Wanderlust specializes in branding and marketing communications that differentiate travel and destination brands and help achieve your business goals


Brand Strategy

There’s a great story to be told about your destination, resort or attraction. Do you know it? Like all great stories, it has colorful characters, romance, adventure and rich mental imagery. It communicates the single-minded idea that sets your destination apart from your competition, and at the same time, illustrates all the little things that make your destination a one-of-a-kind experience.

This is your brand story, and if you’re not telling it yet, you’re not creating desire.

As an experienced destination branding agency, Wanderlust can help you figure out what your brand story is – and what it isn’t. Informed by market insights and a shameless look inside your organization, we begin to craft your story. With the raw materials of the storyteller’s art – powerful words, compelling ideas and lush pictures – we create vivid mental imagery to help your audience envision what it will be like to experience your brand.

Brands Only Reside in the Minds of Consumers

Whether engaged in destination branding, resort branding or tourism branding, we will uncover what’s important to your customers; how they view your category, what their purchase behaviors are like, and how they interact with the destination brands they choose. By getting to know your consumer and analyzing your market and its competitive set, Wanderlust uncovers illuminating insights and opportunities that can give your destination brand a competitive advantage.

Revealing Your Differentiated Brand

Creating a brand that's both true to your organization's culture AND believable for the consumer begins by peeling back the onion. There is soul-searching to understand what your organization is all about, what it can realistically deliver, and how your brand experience really differentiates it from competitors in the market. With our help, your resort or attraction can create a brand that influences their entire business model, from the products you offer to the way your employees think about your customers to the way customers share their experiences in person and online. This is the true power of destination branding.

Inspiring and Engaging the Consumer

Destination branding is about telling your story, communicating the essence of the brand experience. Wanderlust resort branding and tourism branding services create desire for your brand. From original identity designs to integrated campaigns, our destination branding agency and programs encourage your prospects to imagine themselves experiencing your brand and motivate them to take the next step in the purchase process.


Baggage Check

The Wanderlust Baggage Check™ helps travel and destination marketers evaluate, refine and improve the results of their marketing programs. This industry is facing revolutionary change: the Internet, social media, the economy, distribution and the deteriorating travel experience are all having a profound effect on how consumers choose where and when to travel. 

The Baggage Check is a third-party analysis of your destination's current situation, designed to uncover insights and identify opportunities for achieving your stated business goals. Specifically for use by tourism promotion organizations and agencies, management companies, lodging properties, attractions and sports properties, the Baggage Check brings strategic focus to your marketing planning and decision making process.

Through the Baggage Check, we examine four dimensions of your destination to create an in-depth  understanding of where you've come from, where you are right now, and where you are likely to find promise in the future. We assess your brand equity, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We examine the competition to gauge their strengths and weaknesses, their messaging and their market positions. We analyze your customers and prospects. And finally, we examine your current marketing strategy to determine what’s working and what could work better.

The goal of the Baggage Check is to uncover insight into where your best marketing opportunities lie and build a foundation for achieving your goals. It's a realistic assessment of your destination’s place in the world — a point of departure both for creating and implementing successful, strategically-based travel marketing communications programs — for both new travel business launches and to improve the performance of an existing business’s marketing efforts.

Website Design

Travel marketing websites are as diverse as the destinations they serve. Some feature seductive images of beautiful people in alluring locations. Some are all about the transaction; helping users find the best deal and book their vacations online. Others are all facts and figures: number of rooms, restaurants, pools, floor plans, lists of services. Still others present a swirling environment of multimedia, virtual tours, streaming video and flashing buttons. But of all these different approaches, which is the most effective travel website design for tourism and destination brands?

Effective Travel / Tourism Website Design

The truth is that, upon closer inspection, very few travel websites actually do what the web does best. The Internet is an extremely effective medium for two travel marketing missions:

  1. Delivering a variety of content that supports the consumers’ interests; and
  2. Moving prospects through the buying process to become customers.

The few successful travel websites deliver content that answers the consumer’s need for information and motivates them to take action. This doesn’t happen by accident – it’s the result of a strategic approach to web content and the travel website design.

Best Practices of Travel Websites

After studying travel and tourism websites and industry best practices for more than a decade, the Wanderlust team has developed a unique web design process that is founded on the web content strategy. A solid content strategy helps us plan, create and leverage web content that inspires your consumers, increases your destination travel website traffic and converts shoppers into buyers.

Delivering the Resort Internet Marketing Message

Like no other medium, the Web 2.0 Internet facilitates an exchange of information and ideas – words, pictures, video, data, feedback and reviews – in other words, web content. If you’ve done your homework and created a destination brand that is both desirable and differentiated, your travel website content provides an opportunity to communicate exactly what your brand is all about, to make your brand more desirable to consumers searching for travel options.

Directing Traffic Your Way

Unlike print and broadcast communications created for and served to a very specific group of people, your travel website design – as well as your web content– must serve two audiences: people and search engines. Fortunately for us, both audiences are looking for the same thing – relevance. Robotic search engines sift through content to identify, index and rank its relevance so inquiring humans can find exactly what they’re looking for. By designing a "crawler-friendly" travel website, and identifying the common ground shared by your audience and your brand – where their interests overlap your offerings – you will have a resort, destination or tourism website design that will deliver the right content and anticipates their requests. Suddenly, your travel and destination brand appears at the top of their search results, and your well-crafted content begins to draw consumers to your site.

Closing The Sale

Our web content strategy helps us deliver content appropriate to the consumer’s current stage in the purchase decision. At an early stage, consumers are seeking high order emotional benefits and inspiration. That means story telling, vivid mental imagery and romance. Later in the decision process, it becomes more functional: deciding on dates, accommodations and travel logistics. And in the final stages, it’s doing whatever it takes to close the sale, booking reservations and transacting business. Your travel website design and content are key to to all of these. At its very best, web content will inspire your audience and propel them toward the next step of the purchase decision.

Wanderlust’s travel and tourism website design services and content strategies bring together all the best features of the Web 2.0 Internet with compelling content and a clear call to action. The result is an engaging online experience that inspires visitors and drives sales.

Internet Marketing

For many travel-minded consumers, the Internet is the first encounter for your brand. An online tourism marketing strategy is the key to increasing the targeted traffic to your destination’s website.

Leveraging highly targeted, low-cost media channels

Traditional marketing and media channels cast a wide net, but only catch a fraction of consumers currently shopping or in your target demo. In contrast, digital channels and internet marketing can be hyper-targeted demographically, and can potentially reach everyone in search of what you have to offer. Wanderlust’s internet marketing strategies help you to target people based on their demographics, online habits and personal information. We can specifically reach niche audiences to ensure everyone who sees your ad is a member of the target audience. It is also very low-cost compared to mass media channels. Some channels offer pay-per-click or conversion, instead of general impressions, meaning you only pay for the people who are interested in your product or service.

An integrated strategy works across platforms

Like all of our integrated communications programs, Wanderlust develops internet marketing plans that  follow individuals around across websites and social platforms through retargeting. Have you ever been shopping for shoes, and then been served an ad for that same pair on travelocity.com and later in your Facebook newsfeed?  Retargeted ads keep those shoes top-of-mind, and our integrated strategy can do the same for vacationers checking out your category to keep your destination top-of-mind. Wanderlust’s approach also has the ability to serve ads on desktop computers, lap tops, tablets and mobile phones so your messages can hit people multiple times throughout the day, across multiple platforms and devices.

Internet marketing provides measurable results

We employ robust online metrics to track the number of impressions served, the number of people who clicked through and where they went or what they did after hitting your landing page. No other medium allows you to track these results, unless you rely on a vanity URL, which most people don’t bother typing in anymore, hence why the address bar in your browser has become a search bar. This kind of analytics allows you to fully evaluate the success of your campaign and determine your ROI.

Here are a few internet marketing channels that we employ to great effect:

    •    Search Ads: Nowadays, when travelers are searching for a vacation they simply open a browser and type it into their search bar. Our strategy makes sure your brand is popping up through PPC.

    •    Display Ads: Target and retarget prospective visitors based on demographics, content they’re reading online, the keywords they’re typing into Google, a vertical of sites with related content, and even email addresses or whether they opened an email marketing message.

    •    Social Ads: Target prospects in a way that looks like news content through Facebook Newsfeed ads, Twitter promoted tweets, and Instagram promoted posts.

    •    Digital Television & Video Streaming: We get more mileage out of television spots by taking a portion of your television media spend and putting it towards digital video streaming through services like Hulu+ and network/broadcast station mobile apps.

    •    Internet Radio: We can reach potential visitors on radio beyond local stations with targeted programming and an expansion of geological reach.

Need some help brainstorming how you can best take advantage of internet marketing? Contact us today and we’ll use our marketing expertise to develop a plan to complement your goals and campaigns.

Content Development

In a world where consumers rely on search engines for immediate access to information, creating a rich source of online content provides the relevant, engaging information they seek and elevates your travel brand.

Wanderlust helps travel marketers create relevant, engaging content that attracts visitors to your website and tells your brand story. Travel and tourism consumers today tune out interruptive marketing and instead, actively seek relevant travel information through search engines and social networks. In response to this quest for information, we help destinations, resorts and attractions use online content – articles, blogs, videos, and more – to attract and engage these information-hungry travelers and provide a depth of content that traditional marketing doesn’t allow.

Part of our process is creating content that’s appropriate to the travelers current stage in the purchase decision.

Information is perceived as more credible when consumers find it themselves, so it makes sense to post it where and when they need it.Using best practices for content development and inbound marketing, we help consumers find your blog posts, videos and travel articles on their own terms, rather than trying to ”sell them” through interruptive messaging.

Defining a sustainable content strategy

The key to building a successful content development program is to start with a sustainable content strategy. Creating and publishing content that is relevant to the travelers’ searches helps your resort or attraction rank high in search engine results. An effective strategy includes choosing the keywords and SEO phrases your audiences are searching for, developing topics related to those searches and identifying and mobilizing resources (people and funding) to create keyword-rich and engaging content on a regular basis.

Content development: strategy to implementation

Wanderlust’s knowledge of current trends and best practices can help you build your content strategy, spearhead the launch of your plan or handle content development from start to finish. Our team partners with your in-house team to enhance and complement your capabilities. We rely on qualified content creators, people who understand destination marketing and can write intelligently on topics of interest to prospective patients, while maximizing use of keywords and SEO so your content ranks for your chosen keywords.

Building a long-term publishing capacity

Once created, content can be promoted in the channels where the audiences are spending their time, such as social media platforms, news sites, blogs and YouTube. Outbound marketing (online display, social media, outdoor and even television advertising) can be used in conjunction with inbound strategies to bring attention to your content and help consumers find it faster. Monthly analytics reports can show which content topics and platforms perform the best and where to concentrate your efforts.

Rich content and inbound marketing won’t gain traction overnight. Adequate time and resources need to be dedicated for ongoing content development, and for search rankings to build. If your destination could benefit from content development and inbound marketing expertise, contact Wanderlust.

Search Engine Marketing

Online Marketing Strategies for Resorts and Destinations

For many travel-minded consumers, the Internet is the first encounter with your brand. An online tourism marketing strategy is the key to increasing the targeted traffic to your destination’s website. Establishing your brand’s presence on the web and maximizing its visibility can be the difference between high traffic and no traffic – both on your site and at your door. The beauty of tourism marketing strategies for the Internet is that every hospitality, travel and tourism brand can become a destination on the web.

Wanderlust’s tourism and resort marketing strategies and services take advantage of the web’s unique properties – search engine optimization (SEO), keywords, banner advertising and social media – to attract new customers and build loyalty with your current customers.

Leveraging Online Tourism Marketing Strategies

By exploiting the way people search for travel information, we can place our clients at the top of keyword search lists. It’s hard to imagine, but some destinations’ websites can only be found by searching the specific brand name. At Wanderlust, our focus is on building organic search results; identifying the most sought-after search terms, understanding what consumers are searching for, and creating compelling, relevant content that triggers successful keyword rankings. Search engine optimization, reviewing content for relevance and refining content to emphasize organic search phrases can quickly build web traffic and page views. Where initiating organic search results may be difficult, we leverage banner advertising, behavioral retargeting, paid search or pay-per-click services to build traffic until organic search results gain traction.

Relationship Building By Permission

Unlike conventional media, the Internet is ideally suited to inbound or permissions marketing initiatives. Wanderlust leverages social media sites and inbound linking strategies to increase search visibility and drive traffic to our clients’ web sites. These powerful new tools help us deliver content to interested consumers, identify prospects and build relationships with customers. We also teach and assist organizations in the use of social media to build authority on the web.

Social Networking

Whether we like it or not – whether we’re ready or not – social media is now part of the marketing mix for travel brands and destination marketing organizations. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, Exploroo, TravBuddy, even blogs and YouTube are all changing the way consumers communicate and interact with the places they go. 

While these sites have quickly become staples for consumers, marketers are still learning the best practices and the practical limitations of this new media, and how to integrate these new channels into their communication plans. There is no “right way” to manage social networking, but understanding the challenges and opportunities of these new media is the first step in creating a realistic and achievable plan for your organization’s entry to social networks.

Developing a Social Networking Strategy

Social media doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it’s just another channel. 

Your brand’s presence on social networks should reflect the same ideals and attitudes that you’ve cultivated in traditional media. Brand consistency, attention to details and diligent preparation are the best ways to keep social media from spiraling out of control. Wanderlust can help you develop a solid strategy that will pinpoint where the brand should be, identifying the sites and blogs most relevant to your audience. Our strategy will outline an approach for listening to the blogosphere and responding to customer comments and feedback. And it will assign responsibilities and provide a plan for streamlining the process through automation.

A successful social networking strategy will provide forums for your community, opportunities for comments, suggestions and feedback. It will open your eyes to the needs and expectations of your customers, and reveal your brand’s sincerity (or lack thereof) to your customers.

Defining a Content Strategy and Process

In the social network, sharing information is cool, selling is not.

Decide in advance what you want to offer the world. Will you help disseminate useful industry articles or how-to information for customers? Are you providing a bulletin board or scrapbook for people to their share experiences, stories or photos? How often will you post to your blogs, and how often is too much? Remember to respect your community’s time and intelligence: few are willing to digest dozens of posts a day and even fewer will follow a shameless pitchman. Save your sales talks for the one-to-one exchanges.

Wanderlust can help you decide what you have to offer, what your customers find relevant, and how you will generate content. If you’re sharing links and articles, your content may just be an FYI for context. If you’re planning daily blog posts, someone better set aside time to write. Assigning responsibilities and getting commitments from those people involved are essential steps to establishing and maintaining a consistent presence for your brand.

Thoughtful Responses to Brand Feedback

When things get ugly, successful brands make it right

When used improperly, social media looks a lot like mass media: it’s disruptive, loud and pushy. When managed properly, social media provides an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with your stake holders. And while negative comments are almost inevitable, well managed social media provides a public forum for resolving complaints. With Wanderlust’s support, you’ll be ready to field all comments, and have a plan to correct errors quickly and openly, to help turn detractors into advocates and grow influence with people who promote brands by word of mouth.

Ad Campaigns

Travel and tourism advertising isn’t dead, but if you’ve spent any of your hard-earned budget on it lately, you know that it has changed dramatically. Are consumers still reading magazines? Are they actively watching television programs, or using TiVo to skip the commercials? Can they pick out your tourism advertising campaign from the thousands of destination and resort advertising messages they see every day? In many cases, consumers are opting out of advertising’s line of fire, but it may not be cause to abandon your time-tested channels. It may just be time to reconsider the way you integrate travel and tourism advertising into your marketing strategy.

Tourism advertising has evolved rapidly

An Unlikely Shift In Power

New media outlets and more informed audiences have changed the world of travel and tourism advertising. Consumers now have the power and luxury of tuning out intrusive advertising. They’re more sophisticated and can quickly ferret out false claims and over-promises. And if they’re disappointed, they will strike back with scathing reviews and blog-posts. Nowhere is this more true than in the travel and tourism advertising industry.

Helping Travel and Tourism Companies Adapt

As a resort and tourism advertising agency, Wanderlust helps travel and tourism companies adapt to this new model of advertising. We understand it has limitations, but it is still possible to create value by leveraging advertising’s inherent strengths. Successful tourism advertising requires seamless integration between online and off-line efforts, both reinforcing the power of a single message. It requires keeping up with an ever-expanding menu of media options and fine tuning media buys to dial in very narrow niche markets. Sometimes travel and tourism advertising requires that we create the medium ourselves. But most importantly, it demands resourcefulness in identifying your best prospects and finding creative, cost-effective advertising campaigns to reach those markets, however small or specialized they may be.

The Old Advertising Formulas No Longer Work

If your rely on the old formulas for your tourism advertising campaigns, you might as well throw your money out the window (an act which is guaranteed to attract attention). But if you embrace the new travel and tourism advertising paradigm, if you bridge alternative and conventional media with messaging that transcends both, and if you’re smart, you can reap the benefits of tourism advertising in the 21st century. Just ask the marketers at two very successful companies that still rely on advertising to energize their brands: Disney and Southwest Airlines. It can work for you, too.