Selling and promoting luxury travel experiences is not just about slapping a high price and some nice pictures on a website or brochure. Everybody who has tried selling high-end, all-inclusive destination packages to places like Bhutan or Botswana, or is specialized in curating slightly dangerous experiences like Arctic expeditions or Amazonas safaris for VIPs knows that we are talking about a specific type of affluent traveler here with specific needs and wants. Let’s explore how we can customize our digital marketing to reach more of these money-loaded adventure-seeking explorers.

How can we define luxury safaris and adventure travel

 

It is obviously not easy to generalize what falls under luxury safaris or luxury adventure travel since it often depends on the number of people participating in the trip, the level of expected creature comforts, and the overall difficulty of the destination or itinerary. You probably realize that I haven’t mentioned price or the type of accommodation as important factors here. Budget and whether they will stay at a 5-star hotel or resort tend to matter less in safaris and adventure travel at the highest level.

For example, an all-inclusive multi-country once-in-a-lifetime photo safari might consist of stops in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and Botswana and often includes private aviation to get to the continent, helicopter rides across reserves, private tour guides, private safari lodges, and 5-star gourmet dining. Another type of luxury adventure could be an Arctic expedition with sleds, survival gear, and tents with an ice-breaker ship that can only get close to the pole once or twice a year due to weather conditions. Both experiences will only be affordable to the highest echelon of affluent travelers but are completely different in terms of comfort levels, preparation time, and traveler profile. This is where digital marketing for this type of luxury travel gets tricky.

luxury safari marketing

What kind of affluent traveler is interested in luxury safaris or luxury adventure travel?

 

At Jadewolf Marketing we always like to first build or enhance existing luxury marketing personas when we commit to any new project. It is crucial that we at least approximate an ideal customer profile based on historic data or smart assumptions before we get into design or media buying work. As mentioned before, herein lies the difficulty. Templated approaches tend to fall apart when it comes to this type of luxury travel (and luxury in general). Listing all the details on how we build personas would blow this article out of proportion (trust me) but usually, we like to start with a couple of key baseline questions when we are contracted to work on the marketing for a luxury safari or adventure brand.

 

  • Why would these people be willing to take on the hardships and risks of doing a trip like that instead of choosing a more convenient, comfortable vacation like Las Vegas or Venice in Italy?

 

  • What does this specific adventure mean to them on an emotional level? Is it a lifelong dream for them?

 

  • Are the people we want to reach aware of how much effort, resources, and planning need to go into these trips?

 

  • Are they aware of the associated costs? Does money still play a role in their decision-making process?

 

  • Is this suitable for families or too dangerous to be attractive to couples with young kids, for example?

 

  • Where can we reach the people that tick all the required boxes? How do they find inspiration online?

 

  • Who is the main decision-maker in the family? Who needs to give approval?

 

  • How do we separate the people with strong booking intent from the people who are just early-stage or “shopping around” for offers (hint: price shoppers are the worst – especially in luxury travel).

 

Your creatives and brand marketing needs to show that you are unique and not like the rest

 

Before we get into advertising, conversions, and how to leverage opt-ins, let’s talk about brand and creative. Too many luxury travel websites are absolutely the same in terms of design and layout: a couple of nice pictures, some empty-sounding bland copy, and a list of destinations or packages. Some people hide their lack of content or creativity with some stock video footage that runs in the background or an overly long and corporate-sounding founder biography on their team section.

If everybody claims to be an international expert for this particular type of luxury adventure travel, how can you prove that not only you are experienced and knowledgeable but also that your creative vision and brand are unique in the sea of “world-leading experts” when it comes to your niche?

Some ways we try to tackle this challenge with clients who have the necessary budget is to really define their brand first in terms of unique differentiators, USPs, style, aesthetics, and people or suppliers (the human factor) before we add layers of luxury consumer psychology, luxury design philosophy, UX/UI, rich media, and neuromarketing to every brand touchpoint like their website, copywriting, video, audio, email, or ads.

luxury safari marketing

How to target your buyers online

 

We recently wrote a guide on 18 digital advertising platforms and how to use them for targeting affluent travelers. So if you are looking for a technical list of channels, check out that article. Just finding people with a high household income, a certain level of net worth, or a specific age or gender-related demographic is obviously not good enough. Knowing where affluent communities tend to live, own property, invest, go on vacation, network, or enjoy their free time can be a good start when translating persona insights into actual advertising campaigns. Thinking about interests and desires affluent consumers might have paired with beliefs and media consumption behavior is another useful targeting layer that you can use.

But even with the best targeting efforts, you will still end up most of the time with a mixed pool of people that consists of different wealth tiers, different degrees of intent and readiness, or passion for your particular luxury travel specialization. If you have a larger marketing budget available, then adopting a long-term full-funnel advertising approach that consists of awareness, consideration, and conversion-focused campaigns would be highly recommended. If you are unlucky and have only a budget for one-off campaigns throughout the year that need to drive ROI right away, we would recommend to really zone in on the content, copy, and ad-creatives that you will put out. This way, you have at least the chance to capture a few highly coveted affluent leads that are ticking all the right boxes and are very close to actually booking with an agency or advisor.

The complexities from lead to close

 

Generating a form fill out (direct inquiry), lead magnet download, newsletter subscription (opt-in), or even a booked meeting or inbound phone call is just the first step. While it might be the culmination of your initial branding and marketing work, the true journey actually starts at this very moment. Selling luxury travel is different from selling discount trips in a retail travel office.

Selling luxury safaris or adventure travel is even harder in terms of requirements for subject matter expertise and when it comes to handling questions and objections. You need a proven sales structure, a qualification framework, luxury sales training, and technological know-how when it comes to accelerating and progressing the opportunities that your marketing generates for you. From a technical standpoint, having solutions in place for video calls, collecting requirements, and building digital proposals while at the same time nurturing the affluent prospect through remarketing ads as well as smart personalized email automation sequences is crucial (email deliverability becomes critical here – spam filters kill sales).

Having content, case studies, and additional testimonials at this stage can also be very helpful but is rarely the decisive factor. Emotional fit with your brand, wealth tier, and intent level are much more crucial. Also, be aware that not every lead will be a late-stage opportunity right away, especially if you ran a campaign with a smaller budget that was a one-time experiment. Patience, pacing and the ability to say no will save you time and resources at this stage.

luxury safari marketing

How to deal with objections

 

Ideally, you want to address the most common objections when it comes to costs, safety, and requirements for one of these exclusive adventures through your content marketing or website as early as possible. That doesn’t mean listing all your prices a la carte, but adding enough hints and pricing guidance so that people who cannot afford you will be discouraged from wasting your time. The less you have to talk about your minimum requirements once you get into the actual options and proposal stage and the more confident you are that you are actually sitting in front of a high-net-worth individual who is looking for best of class products and white-glove service, the more time you can spend on uncovering the true emotional need and actually intent level of your potential luxury buyer.

The best and most lucrative sales in these situations happen with people who are just looking for someone that can help them formalize their dreams and lust for adventure and turn that blurry vision they have in their head into reality, not bother them too much with minute details about policies or what a high-end sleeping bag rental would cost them. If you spend a lot of time on your marketing and qualification, objections based on price, timeline or fit between you and your buyer will become less and less common down the line. Which will ultimately lead to more profitability and less headaches for you.

Do you need help with all of this?

 

If you can afford our $50,000 dollar per year minimum billing requirement (advertising and technology costs not included) then we can potentially help you transform your digital marketing and generate more inbound, warm, qualified high-net-worth leads for your unique luxury safari or adventure niche than you thought is possible.

See what I did there? 😉

If you would like to see a recent sample of how we helped a client who sells $50,000 – 100,000 USD luxury safaris generate some leads and sales at the height of the pandemic (!), take a look at this case study. If you think you are ready to talk book a discovery call with us.

Did you enjoy this article? Do you want more? We also have a free checklist for your next luxury travel or hospitality marketing campaign that you can download by clicking on the button below!

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