How Experiential Marketing Is Shaping The Travel Industry

Many leading players in the travel industry are generously shifting away from the conventional methods of marketing, heading towards experience-based marketing techniques, writes, Prashant Kumar


How can one truly review or appreciate a product or service without experiencing it first-hand? In this digital-first society bonded by tech, the answer to the questions remains the same: you can’t! back in the days when just a Tv advert was enough to do the job, today the extreme segregation of the market demands to be innovation and experimentative.

Everything comes down to brand-building, careful curation of customer experience as well as cultivating a loyal community of buyers and keeping an upper hand with the current market trends. How will you do that? Experiential marketing is the way forward. 

Many leading players in the travel industry are generously shifting away from conventional marketing methods, heading towards experience-based marketing techniques. The unique brand positioning through providing the customers a first-hand sense of the brand and its offerings is what is the current game changer.

Today, experiential marketing is taking a lead in driving valuable customers toward product purchase, allowing them to sense the service in person. While delightful experiences encourage sales and customer loyalty, it also offers a memorable multisensorial interaction between the customer and the brand.

Travel and Experiential Marketing:

Travel marketing in 2022 and beyond, has to work harder and smarter than it has ever before. And the answer to this is experiential marketing. It gives the brands an edge over print and digital communication channels, bringing in value propositions.

There are various reasons why experiential marketing is a needed integration for the travel industry, some of which are listed below:

Brand & Customer Engagement:

Experiential Marketing can be fun when you explore new horizons. When it comes to buying a product or service, it takes much more than a salesperson pitching about the brand and features. A buyer needs to see and experience the particular product to transfigure into a potential buyer.

For instance, Mahindra & Mahindra stands to be a pioneer in experiential marketing in India. Their age-old campaign - Great Escape, a single-day off-roading event has garnered an immeasurable amount of traffic by providing in-hand motor experience to their potential as well as futuristic customers too.

It not only built an emotional connection with the customer base but also provided an opportunity to upsell face to face.

Personal level branding - Building a connection:

Today’s Zen z, Zen Y & Millennials are more inclined towards having a value-worthy experience that undoubtedly leaves a lasting impression. And brand communication holds to be more personal the experiential marketing.

Talking about the SNCF, a French rail network, the brand experimented by providing real-time chances to experience a world beyond with their “just next-door campaign”. They placed colorful doors in different places across Europe for people to open into different places each time. It helped the brand to build a large audience with people.

Even collaboration between two industries, irrelevant of what the individual brands stand for, can bring out an unexpected experience for the people, making it a win-win situation for both parties.

The idea/campaign that is drool-worthy:

Experiential Marketing is the biggest publicity one can get for the travel industry, provided the campaign design with a relevant and atypical approach. Moreover, people are more inclined to talk about or share these personal experiences they had on social media when the interaction's concept supports the brand's values in a way that appeals to auto enthusiasts. This will ultimately result in an increased customer base.

Experiential Marketing & Indian Travel Industry:

India’s travel market stands to be estimated to cross USD 125 Billion by FY27, where well-established brands like Make My Trip, RedBus, Zingbus and more are inclining towards adapting the experiential way of marketing, but the gap remains wider. Bus travel providers like Zingbus are constantly aiming toward bringing a strategic change in the market by introducing new ways and directions of positioning the brand.

Where the key stakeholders of the tourism and hospitality industry are focusing on higher customer experiences, the transportation industry is walking with a steady pace towards a new horizon.

Organising smaller giveaways, establishing stalls in local tourism fairs, and more such events help in building brand awareness among the target as well as the potential audience. Recently, 2019 travel start-up Zingbus took an opportunity to participate in experiential marketing through offline resources, bringing together a throng of people to enjoy games, and goodies. Later on, the particular event was highlighted and received wide recognition through social media too.

It’s what you show, not what you tell:

The bottom line of integrating experiential marketing techniques into your brand helps in positioning your brand into the cerebral parts of the customers, making them aware of your services. The travel industry should focus more on engaging its audience with real-life experiences driving away from traditional marketing ideas. A digital advertisement will never be able to replicate the sensation of really handling and driving your goods.

The author is the founder and CEO, of Zingbus.

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