Co-nomination with Arrivia & Westgate Resorts
Gone are the days of print marketing? Well…not so much. In 2021, arrivia’s Marketing Team sought to revive the power of print by creating a new and unique Travel Magazine concept. The organization had formally leveraged print exclusively for operational and customer service – not as an engagement or branding tool. This was a new undertaking, and the business needed proven results to agree to future iterations. To measure success, this Travel Magazine had to accomplish specific objectives. Most critically, the magazine needed to help arrivia’s partner, Westgate Resorts, identify members who were in-market to book travel and generate incremental consumer booking engagement inside their travel program. Secondly, it needed to inspire Westgate members during volatile periods of the pandemic to plan & book travel – a challenge, given recurring travel bans & advisories. Of course, the Travel Magazine also had to be a beautifully designed print piece. Perhaps most importantly though, it needed to cost arrivia and Westgate Resorts $0 to produce & mail to 75,000 members – an unfathomable ask. The team got to work.
The first step was to identify which audience segments were most receptive to a printed Travel Magazine, to effectively generate booking activity. To do this, arrivia performed segmented audience testing compared to holdouts. When the Travel Magazine dropped, Arrivia strategically tagged Westgate members into buckets for clean measurement – “New”, “Active”, and “Super User” audiences, with equal holdouts for each cohort. That measured which groups outperformed and what the incremental gain was compared to members without the Travel Magazine in hand. The results were impressive.
Neither arrivia nor Westgate Resorts expected the magazine’s results to influence a future generation of print materials. The magazine successfully generated a +16% increase in booking engagement from newer members in the program (enrollments <two years) compared to the same audience without a magazine delivered. The magazine was also well-received by “Super Users”, driving a +11% higher likelihood of a member placing a booking within a 60-day period, if they got the magazine, versus the holdout who did not get one.
The second objective was to leverage the power of content and image-rich creative design to motivate members to travel during a volatile COVID environment. Amid travel bans, safety advisories, docked cruise ships, and international regulations – this was one of the trickiest hurdles for arrivia’s team to overcome when curating content/offers. To foster an inspiration to travel, the Team strategically introduced the magazine with a letter “from the brand”, directly addressing the state of travel, encouraging those ready to book now, and acknowledging the reluctance of members who still needed additional time before vacationing again. The magazine also featured a ‘Peace of Mind’ section, highlighting the best practices that cruise & land suppliers – across the travel industry – adopted to prioritize Health & Safety. These two sections of the magazine created a sense of trust & loyalty with members. It also gave arrivia & Westgate Resorts permission to showcase amazing travel deals and content by presenting it in a way that spoke equally to both audiences – those wanting to travel now or later.
The creative design quality of the Travel Magazine truly sets it apart from other industry marketing. It included over 18-pages, front-to-back, of amazing imagery, exclusive photo rights, and outstanding travel deals. Offers spanned Cruises, Hotels (domestic & international), Luxury Resorts, and Air/Car Rental advertisements. Every logo, offer, price, and graphic required pre-approval from the travel supplier as well as multiple legal reviews. That was a challenge for the Marketing Team, as they needed to maintain the DNA of each supplier’s brand standards, get formal approvals, and ensure that the magazine had a seamless design & flow with Westgate members in mind.
But perhaps the most impressive element of producing and mailing this magazine was that the cost was fully furnished by the Cruise & Land suppliers with featured ads. Each supplier had an associated cost to participate in the magazine, and as a result, arrivia & Westgate effectively tested this campaign to 75,000 members without incurring any hard costs. For an expensive print magazine that costs well over $100,000 to mail, that was a win for both teams! It also allowed arrivia’s Marketing Team to ‘fail safely’ or ‘win quickly’ – and the success of the magazine created a line-up of new and boutique suppliers asking to be included in future issues.
This printed Travel Magazine has since paved the path for additional partners looking for a Travel Magazine and is now an annual Spring/Summer & Fall/Winter series for over 8 different arrivia partnerships. It also includes digital magazine versions. Subsequent 2022 issues feature more expansive and blog-like articles, with dives into the latest cruise ships on the ocean seas, unlocking access to private islands, and the wonderful world of all-inclusive & luxury travel.