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How Honest Travel Brands Build Stronger Relationships with Consumers

How Honest Travel Brands Build Stronger Relationships with Consumers

If you don’t realize by now that the consumer is savvy to your marketing game, you may want to take up another trade. Consumers are fully aware and often willing participants to marketing that hooks them emotionally, particularly messaging that taps into values, personal drivers and community.

Brands have been pushing their agenda by linking to causes and communities for some time now, and arguably, caused marketing to become ubiquitous.

Today, above all this, I’m going to proffer that a brand that is honest with its audience is going to win.

Honesty in marketing traces back a few decades. Remember Avis with their open positioning as the #2 car rental service in the US? But it was ok because they “Try Harder” as a result to earn your business. Today, honesty has evolved and has become more important than ever to consumers.

In the category of travel in particular, where people are investing so much of their valued time and dollars, honesty creates a bond between traveler and travel brand.

Making an honest difference:

  • Out of the clouds – Brands are getting more real by showing that they honestly care, particularly when help is needed most, as witnessed with Airbnb offering urgent accommodations during Hurricane Harvey and jetBlue offering $99 flights for people escaping Hurricane Irma. Beyond getting involved only in an emergency, brands that support local communities bring themselves down to regular humans’ level. 
  • Breaking the wall – A lot of media/entertainment brands and CPG brands are opening themselves up and cracking humor on social media, allowing consumers to participate in the joke. However, we’ve yet to see a travel brand truly embrace this strategy. Given that many consumers take to Twitter to air their gripes with service during their trips, a huge opportunity is there for the taking.
  • Saying I’m sorry – Uber, among other non-travel brands, has recently launched apology ads to right the wrongs of their business approach and decision-makers. Meanwhile, legacy brands like United could learn a lesson on how to say sorry for missteps, dig into consumer insights, and evolve its perception in the world air travel.

Many of these displays of true caring and open communication are admirable, but travel brands should also think about and embrace the small, daily ways they can create an honest connection with their consumers. Having candid conversations with your core consumer can tease out ways you can endear them, every day – Every positive, and honest, interaction can lend itself to repeat business.

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