How to Attract Guests Offline: Traditional Marketing for Holiday Parks
If you want to attract guests offline, there is only one thing you can turn to – good old fashioned traditional marketing. It is not as flexible, interactive, or measurable as its trendier younger sibling digital marketing, but many of the old tried and tested methods are still effective, and in some cases, they are indispensable.
When it comes to traditional marketing for holiday parks, print adverts, brochures, and direct mail are the most important methods available. First, we will show you how to create effective ads, brochures and direct mail, then we will run through the advantages of traditional marketing. Finally, we will let you in on the lucrative secrets of combining traditional marketing with digital marketing.
Types of traditional marketing for holiday parks
Print advertisements for holiday parks
Print adverts are a living relic from the dawn of advertising but like clay pots, umbrellas and the wheel, they are still around because they work and they work well. 82% of us say we trust print ads (inma) and they tend to hold our attention for longer than digital ones (Walnut Unlimited).
Print advertisements for holiday parks can be big or small, plump or slender, brash or subtle. But, like any effective ad, they should always be more than mere images overlaid with a few throwaway words.
Designs must be carefully considered. Before you start creating, lay your foundations by defining your subject. Do you want to promote your whole park? A particular USP (unique selling point)? A special offer? Whatever you want your ad to promote, make it specific and make it clear.
Once you have decided what to promote, you can start collecting the necessary components. First, choose one or more images. Print advertisements for holiday parks with original photos usually work better than ones with stock photos. So head up onto the nearby hillside, park yourself on the bench by the rosebush, head round to the far bank of the pond – wherever those spots are from where your park looks its prettiest – and start snapping. Your imagery is your ad’s attention grabber, so make sure it is looking good.
Next you will need your text – or ‘copy’, as it is known in marketing speak. The order it should appear on your ad is as follows. First comes the headline; after your imagery has hooked the attention of your potential guests, the job of your headline is to reel them in. Keep headlines short. Experiment with including action words, questions, and mystery. Above all, make sure it has impact and that what it says is of interest to your potential guests.
Below the headline is where your body copy will appear. This is the main text. Its job is to expand upon the headline and sell your chosen subject to potential guests. Make sure it is brief, clear and persuasive.
End with a call to action. The job of the CTA is to seal the deal by telling potential guests to do what you want your ad to persuade them to do. That could be anything from ‘visit our website’, to ‘find us beyond the wooded hill on Castle Road’, to ‘book now!’. Be sure to include your phone number and email address, too.
The key point is to keep your ad simple and original. This will ensure it is easy to understand and attention grabbing. Remember to include your company branding at least in the form of your logo. If you plan to feature your ad in a publication, on a poster board, or anywhere where all ads must conform to a certain size, make sure you know the dimensions before you start designing.
Brochures for holiday parks
Print brochures are a staple of traditional marketing and still hugely effective awareness spreaders and business lead generators. Digital brochures work well too, but they can easily be deleted or become lost in the depths of digital folders. Thanks to their physicality, print brochures have presence, memorability and durability. Like paper Trojan horses, they are intriguing and unassuming. Get yours right, and your potential guests will pick them up and carry the persuasive power contained inside them into their homes.
First, decide what your brochure is going to advertise. This sounds obvious, but it helps keep the message focused. This will likely be your park as a whole and why it is a good place for a holiday, but brochures can also promote specific subjects. The types of caravan you sell, and a guide to your onsite sports facilities – there are two examples of specific subjects that you could use a brochure to promote.
Once you have clearly identified your subject, you are ready to start writing. The most important piece of text on your brochure is the headline on the front page. An effective headline will fill potential guests with desire to pick up your brochure, an ineffective one will ensure it gets ignored. As with headlines for print ads, keep them brief and pack them full of impact.
The text that makes up the content inside your brochure should spell out what your park or specific service or feature has to offer. Make it brief, simple, informative and persuasive. Remember to highlight your USPs and the benefits your guests enjoy from those USPs. Mark different sections with subheadings. The back of your brochure is the best place to add your contact details and a CTA.
Once you have your words, find some images to illustrate them. It is a good idea to pair each main point or section with an image. You can get away with using fewer images, but it is best not to use more – if you do, you will risk overcomplicating the look of your brochure. Images include photos, drawings, graphics or icons. For an interesting, varied look, try using a mix, but again, do not go overboard. For visual appeal and consistency, choose pictures of similar style and colour. Do not forget to include your logo.
With your words written and your pictures selected, the time has arrived to arrange them into a design. Getting the arrangement to look good is down to you, but here are a few tips. In brochures, text generally looks best in neat columns centred within the different fold sections of your brochure. That way, lines do not run across folds, which can make them difficult to read. Images, on the other hand, can be spread across folds. This can add a visually appealing contrast to the look of your design. Try highlighting important text such as subheadings by enlarging it, making it a strong colour and by placing eye-catching icons nearby.
The most important points to remember when making brochures for holiday parks is to ensure they stand out, are well organized, and simple.
Direct mail marketing for holiday parks
You still get marketing mail through your letterbox, and that is proof it is still effective. The production costs are higher than they are for its digital equivalent, email marketing, but the 4.4% average response rate direct mail enjoys, is also higher (Direct Marketing Association). Up to 90% of direct mail is opened by people who receive it, making it one of the best methods for getting a message across to potential guests (Data & Marketing Association).
The same basic principles apply. Before you do anything else, decide what your direct mail is going to promote. Include a strong headline and simple, persuasive text. Divide different sections with subheadings and tie everything together with a clear, visually appealing design. There are no rules for how long or short direct mail should be. Make all the points you need to, but do not include any more than is necessary. Emphasise your USPs and how they benefit your potential guests. Add your logo.
Simple letters are tried and proven, but creative mail is great for grabbing attention and creating memorability. Out-of-the-box-ideas for direct mail marketing for holiday parks might include:
- A golden ticket special offer packaged in an exquisite envelope
- A postcard of your park, from your park
- A treasure map with a big red X marking the location of your park and its holiday experience treasures
Use your imagination and think, ‘what fun idea could I post through a letterbox that could promote my park in an interesting new way to my potential guests?’
Direct mail of all variety almost always includes a freebie or offer of some kind. Create urgency and make your giveaway even more enticing to your potential guests by giving it an expiry date, ‘offer only valid until…’
The advantages of traditional marketing for holiday parks
Reach a wider audience
Whereas digital marketing is great for targeting specific audiences, traditional marketing has the edge for spreading your word far and wide to general audiences. True, a lower percentage of a general audience is likely to convert into guests, but the extra awareness your park earns from general promotion is a more than desirable trade off.
Connect with older audiences
Older people are gradually discovering the wonders of the internet, but that quaint thing the real world remains their place of preference. The key to all forms of marketing is to put promotional materials where they will be seen. Older folk do more looking into shop windows than Microsoft’s, so to capture the attention of senior potential guests, traditional marketing remains all important.
Improve your image
Ads in local newspapers, posters in local shopfronts and commercials on local radio help establish your park as a member of its community and a landmark on the local landscape. As well as alerting the attention of potential guests who live nearby, local promotion will give your park a personal touch and an air of authenticity. Large, faceless corporations will never be as popular with the public as small businesses that are part of their surrounding communities.
Built to last
The online world is one of relentless speed. Everything must be new and everything must be instant. The offline world, however, moves at a more relaxed pace, and this is something that traditional marketing reflects. The lifespans and the promotional effects of print ads, brochures and direct mail is longer than those of their digital counterparts. This means there is a potential to get extra mileage from your traditional marketing efforts.
Reliability and appeal
For all its brilliance, digital technology can and sometimes does stop working. When the power goes, we can rely on candles, and when we do, we tend to remember how much we like the scent of the wax, the flicker of the flame, and that soft, illuminating glow.
Using digital and traditional marketing for holiday parks in conjunction
New and old can and should work in harmony. More and more marketers are using traditional marketing methods to funnel people towards their digital marketing materials and channels. Your print ad featuring a picture of one of your quirky glamping pods might suggest ‘look us up on Facebook to find more pictures of our other unique glamping pods’. Similarly, the special offer you provide with your direct mail could be a code that grants a discount on your website.
This technique of using traditional marketing as a matchmaker for digital makes great use of the wide reach and other advantages of traditional marketing. It also helps offset many of its disadvantages. You can not subscribe to direct mail and you can not follow a print ad. You can, however, use traditional marketing to guide potential guests to your blog and your social accounts.
Another advantage of this technique is that potential guests who are funnelled onto your website and your social media channels are exposed to more of your marketing materials the moment they arrive. This extra exposure helps guide them along the customer journey and increases the chances they will become paying guests.
The great shift online is underway and gathering pace. Your website is your new shop window and the internet is where you are going to be making more and more of your sales. But this is not an excuse to forget traditional marketing, which still has a unique appeal, and done well, a profitable effect.
As we have repeated, simplicity is perhaps the most important element of any successful piece of traditional marketing. Remember to add your branding and use originality wherever possible, too.
Hopefully you have learnt a lot about how to make effective print ads, brochures and direct mail to attract more potential guests offline, and why these methods are still important. But even armed with this knowledge, without the help of professionals, getting it right is not easy.
The Gold Standard Service
Michael Paul’s Gold Standard service is ready and waiting to provide you with a virtual back office staffed by a 17-strong team of UK holiday lettings experts. The team includes industry specialist marketeers, marketing strategists, writers, and design professionals poised to handle all areas of your business’s traditional marketing activities.
If you wish, the service can also handle your digital marketing, customer service, bookings, and revenue management.
All work produced by your Gold Standard virtual back office is done in your name, under your brand. Best of all, the costs are guaranteed to be outweighed by what is likely to be £1000s of extra income that the service will earn for you.
To discuss how the Gold Standard service will benefit your business,
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