You probably heard of the concept of a marketing funnel, but what exactly does it mean, especially in the context of hospitality, yachting or private aviation marketing? In essence, a marketing funnel is your customer’s journey from the moment they discover your business all the way to the purchase of your product or service, and beyond. A basic funnel consists of the following stages: awareness, consideration and decision.
- Awareness: your potential customer is becoming aware of their problem or need and is starting the process of research.
- Consideration: at this stage, your customers know exactly what they need, and start looking at different options. They start evaluating different brands, products or services against each other, according to their personality, needs, wants and financial situation.
- Closing: they make a final purchase decision and buy from the brand they selected during the consideration stage. At this stage, a convenient buying experience, ample information or brand education and great follow-up tactics become very important to close the deal.
What Is A Digital Marketing Funnel?
Now that we know in theory what a marketing funnel is, let’s take a look at the different stages of a modern digital marketing funnel.
The media buying and content phase covers the awareness stage, while the consideration stage is covered by content, email and sales follow-ups. The closing obviously maps the decision stage. Every step flows into the next through a seamless online experience.
The general structure of a funnel usually stays the same, but each step of the structure can vary depending on the kind of luxury product or service you are promoting.
It is worth noting, that no digital marketing funnel should stop after the decision stage. You can nurture your existing customers, encourage them to share their experience with others and ultimately turn them into brand evangelists.
Example: Digital Marketing Funnel
For Luxury Hospitality
Now let’s take a look at a very simple luxury hospitality marketing funnel.
Awareness stage (Media Buying & Content)
Amanda is browsing around to get some inspiration for her upcoming holidays when she stumbles upon Robb Report’s “Best Summer Luxury Travel Destinations”. She quickly reads through the article, and one luxury safari lodge particularly catches her eyes.
Out of curiosity, she clicks on the website link and ends up on the landing page. She enjoys the beautiful photography and video showing the lodge in all its glory. This time, however, Amanda is not ready to book her stay yet.
Consideration (Content – Social Media)
A couple of days later, Amanda is swiping through different Instagram Stories. At some point, she sees a sponsored post from the safari lodge. She swipes up and lands on the same page again. She already thought about other options and read a couple of reviews in different luxury travel blogs. But this post brought her back to her initial idea.
This time Amanda is 100% sure she wants to spend her vacation in this safari lodge. She leaves her personal details, payment information and subscribes to the newsletter.
Why Do You Need A Funnel?
Nowadays, digital marketing is not something you can ignore any more if you want to successfully scale your business. As consumer behaviors are changing rapidly, their customer journey is changing as well. People are spending more time researching, comparing, and reviewing products and services online than ever before.
Luxury travel businesses heavily focused on outbound sales, such as luxury yachting charters, for example, might think they don’t need any digital marketing funnels, as all prospects are coming from and are “handled” by their sales team and senior executives. However, relying solely on industry events, tradeshows and personal connections is not the most sustainable way of doing business in the modern era of apps, social media and online blogs. We at Jadewolf believe, that this basic fallacy in thinking is one of the reasons why many luxury travel companies never manage to scale and become multi-nationals.
After all, the purpose of a marketing funnel is exactly that – to generate and nurture leads that will convert easier than outbound leads generated through prospecting or relationships. A well-designed marketing funnel will:
- Increase your brand awareness and get targeted exposure.
- Generate and nurture high-quality leads that are easy to close.
- Nurture your already existing customers and convert them into brand evangelists.
Designing a digital marketing funnel for travel with realistic and accurate luxury buyer personas in mind will make it even more effective. Moreover, one of the great benefits of a digital marketing funnel is its measurability. You can easily see at which stage of a funnel you’re losing or winning and adjust your strategies accordingly.