7 Mistakes Marketers Make When Trying to Attract Families
By Matthew Rosenberger Consultant & Publisher, ABC Travel Guides for Kids | March 25, 2012
Too often money spent on marketing is wasted. When marketing is based on conventional wisdom and old assumptions rather than advances in the understanding of consumer behavior, sales suffer and money that could have been spent more wisely goes down the drain. Marketing based on age bracket or generation is blase. The current market demands marketing departments pay attention to emotional elements of their potential guests, i.e. how can I afford to take my family on vacation when I might lose my job? Understanding your guests changing needs and emotions indicates an empathy and growth that will lead to great success in any market. Too many in the industry are insensitive to the subtle nuances of the importance of the family vacation on the psyche of the American family. Too many marketing departments refuse to take initiatives and think outside of the box and the same 7 mistakes occur again and again, regardless of market conditions. Avoiding the following seven patterns will help your property save money, stay competitive, and enjoy a healthy share of the lucrative family travel business.
1. Not correctly identifying and exploiting your "WOW" Factor
Okay, it's easy for Nickelodeon Family Suites to know why families love their property. Nick goes above and beyond by executing a winning game plan with an exceptional staff that loves kids. From mass sliming, to custom drinks for the kids, they leave no stone unturned with character breakfasts, live shows, a 4D movie theatre, an unparalleled pool and water park and fun suites with bunk beds, video games, TVs and more. The "wow" factor at Nick hotel will blow most competitors (and there are a ton of competitors in the Orlando region) away. The Nick Hotel in Orlando is an attraction itself. But too many properties fail to identify and capitalize on a "wow" factor. Hotels in the Orlando region that don't have the resources or brand strength in the family market that want to attract their piece of the family travel pie must implement another strategy. Consider a "wow factor" easily attainable by a number of hotels in the Orlando region and born of three components: great value, great location and great customer service. Staybridge Suites epitomizes the successful implementation of these factors to create a "wow factor" that separates it from its competition. With two properties near Disney World and the attractions of Orlando, excellent customer service and great value Staybridge Suites has done everything right to get noticed and exploit a "wow factor" very different than Nick Hotel. While no kid is going to confuse the Nick Hotel and Staybridge Suites, visits to both properties can be equally rewarding for families.
2. Not Forming Partnerships
In this tough economy where marketing budgets are getting cut and spending freezes are in place not forming partnerships with your CVB, as well as other family friendly attractions, restaurants or businesses is inexcusable. Pooled resources and combined efforts are what will win customers attention in the highly competitive family travel demographic. Consider the steps Great Wolf Lodge has taken recently. Already a premier water park destination for families, the GWL has an amazing partnership with National Geographic Kids. Their joint marketing campaign and programs are compelling and exciting and combine all the elements that most families want-entertainment and educational activities. The alliance also places GWL at the forefront of the "go green" movement, with programs and literature specifically educating and engaging kids and families.
3. Not Paying Attention to Latest Trends and Innovations