Short haul vs long haul: which travel promotion prize will you choose?

We covered everything from city breaks to adventure holidays in our recent report Exploring Travel.  With travel becoming ever-more accessible, it’s increasingly important that promotional travel prizes offer incomparable experiences that surpass, and outshine those of an average holiday.

Understanding which trends are worth chasing — and which are dead weight — has always been crucial for marketers. Aligning the prize with the brand is essential. But when it comes to choosing a travel prize, the obvious answer isn’t always the best answer.  


Striking a balance

We know the varying factors that define a demographic — age, gender, income etc — will undoubtedly impact on the way consumers respond to a promotion.

But in an era when consumer demands are changing at an alarming rate and audience stereotypes becoming less and less relevant — it’s challenging to pin down exactly which prize will motivate engagement.

For brands it’s about striking a balance between generating as much of a buzz around a prize as possible and ensuring that the prize remains relevant and beneficial on a long term basis.

Put some meaning behind it

The ultimate aim is to build a relationship with your audience. For the prize to encourage an affinity between brand and winner. And for the winner to share their experiences online and with their friends and family for years to come.

If brands want to inspire and motivate consumers to act on a promotion, they must get creative. But should you look to keep your prize short and sweet, or commit to a long haul adventure?

Time to get your thinking cap on!

Short haul breeds choice

We’re in the midst of a bumper year of tourism for Western Mediterranean countries. Destinations such as Spain have been the main beneficiary of a shift towards tried and tested holiday hotspots that are seen as a safe bet for British travellers. (ABTA)

But with so many vibrant and culturally rich European destinations only a short flight away, brands shouldn’t let this trend restrict the scope of their travel promotion prize.

With 43% of people taking a city break in 2015 and 20% of consumers citing a luxury city trip in Europe as the most appealing travel prize (Savvy Cynics) — it’s clear that demand is on the up.

It could be a romantic getaway for two to Paris, or a party weekender in Prague — either way, short haul, short stay prizes can offer a more viable option for those with a lower budget.

Yet this type of travel also holds universal appeal. Those with bigger budgets should definitely keep their options open when it comes to the short haul-long haul conundrum.

By spending less on flights and accommodation, brands can augment their prize by including additional, pre-booked activities and excursions that enrich the winner’s experience.

How about:

  • A tour of Paris in an iconic Citroen 2CV roll-back roof, or perfecting your ballroom steps on the banks of Jardin Tino Rossi!
  • Enhancing the average tourist experience of Amsterdam’s famous canal network with a dynamic paddle boarding activity.
  • Not only sending winners to Barcelona to see the city’s sensational architecture, but also include tickets to see FC Barcelona and a tour of the Nou Camp (Europe’s biggest stadium!)
travel promotion

Customise and Personalise

In a time when consumers are keen to share their experiences online, be sure to engineer a distinctive, enviable experience that offers up the sense of individuality that people crave.

Consumers continue to seek out choice.

From a trip to outer space, to a camper van tour of the UK — one consumer’s idea of a dream getaway may prove entirely different to another’s (Savvy Cynics). Keeping prizes short and sweet will leave a lot of wiggle room to create something entirely bespoke and unique.

With this in mind brands should consider dream ticket and ‘pick and mix’ style promotional prizes. Such mechanics provide consumers with a wider selection of ventures and destinations to choose from, and ensure that the prize package is a perfect fit.

Opening up the reach and overall appeal of the competition can increase engagement. However brands must always be aware of the time consuming logistics and complexities involved in planning bespoke travel prizes.

Long haul tells stories

Long haul destinations present a striking opportunity for brands to offer consumers once-in-a-lifetime experiences that breed unforgettable memories and align directly with their values…

As consumers have become savvier, marketers have had to do the same.

By sending prize winners on trips and excursions that relate to a company’s culture, products and ethos, consumers can get closer to the brand through experiences that help to tell its story.

More than just afternoon tea

One UK tea brand flew competition winners out to Sri Lanka to stay at their tea plantation. Whilst there, winners toured the plantation — discovered exactly where the ingredients for their afternoon brew comes from — and were given the chance to pick their own tea leaves.

Experiences like this evoke a sense of authenticity and are more likely to create a lasting connection with the consumer. Brands need to show they’re proud of their heritage, what they produce and encourage future conversations about their story.

This is an extremely effective approach to travel promotions — for brands looking to really make an impact on their winners — as it acts as the most literal and transparent way to build a meaningful relationship.

New sights, sounds and tastes

“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

– Ibn Battuta

Consumers’ own stories can also prove an extremely influential source of marketing. With 86% of millennials stating ‘experiencing a new culture’ as a top motivator to engage in travel, there’s no doubt that the appeal to ‘live like a local’ is growing.

So it makes perfect sense to provide them with a brand new experience with the aim of cultural immersion — Rio Carnival for example or a week in a New York apartment?

family travel promotion

The last ten years have also seen a whopping 800% increase in family long haul holidays (ABTA) — which shows a growing desire and willingness from parents to venture further with their offspring.

Family orientated brands in particular, are being presented with massive opportunities to tap into their target audience with something completely unique.

Which one will you choose?

When it comes to opting for the right destination and experiences to include as part of your next travel promotion prize, there are a number of critical considerations to take on-board.

Budget will always have a bearing over the eventual route you choose to take — but with travel more accessible than ever before and airfares dropping year on year, there’s plenty of options out there for you.

Whether its short haul or long haul, make it bold and remarkable.

Short haul trips can range from city breaks to 14-night stays, and have bags of potential when it comes to additional experiences and excursions.

While long haul may stretch your pockets a little further — sending winners to destinations that tell your brand’s story, can help to breed a strong bond between you and your consumers.

With so many choices it can be difficult to decide on the right travel prize for your consumers. So think hard, keep an open mind and create something meaningful.

If you want to discover more on consumer travel demands and what makes for an extraordinary travel promotion, download your FREE Exploring Travel report today!

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