With the recent increase in business trips for small and medium enterprises, corporate travel is becoming a major part of the tourism industry. And while SMEs are beginning to get into the corporate travel game, companies of more than 1000 employees still have big travel budgets. So how do tourism professionals tap into this growing audience of global travellers? Proper branding can position your tourism company to capitalize on the corporate audience. The key is to think like a corporate professional and follow corporate branding practices.
Assess how you are already perceived with a brand audit
The first thing you want to do when you approach marketing is to know where you stand. That means doing a complete brand audit of your company. This might sound time consuming, and it is, but it’s extremely important. As we transportation nerds would say, “You can’t plan your route when you don’t know where you are.”
Know your audience
You wouldn’t speak to a toddler the way you would speak to an adult. That’s because you instinctively understand your audience when it comes to your kids. So apply that logic to your customer audience. If you’re reading this, you already know who your dream audience is: corporate travellers. But take a minute to assess who is already using your services. You can use Google Analytics and surveys to poll your audience, keeping GDPR in mind if you’re collecting information from Europeans. Once you know who you’re already talking to, you can assess what you are doing right.
Know your competitors
How are you going to stand out from the crowd if you don’t know who’s in the crowd? This part of the audit requires a lot of research, so grab your laptop and get started. Begin by searching keywords for your industry. Look at the ads, but make sure you scroll further to see the organic search results. Who’s popping up? Get to know these folks and what they’re doing to attract corporate audiences. Are they buying Google Pay-Per-Click ads? Sharing blog posts? Posting Instagram stories? What do they say about their companies? What are the words they’re repeating over and over? And what are their value propositions? Ask all of the above questions, then ask yourself, “How is your company better?”
Now it’s time to look inward. A little self-reflection goes a long way. Ask yourself, “What are my company’s value propositions?” “With what voice does my company speak?” “How am I perceived?” Do a complete breakdown of your company’s image. This is extremely important because it highlights what you might need to change. Once you’ve done your brand audit, you’ll be armed with all the information you need to tell a story that sells.
Decide on your business goals and make sure your brand serves the achievement of those goals
It’s important to identify your business goals and make sure everyone in your company, including the marketing team, knows what they can do to achieve those goals. Take a page from your corporate audience’s book and use a goal setting system like Objectives and Key Results. Once everyone is on board, make sure that your brand is an effective tool in achieving specific goals beyond general social media growth.
It’s vital to also make sure that your business and brand goals align with what your customers are truly after. Do you know exactly what your corporate audience is looking for when they travel? Are you able to deliver these things? For example, a new trend is for smaller-scale travel that involves going off the beaten path. If this isn’t your particular forte, consider pairing with a travel company such as ViaHero that can help connect your customers with local experts in their destination that can provide them with that one-of-a-kind experience that they’ll talk about for a long time to come.
Create a branding brief
To make sure everyone who speaks, writes, yells, and sings about your brand knows what they should be doing, write a branding brief. Include the following:
Perception of your brand
Reflection on the history of your brand
Create a style guide and share with everyone
Tour operators and support staff are your most valuable brand ambassadors. Make sure you can trust them to represent your brand in a professional and corporate-friendly way. You should also share your guide with designers, copywriters, and anyone else who interacts with the public.
Just because you’re targeting a corporate audience, doesn’t mean you have to be stiff. Corporate travel managers are people too. Speak to them like they’re humans. But make sure your copy is clean. Grammar issues are a big turnoff!
Research and respond to destination brand identities
Destinations’ tourism boards put a lot of thought into their brand identities. Their websites are rich with brand inspiration. Take a look at the tone and messaging that destinations are presenting. You can incorporate some of those elements into your branding.
Creating a complete branded experience
Whether you’re a hotel, tour operator, or other travel provider, you’ll want to provide a complete branded experience. That means incorporating transportation when applicable. Say you’re organizing brain dates at a festival. You’ve taken great care to curate the experience to inspire innovation. But you neglected to organize transportation to the festival. Some people won’t show up. Some will show up grumpy. Either way, your clientele isn’t in the right state of mind. Use transportation as an element of your experience, renting a fully-equipped coach bus or mini coach bus to transport your clientele in a comfortable and efficient way.
If you really want to impress a corporate audience, take that complete branded experience to an epic level with a bus wrap. This is a great option if you’re planning large events like conferences or startup festivals. Using massive sheets of adhesive vinyl, we can wrap your bus in a design of your choosing. Talk to a Bus.com booking specialist to find out more about how bus wrapping works.
Collect social proof
Your relationship with your clientele doesn’t stop when the sale is made. Remember to collect social proof in the form of testimonials, reviews, and social media mentions. Even if you’re not going to include it on your marketing sites, make sure you document everything. You never know when a good review will come in handy or what you’ll learn from the not-so-good review.