By Kristin Zern
Dear Travel Marketer,
This year, ATME celebrates its 25th Anniversary. During the past quarter-century, the travel industry has gone through immense changes that have greatly affected how marketers market.
Deregulation changed the landscape of the industry dramatically, making travel possible for the masses at rates that keep getting cheaper in real dollars. The internet created a revolutionary distribution channel that was embraced by travel marketers as early as 1992 and now travel is the second largest category online after financial services. The media trained the consumer to believe that the online travel sites offered the lowest fares and room rates. Travel agents suffered commission losses from airlines and lost their position as the leading distribution channel for travel products.
Now we have come full circle. Travel agents have become more marketing oriented, specialized, and gone online; today we hear more and more suppliers say that they are getting their best yields from sales made by travel agents.
But beyond these macro trends, there was the unimaginable impact of catastrophic events. Who would have predicted that on a clear September morning, a terrorist attack would deal a nearly fatal blow to our industry? Who would have predicted that SARS would follow, bringing travel in Asia to a virtual halt? And who could have known that 2003 would see us at war in Iraq, and in a permanent state of conflict that has made the experience of travel much less enjoyable? Or that oil prices would double, and remain high?
In this light, it is truly amazing that the industry has recovered at all — much less with numbers that are astounding. This rebound is a tribute to the vision of travel marketers. To cite just one example: To keep afloat after 9/11 hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, and airlines offered incredible low rates to tantalize travelers.
It turned out that people had no problem traveling if the price was low enough. This pricing strategy made it difficult for marketers to return to the pre-9/11 rates.
The cruise industry, in a bold marketing move, made the most of adversity by slashing rates to irresistible levels. The result was the creation of a vast new clientele who otherwise might never have gotten on board.
Today, travel has become a right for virtually everyone. No longer viewed as a luxury for the rich, travel has become an important part of health and well-being and an important way to reconnect with family, kids and friends.
ATME, like all segments of the industry, has been through difficult times in recent years — so we are extremely pleased that Travel Marketing Decisions is returning thanks to support from our many sponsors and advertisers in 2005. In this issue, you’ll find interesting articles and case studies about Australia, the emerging Chinese market, segmentation of the Hispanic market, maximizing your brand capital, a case study of Emirates Airline advertising, and an enlightening article on the art of marketing to women — the real decision makers.
Please contact me at email@example.com if you are interested in contributing to the next issue of Travel Marketing Decisions or are interested in advertising or ATME partnerships. We now look forward to the challenges and rewards of the next 25 years.
P.S. — A special thanks to the advertisers in this issue: Discover Network, Meredith Corporation and the Las Vegas CVB. For information on advertising and partnerships contact me at 914 834-9110 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.atme.org