Niche Travel Markets Target Bloggers

Tasmania, a remote Australian island, and Trump SoHo, a downtown New York City hotel, don’t appear to have much in common. However, to expand their audience base they’ve followed similar paths: reaching out and immersing bloggers in their brand experience.

PR and marketing executives associated with both travel organizations discussed these and other digital initiatives during an ATME (Association of Travel Marketing Executives) Marketing Issues Forum on Tuesday in New York.

“Dirty by day and pampered by night, Tasmania isn’t everyman’s island, but a niche market.” That’s how Malcolm Griffiths, VP at DCI, Tourism Tasmania’s PR firm, described the island. The island isn’t dirty in the Las Vegas sense, but is best known for wholesome outdoor adventures.

“Tasmania has several unique selling points, but also faces challenges since it’s not a mainstream destination,” Griffiths pointed out. “The goal is for travelers to Australia to add the island to their itineraries. Tasmania has a rich colonial heritage, offers unique wilderness experiences and pristine natural resources.” Still, Griffiths said the island is often confused with Tanzania in Africa, and given its remote location, is also perceived as expensive.

In response, Tasmania and DCI developed inventive ways to promote the island. Through Matador Networks they sponsored a “blogger-in-residence” who spent two weeks in Tasmania, generating posts, photos, and videos. They used celebrity partnerships with well-known “Tassie” actresses and golfers, and they established a marketing partnership with the Sierra Club.  To enhance the island’s wilderness appeal, they created tie-ins with The Hunter, a recently released movie filmed in Tasmania.

Back in North America, Trump SoHo doesn’t face lack of name recognition, given its parent company’s outspoken chairman and the headlines the hotel generated when it was built. However, as Nicole Ruggiero, its marketing director noted, “The hotel still needs to distinguish itself from the multitudes of other Manhattan lodgings.”

In particular, she said Trump SoHo wanted to focus on the niche bridal market by promoting its event space for weddings. “We have a small team dedicated to doing all our social media in-house,” Ruggiero said.

The hotel hosted a bridal blogger event, where journalists spent a day and night at the Trump SoHo, exploring the event space, eating the food, and enjoying VIP spa treatments. Ruggiero said, “They experienced the hotel the same way that brides would. We used the event to launch a twitter chat and created boards on Pinterest.” Of Trump SoHo’s seven Pinterest boards, many are now event related. No word on whether The Donald made an appearance to offer the bloggers any marital advice.

[image: Trump SoHo’s #SoHoBride Pinterest board]