploit the changing market. Historically, Valentine’s marketing was all about upselling luxury: champagne, the Eiffel tower, and definitely Ladurée macaroons. In 2012, we see the deal phenomenon stand proud with Groupon offering up a “valentine’s shop”, this year with deals you couldn’t even shake a stick at, they’re that cheap. Deals which are fantastic, but not that romantic (definitely not if you know it was bought on Groupon, right?) Similarly, Hotels.com is straight on the bandwagon for Valentine’s marketing and the key theme all-round is DEALS. Cheap, save 50%, get XYZ free…
So, to conclude: the Valentine market is changing rapidly: it is about absolutely everything. It’s about deals, it’s about luxury, it’s about swagger, it’s about timeless classics, it’s about, “take your Mum instead,” or, “a weekend away with the girls.” However, most importantly, it’s about making sure you do something, anything, right or wrong, cheap or expensive, for Valentine’s Day, because it’s Valentine’s.
As a test, we’ve decided to run our own Valentine’s competition, where, if you register on Feb 14th for TDS Europe 2012, 1 person in every 10 registrations we receive will get their pass COMPLETELY FREE!
It’s nothing to do with hearts, you will not see any red coloured twinkling birds on our website, and we promise no pictures of couples canoodling in a Jacuzzi in Dubai. What you will get, is 90 speakers, 36 conference sessions, and a couple of fab networking parties, and possibly your pass for free!
Buy your pass here https://secure.firstconf.com/travel/travel-distribution-summit-europe-2012/register.asp and if you tweet, use both hashtags #tdseurope #b2bvalentines