A Deep Dive into Behavioral Targeting

Let’s imagine you’re a personalization marketer and thanks to Bound you’ve really been flexing your marketing chops. You’ve successfully set up targeting for all your geographic markets. You’re speaking to your Fly Markets and Drive Markets. You’re even personalizing to that one city in Germany that keeps reading your blog posts (Hello, Frankfurt!). You know… Read More

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Let’s imagine you’re a personalization marketer and thanks to Bound you’ve really been flexing your marketing chops. You’ve successfully set up targeting for all your geographic markets. You’re speaking to your Fly Markets and Drive Markets. You’re even personalizing to that one city in Germany that keeps reading your blog posts (Hello, Frankfurt!). You know exactly who to speak to on your website and how to speak to them. 

And that’s fantastic! Geographic targeting is a great way to personalize to your website visitors because it’s relatively easy to enable and can be highly effective. But, geographic targeting is also like hanging out in the shallow end of an Olympic-size pool. You’re going to have a good time in that shallow end, but there’s an entire pool of other opportunities to explore! And that next deeper level of segmentation is Behavioral Targeting. 

Behavioral Targeting is essentially speaking to a visitor based on their interactions with your site. Instead of targeting broadly based on a visitor’s location in the world, you’re instead targeting based on what pages they are visiting or how many times they have visited the site. It’s an expansive way to categorize audiences so it may seem daunting at first. But, with the help of your trusty personalization expert, you can easily add behavioral targeting to your personalization toolbelt. 

So, get your swim caps and floaties on, we’re diving into our favorite ways to target your on-site visitors based on behavior!

Current URL

We’ll start with segmenting based on the page a visitor is on. Targeting based on a visitor’s current URL is a natural next step after personalizing based on Geographic location. This type of segmentation involves targeting a visitor when they are on a specific URL (i.e. the homepage) or when that visitor is on a page within a set of URLs (i.e. the visitor is currently on a page that contains /blog). Often times, this brand of behavioral segmentation is dismissed as being too simplistic, but in practice, it can be highly effective.

For Example:

Imagine you have an especially tantalizing blog written about a new outdoor park in town. This would be a perfect piece of content to get in front of everyone interested in the Adventure or Outdoors area of your website. Ah-Ha! Let’s set up a fly-in to serve to every person currently on your site’s ‘Outdoors’ page to make all visitors interested in that subject aware of this wonderful resource in your city! 

Previous URL

Similar to the above targeting strategy, you can also set up personalization based on pages that a visitor has been to in the past. If a visitor returns repeatedly to a specific page or set of pages, that’s a pretty clear indication that they are interested in content of a specific nature. The most strategic personalization would be to show them related content or to offer a conversion point related to their engagement with those interest based pages once they have left those pages.

For Example:

If a visitor has gone to the dining pages on your site 2+ times they are either A) hungry or B) a ‘foodie’ (or both!) . If you’d like them to digest (pun!) the food and drink content on site without interference, you may not want to target them on a food focused page. However, if they leave the food focused area of the site and you have more related content, like a restaurant deal or a special Dining Guide, it would be fantastic practice to target them on other pages with content you know they will find interesting. Bring on that creative cuisine content!

Number of Visits 

We’ve written a blog post or two on how to speak to your repeat visitors. That’s because speaking to repeat visitors is a super effective way to target people you know are interested in your destination. Repeat visitors have seen your site and virtually said, “I should visit this site again!” What a compliment- They like you, they really like you! The trick to getting those repeat visitors to come back for more is figuring out how to show new content to keep those visitors engaged.

For Example:

Within the realm of targeting repeat visitors, there’s a ton of strategic possibilities. One of my favorite ways to target repeat visitors is to set up a waterfall system of targeting based on what visit a person is on (i.e. first, second, third, fiftieth visit??). In practice, this could look as simple as targeting a ‘first-time visitor’ with a Fly-In that promotes the Visitor Guide conversion. Then on a visitor’s 2nd visit, serving a fly-in that promotes a eNewsletter conversion. On a 3rd visit, you could serve a fly-in asking for a survey completion. This gives a repeat visitor something new to do every time they engage with your site and will keep those visitors coming back for more. Of course, this is not limited to conversion centric fly-ins. You could similarly target a repeat visitor with new blog posts or perhaps send them straight to an events page. The strategy will be dependent on your visitors and dependent on your site. 

Goal Completions

A visitor comes to your site and after a few minutes browsing, decides to download a Visitor Guide. Woo-hoo! Start the Parade! Throw the confetti! But now what? Do you want that visitor to leave the site? Chances are you want to keep them around. And you may even have more conversions that you’d like them to complete. Targeting based on Goal Completions allows you to lead a visitor down a predetermined nurture path, consistently giving that visitor a new asset to download or a new form to fill out. This is when targeting based on goal completions truly enters your segmentation strategy. 

For Example:

If a person has downloaded your visitor guide, you may segment them into a group of visitors that has already converted on that specific goal. With this information you can assume that this visitor is highly engaged, after all, they just downloaded something from your site! In theory, that visitor would be a fantastic person to serve an eNewsletter prompt. Since they’ve already converted on the Visitor Guide, you want to push them further down your nurture path and personalize content to them which promotes the next step on their journey into your website. 

The 4 Behavioral Targeting strategies listed above skim the surface of potential ways to speak to your online audiences but in this Olympic pool of personalization, there’s even more you can do! If you want to keep swimming deeper and deeper, reach out to a member of the Bound team or your designated swim instructor (CSM) to learn more! 

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How Seattle Southside RTA Increased Visitor Guide Conversions

One of the most common challenges for a destination is accurately capturing a visitor’s intent to visit and ensuring that a personalized experience leads to both clicks and goal conversions. Visitor Guides, often referred to as Travel Planners, are an essential way to track intent to visit.   Like many other destinations, Seattle Southside Regional Tourism… Read More

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One of the most common challenges for a destination is accurately capturing a visitor’s intent to visit and ensuring that a personalized experience leads to both clicks and goal conversions. Visitor Guides, often referred to as Travel Planners, are an essential way to track intent to visit.  

Like many other destinations, Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority’s Travel Planner requests remain a critical goal in tracking website engagement.  In Fall 2019, the Seattle Southside RTA team saw a decrease in their Travel Planner request conversions, both year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter. Furthermore, the team found that the gap between their Targeted and Default audience increased, highlighting that this goal had become a more challenging conversion point for audiences.

With the intent of increasing Travel Planner conversions, the Seattle Southside RTA team decided to refresh their content with a seasonal focus on their imagery.  They first created two versions of Travel Planner content, both with gorgeous Fall scenery highlighting the region’s colorful season.  

Launching the content as an A/B test, the Seattle Southside RTA team was amazed at the increased engagement.  Within the first few weeks, this new content saw an 8% increase in Click Through Rates (CTRs) over their regular Travel Planner content.  Better yet, the team saw a 15% increase in Travel Planner conversions within the first month of the new content running.

Encouraged by this initial response, the team continued to run the seasonal content until the last few weeks of the year.  Quarter over quarter, the team saw a 26% increase in conversions, with a year-over-year increase of 43%!  Using the new Goal Dashboard, the Seattle Southside RTA team was able to further breakdown the conversion rate for each of the new content pieces allowing them to see that the new content pieces not only had higher CTRs, but also much higher conversion rates vs their original content. The team found a 79% increase in conversions for their Desktop content, as well as a 63% increase for their Mobile content.

Inspired by the results of their A/B test, Seattle Southside RTA plans on launching more tests for goal related content with seasonal imagery.  Knowing that the new Goal Dashboard allows for a deeper level of insight into their testing, the Seattle Southside RTA team is better equipped to deepen their visitor’s personalization journey to increase goal conversions and engagement.

Congratulations to Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority for a job well done!

 

Interested in increasing your conversions?  Personalization can help you get there.  We’d love to chat with you more about making it happen!

 

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Old vs New: How Repeat Visitors Impact Your Metrics and 3 Strategies to Increase Engagement

New, new, new. New year, new website, new goals… the focus on new never ends. T&T marketers know that the majority of their website visitors are new users and tend to focus their personalization strategies around engaging these new visitors. But what about your return visitors? Do you know how your return visitor traffic stacks… Read More

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New, new, new. New year, new website, new goals… the focus on new never ends. T&T marketers know that the majority of their website visitors are new users and tend to focus their personalization strategies around engaging these new visitors. But what about your return visitors? Do you know how your return visitor traffic stacks up compared to other destinations?

Working in the DMO space gives us unique insight. Return visitors can make up anywhere from  6-30% of sessions for destination websites. While return visitors commonly have slightly higher performance on pages per session and visit duration, they tend to have a higher bounce rate than new visitors.

It makes sense to prioritize strategies for new visitors, but if almost a quarter of your website traffic is returning visitors, it’s also important to plan the best possible website experience for these repeat visitors. 

Here are 3 questions to keep in mind when thinking about your repeat visitor traffic and some best practices to keep this audience engaged.

How Frequently Are You Showing Overlay Content?

We’ve discussed the ethics of “pop-ups” before, but this is of utmost importance when considering your repeat traffic. If you are only setting daily or weekly limits on your pop-up content, your returning traffic is likely being repeatedly disrupted by that same old content. 

Best Practice: Serve unique content only once a month at minimum, and if possible, consider showing even less frequently, like every six months or once a year. If there is specific content repeat visitors should see multiple times, set up fresh versions of the content instead of short frequency limits. This prevents content fatigue and also helps the new content stand out from what they saw on their last visit.

Where Are Your Repeat Visitors Located?

Geo-targeting is always a solid strategy and shouldn’t be overlooked for repeat visitors. Because your repeat audience is smaller, breaking out individual markets creates very tiny visitor groups, but consider separating your local audience from drive or fly regions. The reasons a local visitor frequents your website are quite different from someone who would be potentially flying in. Additionally, while repeat visitors are prime candidates for hotel/places to stay offer content, someone already in the area likely isn’t interested in these deals.

Best Practice: Take advantage of geo-targeting to create in market, drive market, and fly market repeat visitor groups. You can then serve content to these visitors that’s more likely to be of interest, such as hotel deals for out of market visitors and activity deals or upcoming events to local visitors.

Where Are Your Repeat Visitors Entering the Site?

Identifying where repeat visitors are landing can help you determine if it’s a page that typically has fresh content, or if they’re potentially seeing the same thing over and over again. The homepage is still the most common landing page for repeat visitors, and having been there before these visitors are less likely to scroll down the page. 

Best Practice: If you aren’t currently updating your hero content on a regular basis, consider targeting repeat visitors with fresh content or at minimum, new imagery. To combat fatigue, plan to update repeat visitor content more frequently than your other visitors. Alternatively, consider setting up your hero based on exclusions so that repeat visitors who have already been to the destination page are served new content. 

By keeping these best practices in mind, you can use personalization to make your returning visitors feel like they’re getting a new experience not once, but every time they come to your website.

If you’re interested in discussing other ways to engage your returning visitor traffic, contact us today!

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Bound’s 2020 Travel Resolutions

Can you believe we’re halfway into January already? As we move from thinking about our new year resolutions to actually starting to live them, our team has been reflecting upon our own travel related resolutions for the year. Working in the DMO space, it’s impossible not to dream about all the amazing places we would… Read More

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Can you believe we’re halfway into January already? As we move from thinking about our new year resolutions to actually starting to live them, our team has been reflecting upon our own travel related resolutions for the year. Working in the DMO space, it’s impossible not to dream about all the amazing places we would love to visit.

We hope you enjoy reading about our travel goals and are inspired to make your own travel resolutions!

Ali’s resolution: Take a honeymoon

After our wedding happened at the end of November, it’s been a blur of holiday travel. We’re finally getting a chance to catch up, which mostly means writing ‘thank you’ cards and questioning why I thought registering for more towels was a good idea (seriously – how many towels did I think two people need?) We’re also turning our attention to dreaming aloud about our honeymoon, which we purposefully held off on planning so we could give it our full attention. We’re torn now between renting a car and driving up the coast from San Fransisco to Seattle, or doing an Amtrak through the Cascade mountains. We need to make a decision soon, but it’s been fun to daydream all our future travel wishes!

Post-wedding, ready to nap for several days and THEN plan a honeymoon trip.

Jared’s resolution: Leave the house

As we expect our first kid in March we are not planning any travel at least by plane in the near future, and hopefully we can get out to nearby parks and the beach in between diaper shopping trips. We may make some road trips later in the year to introduce the new member of the family to other members in other parts of California. Maybe by the end of the year or next year we will build up the courage to attempt a flight to visit friends and family who are more spread out.

Mary Clare’s resolution: Summer in the mountains

There are many reasons to love living in Austin, but the temperature in July and August is not one of them. Every summer, when the thermometers start rising, my husband and I start talking about how “one summer we need to just leave when we get to triple digits.” That’s especially the case now that we have small children – we can only stay in the a/c for so long before we all get a little stir crazy. So this year, my travel resolution is to actually plan an escape to the mountains and cooler weather during those long weeks of 100+ degrees.

The first thing MC will do this summer: sing it from the mountains!

Adriana’s resolution: The great American road trip

Last year I hacked my way to a Southwest companion pass which meant almost monthly trips around the United States. I visited new parts of the country and it was WONDERFUL. This year, I no longer have a companion pass (SAD) and my Frequent Flyer Miles dwindled quickly with so many trips. So this year, instead of flying around the country like some sort of Southwest celeb, I’m in the preliminary stages of planning a good ol’ fashioned American road trip, a la National Lampoon’s Vacation (hopefully sans Aunt Edna trouble). I’d like to go through South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota, hitting up any and all National Parks that I pass through.

Abbey’s bags are packed (full of treats) for her road trip!

Jessica’s resolution: Go somewhere new

Because of his packed professional wrestling schedule, my boyfriend doesn’t have a lot of downtime for vacation. For the last few years we have been hitting our same favorite destinations (aka Las Vegas) over and over again. This year, the goal is to go to at least one brand new area. We haven’t really started looking yet, but if a city has both a professional baseball team (for him) and cool theme park or historical spot (for me), it’d be high on the list!

Jessica’s boyfriend Rob is DEFINITELY going to need a vacation after this.

Taylor’s resolution: Take a trip my 8-month old won’t remember

Unlike Mary Clare, I appreciate the summer heat. Who knew you could be so used to 100+ temps that jeans are still “summer appropriate”? I, however, hate the cold, so we’re escaping this brutal Texas winter next week and taking a family trip to San Diego. We first visited San Diego when my son was 8 months old, and now that our daughter is now 8 months, it’s only fitting that she gets to experience San Diego (especially the zoo) when she won’t remember a thing.

Taylor and family at the San Diego zoo! They hope to wrangle two kids this year to recreate this photo this year.

 

Wherever your travels take you in 2020, we hope it’s a wonderful journey. We’re very grateful for our amazing clients who not only inspire us to travel, but help make it a possibility.

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How Denver Increased Engagement for Ad Visitors

With the launch of their “always on” regional “Reclaim the Weekend” ad campaign, VISIT DENVER faced the challenge of how to keep their main landing page relevant. The regional effort, which promotes visiting Denver for a long weekend, targets a wide variety of personas that change monthly. Instead of creating multiple new landing pages every… Read More

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With the launch of their “always on” regional “Reclaim the Weekend” ad campaign, VISIT DENVER faced the challenge of how to keep their main landing page relevant. The regional effort, which promotes visiting Denver for a long weekend, targets a wide variety of personas that change monthly. Instead of creating multiple new landing pages every month, VISIT DENVER used personalization with Bound to match the hero slideshow content to the appropriate persona.

VISIT DENVER developed and rolled out three waves of ad personalization within their first year with Bound:

Wave 1

The first step was to personalize the slideshow for visitors coming to the landing page directly from the ad. This involved not only showing the appropriate group of slides but also starting the slideshow with the content targeted to that persona. While these visitors only had a 4% increase in clicks specifically on their persona-targeted slides, overall page engagement was significantly increased. Compared to other visitors, the ad persona segments had a 53% increase in visit duration and a 45% decrease in bounce rate when entering the site through the Reclaim the Weekend landing page.

Wave 2

The second step was to use Bound’s Media Optimizer tool to personalize the slideshow for visitors who were exposed to the ad. The pixeling capabilities of Media Optimizer allowed Denver to target Reclaim page visitors who had seen, but hadn’t clicked on the ad, as well as visitors who came back to the site after their specific persona campaign ended. Not only did these pixeled visitors have great page engagement, but they also had a 100% increase in clickthrough rates on the slideshow and were 28% more likely to click specifically on the persona-targeted slides. With this information, Denver had the data needed to show that visitors were still interested in persona-specific content even if they had not clicked on the ad. 

Wave 3

The third step was to build on the learnings from the first two phases of personalization and launch a fly-in campaign. The fly-in targeted visitors exposed to the persona who had never clicked on the ad or otherwise reached the Reclaim page. Using the fly-in, Denver was able to successfully direct 2% of these visitors to the page and continued to increase website engagement. Visitors exposed to the persona fly-in had a further 23% increase in visit duration and 18% decrease in bounce rate.

By identifying visitor interests based on ads, even if those visitors never directly engaged with the ad, Denver has been able to increase views on their key ad landing page and continually increase their landing page engagement. This has increased overall site performance and has allowed Denver to optimize the experience for these high-value website visitors. 

Want to learn more about personalizing for your targeted ad visitors? 

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Finding the Fun in Travel Marketing: Aiming for the Sleigh Factor

Ho Ho Ho and Happy Holidays to all you wonderful winter people! As the weather gets colder, our DMO client’s marketing starts to focus on one big winter holiday that takes over department stores, classrooms, offices, and websites. It’s festive, beautiful, and usually involves family, presents, and gratitude. That’s right, we’re talking about the big… Read More

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Ho Ho Ho and Happy Holidays to all you wonderful winter people! As the weather gets colder, our DMO client’s marketing starts to focus on one big winter holiday that takes over department stores, classrooms, offices, and websites. It’s festive, beautiful, and usually involves family, presents, and gratitude. That’s right, we’re talking about the big one… Boxing Day!

Kidding! Of course we’re talking about CHRISTMAS. Around mid November, the team at Bound gets to experience first hand the holiday traditions that take over cities, states, and CVBs (we even named a few of our favorites in this blog post). Marketing winter and holiday events is merry and joyful and helps us feel fully prepared for the Christmas season.

But, it also got us thinking about some other Christmas-focused destinations that may be more difficult to market because of the variety of visitors or the difficulty in reaching the location. So, as a continuation of our multi-part series of ‘personalized marketing for fictional* destinations,’ we’re adding another famous place to our list:

THE NORTH POLE 

Because while it may be easy to get humans to visit Santa’s factory, it’s going to take some very different marketing approaches to convince the Elves to visit the winter wonderland way up North. And what better way to market to different Christmas personas than with a little bit of persona based personalization!

DESTINATION BACKGROUND: 

Let’s start with a  little background information about the North Pole as a destination. As a disclaimer, based on my intensive research I do not think you can actually reach the North Pole because 1) it’s constantly moving and shifting around like a wobbly top hat on the globe, 2) it’s frozen, and 3) Santa’s put a magic spell on it making it impossible for humans to see or visit. But, according to legends, songs, and popular films, it’s a beautiful place that’s constantly doused in Christmas cheer. It’s snowy and cold but everyone seems genuinely pleased to be there. And most importantly, it’s where Santa has chosen to set up shop literally and figuratively. He has, as of a few hundred years ago, moved his workshop and home to the North Pole, making it the capital of Christmas and arguably, where all Christmas magic begins. 

There are three main groups of personas that would be highly interested in learning what is going on and what makes the North Pole an exciting destination, but all three would want to explore for very different reasons. First, I’ll describe each of these personas, then I’ll provide the DOs and DONTs for targeting them so that we can understand how in the jingle bells the North Pole could become the most visited Christmas destination, with the right personalization strategy.

PERSONA SEGMENT: SANTA
(AKA Business Travellers)

For the sake of your childhood wonder, I hope that you have a vague idea of the man that is Santa Claus. But if not, I’ll give you a few bullet points about the legendary Kris Kringle. He’s a jolly older gentleman who exclusively wears a red fur suit, keeps a list of good and bad children, and delivers presents on Christmas Eve. His job entails sneaking into our houses after we’ve gone to sleep, leaving us presents, and taking whatever sweet treats we leave out for him (I think his preference is oatmeal cookies). He also runs a very busy workshop that creates toys and that workshop is headquartered in the North Pole. 

DOS:

If the North Pole set up personalization for Santa, it’s important to understand that Santa is not a businessman. He’s a business,* man. His work is very important to him and he has essentially created a Christmas empire. So, thinking business first, he wants what is best for him, his company, and his employees. When targeting Santa, be sure to note that the North Pole is actually outside the confines of any one country. That’s right, according to a quick google search, the North Pole is technically floating in international waters somewhere. That means no taxes which is a brilliant financing ploy to convince the big man in red!  Plus, for a workplace that emphasizes warm beverages and cozy stockings, the temperature is ideal for Santa, elves, and reindeer alike. 

If personalizing to Santa Clause, emphasize the cold weather, availability of workers, and the fact that his business gets to exist in a much more frigid version of the Wild West. No laws, no taxes, anything goes! 

*Note: Santa’s workshop may be a non-profit. I don’t really know. 

DO NOTS: 

While the North Pole is a wonderful place for business, it’s not all candy canes and mistletoe. There are things about living in the North Pole that could turn anyone into a Grinch. For instance, if targeting Santa or any business, the North Pole should absolutely NOT mention the commute to work. Santa has a limited amount of time to get to the “office” (what I’m assuming he calls our living rooms). Do not emphasize that he’ll need to travel thousands of miles to his first stop or that it will be thousands of miles to his next stop after that, or his next one, or his next one. Also, maybe don’t mention that there’s no movie theatre, no restaurants, no grocery stores, or really anything in the North Pole. We don’t need Santa trying to make any kind of big move. 

PERSONA SEGMENT: ELVES
(AKA the locals)

The next persona group is the Elves! Elves are typically thought of exclusively as ‘Santa’s Helpers’ but they are so much more than that! They’re tiny little creatures that love to sing, dance, and yes, they usually work in Santa’s workshop building toys or taking care of his reindeer. They enjoy standard winter activities like snowball fights, eating candy, and spending time with family.

DOS: 

If movies like Elf are to be believed, the Christmas elves are a tight knit community. They love Christmas but they also love spending time together. If you’re personalizing your content to Elves you’ll want to emphasize the more social aspects of the North Pole. Push events and things to do around town. Show off the Elf community, the plethora of syrup, and the availability of snowman building supplies. 

DO NOTS: 

Santa’s elves are an interesting persona group because traditional “North Pole” messaging will not work on them. Do you think the city you live in would entice other travelers to visit by posting pictures of your workspace? Definitely not! So naturally, targeting should not use pictures of Santa’s Workshop to entice Elves to come visit the North Pole. And in that line of thinking, do you think they want to see pictures of their boss everywhere? No matter how much they love the jolly guy, it’s probably tough to be bombarded with images of the person you work for. 

PERSONA SEGMENT: HUMANS
(AKA the tourists)

And lastly, let’s talk about marketing towards humans. Hopefully I don’t need to get too far into what a human persona group looks like because if you are reading this you should be quite familiar. But, generally humans enjoy the holiday season, a few Scrooge-y humans notwithstanding. We have fragile human skin which does feel cold. And for the most part, we like presents. 

DOS: 

Do I need to break down the reasons humans would go to the North Pole? It’s the same reason travelers might want to go to the Dr. Pepper facilities in Dublin, TX or the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, CA. We want to see a glimpse behind the scenes of what it takes to pull off the best holiday of the year! Is it chaotic or well organized? Is Santa kind to his elves or is his managerial style more stern? How do they train the reindeer for their big night?I want to know it all! And it is literally the only attraction that could convince me to travel to a place that requires 4-5 parkas to still feel cold. 

So, North Pole’s Marketing team, if you’re reading: lay it on thick with the Christmas content when speaking to us regular ol’ humans. We like Christmas. We like presents. We like the idea of everyone wearing a standard fur trimmed uniform to work! Show us the North Pole’s Christmas!

DO NOTS: 

Did I mention the weather in the North Pole? It’s colder than a Polar Bear’s toenails up there. Living in central Texas I sometimes forget that the thermostat drops below 30  degrees Fahrenheit in most places. If marketing to humans my advice would be to leave out the fact that it gets to be -40 degrees Fahrenheit in winter (THIS IS TRUE! I JUST LOOKED THIS UP! THAT’S VERY COLD). 

And there you have it! A perfect way to personalize North Pole messaging to the different marketing personas that would most likely visit. Did we convince you to make the North Pole next year’s winter vacation? 

Happy holidays from our happy work family to yours – see you in 2020!

The post Finding the Fun in Travel Marketing: Aiming for the Sleigh Factor appeared first on Bound.

Bound’s Favorite Things: Destination Holiday Traditions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Our team loves partnering with our amazing clients to see how each destination celebrates their unique holiday traditions.  We’re grateful for the opportunity to work closely with our client teams every single day! To celebrate the season with ‘thankful hearts and endless joy’, and taking some inspiration… Read More

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Our team loves partnering with our amazing clients to see how each destination celebrates their unique holiday traditions.  We’re grateful for the opportunity to work closely with our client teams every single day!

To celebrate the season with ‘thankful hearts and endless joy’, and taking some inspiration from Oprah herself, we present our favorite holiday traditions inspired by some of our favorite DMOs:

Ali’s favorite thing:
Asheville, North Carolina: National Gingerbread House Competition

Baking has always been a favorite past time, but the need to bake greatly intensifies around the holiday season. Thanks to the holiday editions of baking shows, I’m able to spend even more time during the season thinking about holiday baking. A few years ago I discovered the show Gingerbread Giants and quickly became obsessed with the unbelievably amazing creations made by master baking and decorating artists.  These sculptures feel especially unbelievable because making a gingerbread house is SO MUCH HARDER than it seems and makes me feel like I have my own Nailed It! competition happening in my kitchen. 

While it has become a new tradition for me, The National Gingerbread House Competition has been a favorite Asheville holiday tradition for over 30 years. I hope to one day plan my own trip during the holidays to celebrate all things gingerbread, but for now, visions of sugar plums and icing sugar are dancing in my head as I plan out my next baking adventure!

Jessica’s favorite thing:
San Fransisco, California: Illuminate SF Festival of Light

I love all things bright and cheerful, which is why Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. My family used to drive around for hours checking out all the holiday lights. That’s why each year I’m excited to see all the new content for Illuminate San Francisco. This annual display of light art across the city (including installations on wheels like the “lightmobile’) looks so gorgeous and inviting in the photos, that I can’t wait to plan a trip to see in person!

Mary Clare’s favorite thing:
Franklin, Tennessee: Dickens of a Christmas

Is there anything more Christmasy than Charles Dickens and a Christmas Carol?

I’ve loved Dickens since the first time I saw Michael Caine and Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Christmas Carol (easily the best version ever made). In fact, I loved a Christmas Carol so much that every year growing up, my grandma would give me a house for my Charles Dickens Christmas village. Even now, it doesn’t fully feel like Christmas until I’ve pulled out these houses and set them all up for December. So I’m thrilled that the folks at the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County have hosted their Dickens of a Christmas in downtown Franklin for 35 years. With hundreds of actors and characters set in the most charming downtown I’ve ever seen, this is easily at the top of my Christmas bucket list.

Taylor’s favorite thing:
Austin, Texas: Mozart’s Coffee Roasters Light Show

If you were to tell me that cramming onto a deck at a coffee shop with hundreds of other Austinites would be my favorite holiday tradition, I would have scoffed, but Mozart’s Coffee Roasters light show is a sight to see. With over 1 million lights (which take 6 full time staff members weeks to assemble), Mozart’s Coffee on Lake Travis hosts a light show every hour on the hour from Thanksgiving until New Years. Sip cocoa, cuddle up with family, and sit in awe of this impressive 10-minute display. And of course, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” makes an appearance.

Adriana’s favorite thing:
Branson, Missouri: Christmas Tree City Trail

For me, the holiday season truly begins when Explore Branson switches all of their site’s Fall imagery to Christmas content. It usually happens about mid November and it tells me that it’s finally okay to start listening to Christmas music.

Though I am a definite Christmas and holiday enthusiast (on occasion I have been called “Christmas Crazy”), my appreciation pales in comparison to the Christmas fervor that takes over Branson, Missouri. The entire city is lit up with twinkling lights and there’s a Christmas or holiday related event almost every night. One of the things that I appreciate the most is Branson’s Christmas Tree Trail. The city boasts over 700 ‘colorful, unique, and creative’ trees. And better yet, Explore Branson created a multi-stop list so that you can tramp around to see all the trees that are at least 20 feet tall or are part of a multi-tree display. You may need the entire season to see all 700 trees but it’s a goal that I’d be willing to work towards!

 

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and, as Tiny Tim would say, “God Bless us, every one!”

The post Bound’s Favorite Things: Destination Holiday Traditions appeared first on Bound.

Make Travel Marketing Fun Again: Aiming for the Slay Factor

Working with Destinations and CVBs changes you. When visiting a new city or state, I used to do a quick 10 second scan of Yelp to decide on a lunch spot. Now, I read a few blog posts and check out the destination’s instagram before settling on the best option for a bite to eat…. Read More

The post Make Travel Marketing Fun Again: Aiming for the Slay Factor appeared first on Bound.

Working with Destinations and CVBs changes you. When visiting a new city or state, I used to do a quick 10 second scan of Yelp to decide on a lunch spot. Now, I read a few blog posts and check out the destination’s instagram before settling on the best option for a bite to eat. And things to do? You better believe I visit the tourism site’s curated list of activities and attractions. All those changes are to be expected when you work closely with amazing destination marketers. 

But, one surprising element of working with destinations? You never watch movies or TV shows the same way. Instead of placidly enjoying a movie, I spend a portion of the movie dissecting why the heck anyone would visit the setting of the film. If you’ve watched horror movies, disaster movies, or even Hot Tub Time Machine, you’ve probably found yourself asking the same thing.  

So, in the spirit of Halloween, we are kicking off a multi-part series to tell you exactly how some of these ‘film-worthy’ destinations got their tourist traffic. Because we all know, there must have been some heavy handed marketing to get visitors to some of these spots (please STOP sending your children to Camp Crystal Lake!). And, I’ll show how some fun personalization can highlight the best of a destination for every persona visiting (get ready for some stellar Graphic Design work by yours truly). 

Our First Destination:
Sunnydale, California – Home of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

If you’ve never spoken to me, you may not know about my enthusiastic appreciation for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In conversation, I try to wait till at least the 30 minute mark to reference the Slayer, the Scooby Gang, or Sunnydale High. But, most people know pretty quickly that I am a card-carrying devotee to Joss Whedon’s phenomenal series about a teenage vampire slayer. And when brainstorming for this blog series, I could think of no better representation of a multi-faceted, ‘why the heck would you visit’ destination than Buffy’s very own Sunnydale, California. 

Destination Background

Before I begin my dissection of personalization strategies for Sunnydale, CA, it’s important to know a little bit about the Buffyverse (yes- that is what it is called). The series begins by introducing Buffy Sommers, a teenager that’s been chosen to defend the world against “vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness.” In order to be most effective, she’s forced to move to Sunnydale, California where a portal exists that bridges ‘this reality and the next.’ This portal is called the Hellmouth and with it comes an abundance of supernatural activity. This means the area is teaming with ‘big bads’ like vampires and demons. But, the area is also full of humans just out there, living their everyday human lives. So, what brings both groups to the mix? And how would you market Sunnydale, California to such a diverse group of personas? With a little bit of personalization, obviously! So, let’s break it down persona by persona, starting with:

PERSONA SEGMENTATION: HUMANS 

This persona group consists entirely of the regular ol’ fleshy bodied humans that you see walking around in your day to day life, assuming that you reading this are also a human. Humans typically eat plants and sometimes animals- but always cooked(unless wrapped in seaweed over rice). Most are up and about during the daylight hours and sleep at night. All standard human behavior.

TARGETED CONTENT FOR HUMANS

Humans enjoy (and can be out in) sunshine and Sunnydale, CA has it in large supplies. Being in California, the weather is temperate and it doesn’t seem to snow. For humans, Sunnydale is a tight knit community that has a high school, a college, an adorable main street, a lively night-life district, and way too many cemeteries. 

If targeting to humans:

DO emphasize the sunshine-y weather and familial feel of quaint Sunnydale. 

DO NOT mention Hellmouth, vampires, demons, werewolves, or witches. 

PERSONA SEGMENTATION: VAMPIRES

Before I break down the Buffyverse’s vampires, let’s get one thing straight- these ain’t no sparkly, Twilight-style, Robert Patterson vampires. The Buffyverse’s vampires are ruthless, rough, and sometimes just waking up from a deep slumber (lots of bed head). Of course, they tend to drink blood. Oh, and they’re overwhelmingly soul-less. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t like to go out on the town for a little fun every now and then.  

TARGETED CONTENT FOR VAMPIRES

Unlike humans, vampires don’t like the sun so emphasizing nightlife is important. Sunnydale has a bustling nightlife district that is frequented by humans and vampires alike. Additionally, unlike humans, vampires may prefer proximity to the Hellmouth. And, there’s at least 38,000 potential meals just walking around the city (Sunnydale Human Pop is over 38K). 

If targeting to vampires:

DO emphasize the weird plethora of cemeteries, the proximity to the Hellmouth, and the pre-existing vampire community that already resides in Sunnydale. 

DO NOT mention The Slayer or the sunshine. 

PERSONA SEGMENTATION: SLAYER 

There’s really only supposed to be one Slayer so the targeting would need to be hyper specific. The slayer is always a teenage girl. She has super hero like abilities and is selected to defend the human world against evil supernatural forces. Typically she’ll be accompanied by a watcher who helps guide her in her journey. 

TARGETED CONTENT FOR SLAYERS

Targeting for the Slayer would be the equivalent of targeting meeting planners on a traditional DMO site. Because there is only one slayer, it’s important to get the messaging right. Specifically, an emphasis on the abundance of vampires and a CTA  that mentions defending the human world against darkness would all be effective. 

If targeting to slayers:  

DO emphasize the short commute to work (read: the Hellmouth and numerous cemeteries), room for professional development and the nightlife. 

DO NOT mention high slayer mortality rate or mean high school girls. 

 

Now, seeing all this personalized content, I get it. I understand why a human might move to Sunnydale. Look at that sunshine!  I also get why a Vampire may pay a visit. Tons of cemeteries and great things to eat. Personalization gives you the opportunity to put your destination’s best foot forward no matter who you are personalizing to. 

If you have more questions or just want to discuss the Buffyverse, we’re dying to hear from you. 

The post Make Travel Marketing Fun Again: Aiming for the Slay Factor appeared first on Bound.

Is Your Personalization Lonely? Get a Marketing Team Going with These 4 Tools

Okay, marketers, the cat is out of the bag. We know that personalization is not your ONLY marketing strategy. We know that you have other platforms that you work in and other marketing campaigns that you run on your website. And, we know that you are active on social and are constantly creating new innovative… Read More

The post Is Your Personalization Lonely? Get a Marketing Team Going with These 4 Tools appeared first on Bound.

Okay, marketers, the cat is out of the bag. We know that personalization is not your ONLY marketing strategy. We know that you have other platforms that you work in and other marketing campaigns that you run on your website. And, we know that you are active on social and are constantly creating new innovative content. We know that you’ve got your hands full trying to inspire visitation to your destination. 

But that’s what we love about you! We like that you are multifaceted and have a ton of simultaneous initiatives. And, honestly, we want to help out! There’s a million and a half ways that you can partner your personalization with other on-site and off-site elements.  Here are four specific technologies I want highlight as effective tools to partner with personalization. Let’s start with: 

Email Collection:

Despite rumors that email marketing is “dead”, the eNewsletter list is still an important marker of success for most CVBs and Destination Marketers. Collecting a visitor’s email gives you direct access to a visitor’s inbox and allows you to update potential travelers on new things to do and see around town. As long as your emails stay relevant and timely, eNewsletters will continue to be a meaningful way to connect and communicate with locals and visitors alike. 

While we probably don’t need to convince you that email list building is important, we do need to talk about how marketers collect email addresses. Email collection can be tough and the line between assertively requesting emails and aggressively annoying site visitors is thin. Marketers often start with what is thought to be a gentle ask, only to realize later that their requests are off-putting to audiences. 

That’s where personalization offers a solution. Rather than asking the same visitors for email addresses repeatedly, setting up targeted segmentation can be an effective way to cut down on “ask-annoyance.” Plus, you can use personalization to make sure that you don’t serve an eNewsletter form fill to a visitor that has already signed up for your list. Instead of badgering visitors for emails, personalization helps you to ask the right visitors for emails at the time they’re most likely to sign up. 

Crowdriff:

Like I said earlier, we know that we’re not your only marketing platform and we hope you’re using some of the other innovative technologies built for the travel and tourism vertical. One of our favorite technologies in this space is Crowdriff, a visual content marketing platform. Crowdriff allows marketers to easily pull User Generated visuals from social channels, manages this content, and serves diverse galleries on their website. Through this practice of sourcing beautiful imagery by visitors, Crowdriff provides content that resonates with and inspires future travelers. 

Personalizing Crowdriff galleries adds a layer of targeting that ensures site visitors are greeted with imagery that really speaks to their interests. Through Bound’s personalization tool, you can segment visitors by implied behavioral interest, geo-location, or by paid media. This gives marketers the opportunity to serve “outdoor focused” galleries to visitors who have expressed interest in outdoor activities. Similarly, a marketer might want to show imagery with a heavy fall focus to geo-locations that don’t necessarily get the chance to experience fall (*sigh* In Austin, TX we go straight from summer to winter). 

Serving user generated content through Crowdriff provides websites imagery that makes destinations seem accessible and fun. Adding personalization takes it one step further and allows marketers to serve user generated galleries that will speak directly to a visitor’s interests.  

Youtube, Vimeo, Wistia, etc.:

The look and feel of a destination comes across in pictures but videos give visitors a more heightened perspective of a destination’s offerings. Beautiful landscapes can be viewed in full and the action behind exciting events can be witnessed beyond a single photo. Videos truly show a destination’s personality through rolling shots, music, and energy. 

But destination marketers sometimes have trouble getting more eyes on the beautiful videos that they created. And if marketing dollars were spent on producing top-notch videos, it’s important that an audience sees those videos. The good news is that personalization can help here too! 

Dependent on the intentions of video content, Bound’s personalization can do multiple things. For starters, Bound can serve video on your site to make sure more people have access to it. If more views is your main goal, that’s easy for us to enable. But, we can also make sure that the right videos are serving to the right people. If you have a series of visitors highlighting the food scene in your fair city, town, or state, we can make sure that your foodie audience gobbles those right up (pun intended). 

Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics:

Marketers tend to shy away from intensive reporting because it can quickly overwhelm. But ultimately, reporting should be one of the most important things that website marketers do. And as far as reporting platforms go, it’s hard to get better than Google Analytics. With it’s enormous breadth of content, it is definitely a beast of a platform. But who doesn’t love all those colorful little graphs and interactive flow-charts. Tracking site engagement through reporting tools like Google Analytics tells you what is working for your traffic and what is not working. Which is why it’s important to push personalization information into your Google Analytics reporting tool. 

By tracking personalization in GA, you can easily segment your personalized audience and compare performance to visitors who did not see personalization. Or you can get super granular and see specifically how audiences react to certain content pieces. By tracking the performance of your on-site personalization, you can improve upon your website segment by segment, leading to better engagement overall and a site that’s highlighting the most ideal content for a specified audience.

This barely scratches the surface of ways that you can partner your other marketing initiatives with personalization. If you want to learn more, reach out to our sales team or your designated customer success manager!

The post Is Your Personalization Lonely? Get a Marketing Team Going with These 4 Tools appeared first on Bound.