Going Backwards to Move Forwards: Investing in Offline

Chelsea Healey, Consumer Marketing Manager – Luxury Escapes

Did you know that the average consumer in today’s market is exposed to more than 5,000 advertising messages per day? That’s 5,000 subliminal (and some not so subliminal) call-to-actions trying to influence what they buy, eat, where they stay and where they play.

This ever-increasing noise makes it progressively harder for brands to cut through, grab the attention of the consumer and – most importantly – drive them to make a purchase.

So how does Luxury Escapes approach this increasingly competitive marketplace?

Luxury Escapes has been a pure-play online luxury travel hub for just over four years. The business has grown substantially year-on-year and close to 2 million members now visit LuxuryEscapes.com to access great deals to amazing places together with beautiful and aspirational travel content.

It’s a formula that works. After all, many online travel companies would argue that digital is what counts: it’s scalable, easily trackable and an ROI can be pinned to every campaign. But how can we continue to evolve and grow, nurturing deeper connections with our customers who to date have interacted with us purely online?

As part of an ongoing omni-marketing strategy, we’ve implemented several exciting offline projects over the past year that delve deeper than digital, including ‘LE On Tour’ and ‘Luxury Escapes – The Lounge’.

LE On Tour

With so many marketers focused on creating the ideal digital journey for customers, businesses tend to forget that customers are looking for offline touch points, too. While scalable tactics such as social media are often the focus, community gatherings are underestimated as a valuable tool.

With this in mind, we created a consumer roadshow called ‘LE on Tour’. Hosted by Luxury Escapes staff, the roadshows offer company updates, travel tips, the hottest new deals and more direct to our customers, all with expert travel concierges on hand.

Locations were selected based on member postcode density, with eight events held to date in Victoria and New South Wales and Queensland.

The roadshows enable us to present a more personal side to the business, gain valuable customer insights and build engagement with our community. We’re able to break down the trust wall created by the online environment by sharing the behind-the-scenes journey that goes into creating every deal, from our contractors visiting the resort personally to the creation of the final package and supporting content. Going forward, community gatherings are something we consider to be an integral part of our future success.

Luxury Escapes – The Lounge

Widely considered a backwards step that’s still in the right direction, brick and mortar retailing has now taken on an important new focus in the ecommerce space. It’s no wonder brands like Amazon are jumping on board and why Apple still insists on its monster retail environments. After all, when you are able to both replicate and set new customer expectations through high-touch in-store interactions in a visceral and tactile experience, you’ve entered the golden age of customer service.

Proving the vitality of the brand, and our willingness to innovate, we opened our first retail concept store in Melbourne’s CBD – which ironically, is exactly what others had previously done. But who said going backwards is a bad thing?

One can see the irony of it all: an e-commerce travel business smashing traditional travel agents decides to open a brick-and-mortar store. But we believe there is something unique and powerful about the real-world shopping experience – especially when done in an interactive way.

Luxury Escapes – The Lounge is like no other travel store and takes inspiration from some of the world’s most exclusive airport lounges. From the moment guests walk in the door, a lounge concierge will take their coat and offer them a complimentary coffee and sweet treat before showing them the facilities, which include a virtual reality headset, charging stations, complimentary WiFi, BMW transfer services and an on-site masseuse.

The fact we have turned over half a million in revenue in a short five-week tenure is just the cherry on top: the customers who have visited Luxury Escapes – The Lounge have been touched on a different level that digital could ever provide. They now know Luxury Escapes as if it were a friendly new neighbour that recently invited them over for Sunday roast. That’s powerful.

While we’ll continue to approach our digital marketing in an aggressive way, we’ll also be marrying offline and online campaigns to boost the visibility of both our partners and our own brand, and help us to differentiate from competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space. If the goal of businesses in today’s crowded marketplace is to differentiate and be noticed, it makes sense to use as many channels as possible, both digital and traditional.

Because ultimately, we believe companies who are able to genuinely connect with their customers and community of supporters will have a strategic advantage over those who don’t.