Romantic couple at tropical resort during honeymoon vacation

The rise of luxury travel brands – how companies can stand out from competitors and attract new customers

The Cost of living in the UK might be at an all time high, but according to research from MMGY Travel Intelligence, British travellers are planning 2.5 international trips on average this year, and are expected to spend over £4,000 in total, which is above the rest of Europe.

Certainly, the impact of Covid-19 has impacted people’s perception of worth and value for money versus experience, with data revealing new flight routes, hotel openings and tourism campaigns are also spurring interest in countries such as Morocco, Grand Cayman in the Caribbean and Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

The rise in prolific tourism has propelled consumers’ quest for luxury options, with many travellers evolving their expectations of holiday providers and travel agents to include premium hotels, compelling excursions, and even progressive modes of travel.

In turn, we can see an influx of travel companies competing against each other to stand out against competitors. Some, such as Intrepid Travel are differentiating themselves by focusing on being sustainable, with others like Dharma offering itineraries that fuel consumer passion areas and connect you with likeminded people, and Luxury Escapes which concentrates on handpicked experiences at affordable prices.

This begs the question: with so much consumer choice, how should brands command presence and set themselves apart in what is already a fiercely crowded space?

A well-crafted PR and digital strategy can play a pivotal role in capturing attention, building brand reputation, and enticing affluent travellers to choose your brand over competitors.

At The PHA Group, we are experienced in supporting and advising brands – such as Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, XO Airline and TravelUp – to help implement effective strategies that differentiate them from others and create a lasting impact with target audiences. Just some of the tactics we are skilled in, include:

Creative storytelling

Going on holiday is about more than just beautiful destinations; consumers also want their getaway to provide immersive experiences and unforgettable memories. Leveraging the power of creative storytelling can be a great way to captivate your target audience, evoke emotions and resonate with people’s aspirations by showing them what you have to offer.

To make a lasting impact, consider implementing a creative comms strategy that uses storytelling to highlight your USPs, whether that’s sharing tips and advice about the extraordinary moments not to be missed, painting a picture of the exclusive experiences your guests can look forward to such as a luxury yacht or luxe airport lounge, or revealing how your brand caters to influential travel trends like sleep tourism e.g., you offer access to hotels designed for optimal shut-eye.

Consumer activations

Luxury travellers can be difficult to reach through traditional marketing methods as like their desire for individual travel experiences, personalised communication is also highly important to them. For this reason, consumer-facing activations can be a great tactic to engage potential luxury customers on a deeper level, allowing brands to drive engagement and win over their hearts as well as their minds.

This could include hosting experiential events, exclusive pop-ups, elevated partnerships and more. This approach not only generates buzz but also allows your audience to tangibly connect with your brand and create memorable moments.

Driving traffic though PR

With the online travel booking market expected to hit $833 billion in 2025, it’s vital that your company website has a strong presence, and its Google search rankings are optimised for engaging consumers looking to explore travel options, especially given that searching the web is universal across the globe.

Where most people research holidays themselves, it’s also worth noting that some luxury travellers might rely on a personal assistant to do this for them, therefore industry recognition and consumer trust will play a vital role in converting interest to sales.

Digital PR can help with this. Through insight-led strategies that are tailored to specific online news sites, we can help brands to build impactful and relevant stories that include natural backlinks to their website, which in turn will improve organic rankings and boost your overall authority and visibility online

SEO, Paid Search, and Content Marketing will also further improve brand visibility, engage your audience and drive quality traffic. Your digital channels shouldn’t operate in isolation, and we have experience in collaborating and aligning with PR teams to ensure campaigns run effectively across all platforms.

Influencer advocacy

The continued boom in TikTok and Instagram use means that many people discover and are influenced into researching new destinations – from locations to hotels to experiences – via social media in the first instance. For example, the hashtag #traveldestinations has 248.2M views on TikTok, #holidayideas has 54.6M views and #luxuryhotels has 244.4M views.

Influencers can be a fantastic way to engage your target audience and potential customers on social by creating love and trust for your brand through third-party advocacy, creator content is also incredibly valuable for your owned channels too.

Importantly, it’s crucial that any influencer marketing is authentic and that partners are the right fit for your brand to avoid appearing disingenuous. We have extensive experience in working with clients to ensure that this criteria is met and campaigns run effectively.

And, last but not least reputation management

It is an unfortunate inevitability in the travel sector that things will sometimes go wrong. Guests will experience problems on their trips which are beyond your control – perhaps due to bad weather, illness or accidents. There will be issues with employees which can quickly escalate into major problems if they are handled badly. Another potential area of risk is technology, with website failures and data breaches.

The best travel companies do everything they can to prepare in advance for issues and crises which could affect their reputation and negatively impact their business. This means when things do go wrong, the company and its staff know how to implement effective crisis communications to ensure they emerge from any crisis with as little reputational damage as possible.

Whilst it is impossible to foresee every situation there are similar themes and problems which come up time and time again. At PHA we are highly experienced at helping travel companies to prepare for issues and crises. We can help to prepare a crisis manual which maps out potential problems and suggests how to deal with them.

Should anything unforeseen happen we can also be on hand to quickly assess the situation, help draft statements, handle incoming media enquiries and advise on all internal and external messaging.

Ultimately, well-executed PR and digital strategies that work in tandem will help your brand to stand out in the competitive landscape of luxury travel. By defining your unique value proposition, crafting compelling stories, collaborating with influencers, embracing experientials, and leveraging digital platforms, your brand can create a distinctive presence in the market.

If you would like to learn more about how a PR campaign could help your brand stand out from competitors and attract new customers, speak to a member of our Consumer Team today.

Get in touch with the team