Ahoy affiliates! According to Tourism Review, the cruise industry is estimating a 6.6% increase in passengers in 2011. Reading that statistic your first impulse might be to shrug your shoulders at economic naysayers constantly preaching caution when launching travel and tourism campaigns. Though that is an understandable reaction, the saying “Patience is a virtue” should still hold true for affiliate marketers looking to capitalize on the projected boost.
Why is remaining patient significant? Affiliate and performance-based marketers have witnessed firsthand the evolution of the savvy consumer. Strategies have been put in place to engage these potential and existing customers such as online couponing and the integration of social media for user engagement. For travel and tourism, especially the cruise trade, the advent of the value conscious consumer is placing a renewed emphasis on audience-specific targeting to drive lead increases within the industry. Audience-specific targeting is particularly effective because it identifies and engages prospective consumers who have expressed interest and show a high propensity for conversion.
Quality not quantity is the campaign difference maker. I'm sure if you asked ten random strangers walking the frigid New York City streets if they would like to embark on a Caribbean cruise, at least nine of them would have their bags packed within an hour. But if those nine interested people do not fit the client's geographic and financial qualifications, they end up being leads for the sake of leads. Cue the affiliate life-vests!
Before setting sail, affiliates should help travel advertisers and marketers sift out good leads from bad. Affiliates may not know their port from starboard but they do know which lead qualifying and filtering proprietary technologies will keep a campaign above board. Proper implementation and continuous testing of any affiliate travel program will ensure clients don't go down with the ship.