By Dorn Martell

Families have never been more bombarded with information and options than they are today. So what are families looking for when it comes to the perfect vacation and what can resorts, destinations and cruise lines do to effectively market to them? It seems obvious that our shared experiences are the most important memories we have of childhood, and exploring the world together is what we all dream of. But there are several factors that can make or break a family vacation. Value is cited most often, not just was the vacation affordable, but was it worth it, no matter the cost. Convenience is also a major consideration. Resorts that offer strollers, kids’ toys, baby food and nanny programs are a big plus for families with young kids. Teenagers are more difficult to please as they don’t see themselves as kids, and most “Teen Clubs” are largely underused. Real action like zip lines and kayaking are better alternatives for teens, and free Wi-Fi is considered a fundamental human right for young people.

Parents spend most of their time worrying, so safety is paramount. This is a major obstacle for travel outside the United States. Recent reports of violence, Zika and natural disasters in popular tourist destinations have caused many parents to opt for an adventure theme park over an actual adventure. But resorts and destinations can effectively market to adventurous families by emphasizing the lengths they go to keeping your family safe. Another challenge is accommodating large families. Hotels are still the most popular option for families, but renting two hotel rooms is an unattractive option for most families. Resorts that have truly connected rooms or large suites that can hold a family of five–plus grandma–are rising in popularity. Home rentals like Airbnb and VRBO will continue to grab market share as home and cottage rentals are a very affordable way to house the multi-generational family.

Resorts and destinations that seek to attract families must be realistic about the times of the year that families can travel: summer, winter break and spring break are the only times American families can travel. Schools will no longer accept a family vacation as an excused absence. Resorts that cater to children must have an “off season” strategy to fill their properties with adults or families from Europe, Asia and South America who may have a different school calendar. Families also typically book three months prior to travel, so don’t count on many last-minute bookings.

Florida still tops the charts as the number one destination for family travel with California as number two in the United States. Internationally, Canada saw about 61% of family travelers from the U.S., followed by the Caribbean at 17%, Mexico at 13% and Europe at only 8%*. Again, safety and convenience are driving these numbers. Many families say they would like to travel to more exotic destinations, but only the most adventurous are actually doing it. These travelers tend to place travel at a higher priority than possessions, and are less risk adverse.

Despite technology, word-of-mouth is still the number one driver of family vacation considerations. Bad experiences, broken promises and unmotivated staff will have long-lasting negative effects on properties, cruise lines and destinations. Bloggers and journalists are also influential, but as consumers become more aware of paid endorsements, trust issues arise.TripAdvisor is held in high regard, but after the “Shed at Dulwich” hoax, people may be looking more closely at the quality and motivation of on-line reviews. Television and magazines are still excellent vehicles for marketing to families though the metrics are more difficult to calculate. Search engines are generally credited for the sale, but with a three month booking window and multiple family members influencing the decision, the “creation of desire” is something that takes place over time and over multiple platforms, some more measurable than others.

So what is the secret formula to attracting families? It’s simple. Families want to relax and create memories together in a safe environment that’s worth the price. Speak to them with honesty, integrity and satisfy them emotionally. If you make the right impression, they will come back year after year, and once a family tradition has been set, the kids will grow up and want to share that experience with their own children.

For more insights on travel marketing, click here for a free download of Tinsley Advertising's "Art of Travel" Magazine

The New Luxury Traveler

By Mark Slatko

Luxury travel as we’ve known it – or at least defined it – has gone the way of the dinosaur (literally and figuratively). Today, affluent travelers are rejecting the commonplace, seeking way-off-the-beaten- path bucket list experiences: did someone say dinosaur dig with a world-renowned paleontologist?

Bespoke travel is no longer about having the biggest and the most lavish. It’s about feeling rich and inspired through personalized, unique experiences not found in a guidebook, glossy brochure or even page- one Google results. It could be a once-in-a-lifetime trip to witness the Northern Lights, or a private dinner in an 18th-century castle complete with a celebrity chef. Because while cookie cutter might work for cookies, baked-in sameness no longer satisfies the distinct cravings of today’s affluent globetrotter.

And the more unusual the activity, the better. Well-heeled travelers are requesting everything from stargazing with noted astronomers to reaching the edge of space in a MiG-29 flight in Russia. Yet while space might be the final frontier, so are down-to-earth experiences where travelers can immerse themselves in the local culture. How does herding a flock of Cheviot sheep in New Zealand sound about now? And the accommodations travelers seek are as rare and experiential as the activities themselves, from spending the night in an igloo in Norway to sleeping in the Sahara under the stars.

Speaking of rest and relaxation, today’s high-end experiential travel is the stuff dreams are made of. With the CDC citing sleep deprivation a public health epidemic, getting your share of shut-eye isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. That’s why more and more upscale hotels offer sleep-related therapies dispensed by dedicated sleep curators and sleep butlers. Also provided: room aromatherapy options, pillow menus and linens that remove bacteria for a healthy slumber. After all, getting a restful night’s sleep is nothing to sneeze at.

Of course, this new definition of luxury travel isn’t reserved for couples and small families. Multigenerational travel continues to be a firmly entrenched travel niche, as more and more extended families choose to connect through shared travel experiences. Whether you choose a European villa for a celebration with loved ones, an African safari or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, a family trip will strengthen bonds and create memories that last a lifetime (remember that time in Australia when grandpa lost his swim trunks?).

John Steinbeck, who was moved by a desire to see his country on a personal level, once wrote, “People don’t take trips, trips take people.” Give today’s luxury travelers what they want – customized local experiences along the road less traveled – and there’s no telling where it could take you.

For more insights on travel marketing, click here for a free download of Tinsley Advertising's "Art of Travel" Magazine

Tinsley & The Florida Keys Dominate The Governor’s Conference!

By John Underwood

At the September 2018 Annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Orlando, Tinsley Advertising cleaned up with seven Flagler Awards for our creative work for The Florida Keys & Key West. The multiple awards won were more than any other DMO or tourism-related business received in the state!

Tinsley’s award sweep included two Henrys (the top honor) for our thirty-second “Sustainability” television spot as well as our Philadelphia out-of-home (outdoor) campaign. The agency also won five more Flagler awards in the following categories: Radio Advertising, Direct Marketing, Promotional Material, Mobile Marketing, Mixed Media and Print Advertising.

“I am particularly proud that we received top honors for our sustainability television commercial,” said TDC Marketing Director Stacey Mitchell, noting that The Florida Keys TDC won more awards than any other destination marketing organization. “There’s much competition in a shrinking leisure travel market, and the awards demonstrate that our marketing efforts are on target,” she said.

The annual Flagler Awards are named after developer and railroad pioneer Henry Flagler and were established by Visit Florida in 2000 to recognize excellence in the Florida tourism marketing industry.

Tinsley Advertising has been the official Agency of Record for The Florida Keys & Key West since 1986. We are thankful for our long-standing partnership, that has allowed us to create award-winning work that has been extremely successful for this remarkable travel destination.


The Story of Your Life Begins in Key West

By Dorn Martell

In a new video for Key West, the viewer is asked a simple question: “If you were to read the story of your life, would it move you?”. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Have you lived life to the fullest, taken chances, and chased your dreams? Luxury travel today is all about collecting experiences and in this new video, we explore everything from historical Old Town and it’s artistic treasures, to the magical world below the sea on North America’s only living coral reef. In Key West, you can experience innovative cuisine delivered directly from sea-to-table or “go pirate” and have rumrunners on a historical sailboat at sunset. Key West is best known for it’s funky spirit and laid-back atmosphere, but many people are not aware of the many upscale resorts, hotels and guesthouses that are available in Key West. If you want to make the story of your life more interesting, work on the next chapter in Key West.

New Campaign Makes Waves for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

By Dorn Martell

When I was I kid, I had a globe in my room. I would trace my finger across the oceans and waterways pretending that I was sailing around the world. Our ad “Dream Big” tapped into the spirit that made us fall in love with boating to attract a new class of potential boat owners. The 58th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show ended Sunday and it appears to have been a huge success.

“It’s the best that we’ve seen,” said Brian Hermann, who represents Clearwater-based MarineMax, the nation’s largest recreational boat and yacht retailer. “There’s a considerable number of buyers coming through here.”

Our strategy was to attract a more sophisticated audience with non-traditional ads, in order to bring more serious buyers to the show.

“I think we had more qualified buyers and less tire kickers.” said Chris Flounders of Marine Connection.

We know our messaging had a direct impact on attendance based on metrics. For example; our TV spot led visitors to a micro-site where they could win a chance for a VIP Experience enabling us to track them and capture leads.

“While attendance figures are still being calculated, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from exhibitors who have been reporting boat sales, leads and more qualified buyers than ever before,” said Mary Bender, vice president of marketing for Informa Exhibitions, the boat show’s producer.