Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends

Emotional Marketing and Music

You can’t help reading these days about emotional marketing —  forging an emotional connection with potential buyers or clients as a key to sales success. Story telling and appealing to the senses are touted as  effective ways (and I concur as you’ve read). In the case of the latter,  incorporating aromatherapy and visual candy (design, art, fashion) into the product and marketing are becoming a “given” with many hotels and lifestyle products. But what about the hearing sense? Some interesting information and data recently crossed my desk . Rightune makes music for websites, 1000 of them right now that are active, as well as online ads and applications. They claim this has increased business by 15 to 20%, the highside being in the hotel, travel and lifestyle industries. Here’s an example of what CEO Erez Perlmuter says is one of the more successful of the sites (click on the name to hear the music):

Europa Hotel 

How does this work?  They customize the music based on branding values, target audience, mood to be created and business goal (e.g.lead generation, purchase, staying time). The client then gets a code snippet to embed on their website which will give a user a playlist. The user’s behavior is tracked and music updated as needed. Clients get a dashboard where they can see what was played and its impact on website business performance. What kind of music works? Not surprisingly, soothing tunes in the morning and more upbeat works in the afternoon.

I asked the obvious question, how do they know how many people to the site don’t like the music? They said on average 4% of visitors mute or lower the volume and 96% stayed longer.  I have to say, I found the music on the Europa Hotel relaxing (he said the music increased their business by 50%). What do you think?

Emotional marketing components

Visual – People everywhere are visual creatures. Imagery is a smart, subliminal way to “sell”. According to the Travel Industry Association, most online reservations are still made from the picture gallery, or one click later. Yet, most guests think their decision was intellectual, not emotional. You want your product to be remembered, so choose colors wisely. One Xerox Corp. study found that color boosted attention spans and recall 82%. With correct imagery, guests will feel like they’ve touched the velvety-soft pillows, smelled the gardenias outside the window and tasted the béarnaise sauce on the juicy steaks. Voila! They have bonded with your product. Images that convey cold facts aren’t nearly as compelling.

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Emotional triggers and sensory marketing

You’ve appealed to your consumer’s rational side (see our earlier post – Rise of  the Intelligent Consumer). Now, appeal to their emotions. We’re hearing wide use of such sales phrases as “new lifestyle opportunity,” “passion points” and “one-of-a-kind experiences.”

Humans have five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing. Today’s multi-sensory marketing of tourism products and services creates emotional bonds in consumers by appealing to all five of these senses. The idea is to influence perceptions of brands. Tapping customers’ emotions creates memories to be taken away for the long term.

After all, what sets one product apart from another, one brand from the next? Yes, the bed is soft, the shower water is hot and the lobby smells pleasant. What’s critical is that the customer’s whole sensory experience be funneled through a hotel’s identity.

As Laurie Babin told the Journal of Advertising, “The potential of imagery is both potent and provocative, especially when one takes into account that the forms of mental impressions include all five senses.” Travelers choose to be guests or visitors at your hotel, destination or cruise line. They may not be able to explain why, but they “have a feeling that it’s right”.

Vendors of luxury brands are in the experience and emotions business, selling stories and memories. Products and brands must inspire a special experience to provoke the universally sought “I love it!” response.