From backpackers to luxury seekers, there is a universal travel customer who is essential to marketing success: the Affluent Influencer or “Affluencer.”
NB: This is an opinion from Andrea Wilson, vice president, strategy director & luxury practice lead, iProspect.
Affluencers have both means (household income of $100K+) and a reputation among peers as a trusted source of good advice. They not only buy travel products and services, they recommend the ones they like to others.
Based on the travel-related findings in our recent whitepaper, Affluent Influencers – How Marketers Can Understand Their Generational Differences and Tap Into Their Authority, Affluencers are especially important to the travel industry.
Each of the three Affluencer generations – Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers – has a high interest in travel and is highly influential on travel-related topics:
- Vacation/Travel ranks #2 on their list of ad topics typically sought out/watched.
- Gen X and Boomer Affluencers are respectively 23% and 42% more likely to read travel magazines than their affluent but non-influential counterparts.
- All three generations place travel in their list of top 5 activities about which they are passionate. (Millennial Affluencers prefer to travel abroad, while Gen X and Boomer Affluencers prefer domestic destinations).
- All three Affluencer generations is considered among peers to be the “hub” or “go to” person for travel advice. Vacation/Travel makes the list of top 5 hub-person categories for all Affluencers.
Affluencers’ passion for travel combined with their authority among friends, family and colleagues makes them a valuable brand ally. When reaching and engaging Affluencers, you also gain access to their extended networks, maximizing your marketing dollars.
Here are three Affluencer marketing considerations that are particularly relevant to the travel industry:
- Affluencers access the Internet via laptop/desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as smart TVs and game consoles.
- Predictably, the younger Affluencer generations use newer technologies more frequently. In addition to using mobile as their primary device, Millennial Affluencers are substantially more likely than their affluent but non-influential counterparts to access the internet via TV (166%) or game console (115%).
- Whether you are marketing to early adopter Millennials or more traditional Boomers, it’s important to ensure presence, as well as functional and aesthetic quality across all devices. Affluencers expect a cohesive and consistent experience no matter which device they are using.
Content must accurately target Affluencer needs and interests. A few things to consider when thinking about messaging and creative content:
- Escapism as a trend - after vacation/travel, Affluencers’ #2 most watched ad category is movies. “Escape from the ordinary” is a message that will likely resonate with this group.
- The appeal of new - a majority of Affluencers (55 – 69% depending on generation) say they try to visit a different destination each time they vacation.
- Social vs. individual benefits - social benefits appeal to Millennial Affluencers who are highly concerned with appearances and social approval. Boomer Affluencers, on the other hand, are less concerned about the opinions of others, so personal benefits will be more persuasive.
- Participatory content - marketing that invites them to share reviews, images, or opinions plays well with Millennial Affluencers, 44% of whom are very engaged in creating content online. (This group is 154% more likely to create content than their affluent but non-influential counterparts.)
- A majority of Affluencers use the internet to discover and book travel (65% - 69% depending on generation).
- Millennial Affluencers are 124% more likely than their affluent but non-influential counterparts to book travel weekly.
- Gen X Affluencers and Boomer Affluencers are respectively 60% and 39% more likely than their affluent but non-influential counterparts to book travel monthly.
A search strategy that is both deep (covering specific and descriptive queries and providing content for them) and broad (covering your entire catalog of offerings as well as all devices) ensures your brand is in a dominant place as Affluencers research their travel needs. As importantly, showcasing helpful and informative content on easy-to-navigate platforms helps capture and maintain Affluencers’ interest.
Putting the Affluencer to work for you
Engaging the Affluencer traveler can have a profound effect on your business. Connect with this influential group and your marketing will be more effective, as they use their authority to help grow your brand’s awareness and affinity.
NB: This is an opinion from Andrea Wilson, vice president, strategy director and luxury practice lead, iProspect.
NB2: Newton balls image via Shutterstock.