By Katherine Wellman, vice president of marketing and product management, FlightView
Winning in the travel tech space isn’t easy. It’s an ultra-competitive industry with numerous highly-entrenched global leaders and hundreds of new startups entering the market each year. As proof of the industry’s immense and growing popularity, consider this: the 2015 Global Business Travel Association convention in Orlando later this month is expected to attract 7,000 attendees and more than 400 vendors, all competing for a share of the travel industry pie.
There’s also extreme competition for topical mindshare. Take a moment to consider all the messages and industry trends that travel buyers are inundated with every day: volatile fuel prices, emerging travel markets, a consolidated airline base, unpredictable weather patterns, demands for transparency, changing government regulations, geo-political concerns, customer experience needs and of course, evolving technology. The list could go on forever.
With so many travel technology and service providers competing for buyers’ attentions, how does a company stand out and add value?
With the help of our agency partner, Corporate Ink, we’ve stayed ahead of the competition through a targeted public relations and marketing program that keeps our services and value top of mind for our customers. This hasn’t been easy given that we have customers in numerous market segments – airlines, airports, ground transportation, travel management companies and general aviation. On top of this, over the past couple of years, we’ve launched a mobile travel app that today has more than 4 million downloads. Our consumer flight-tracking website now generates more than 12 million unique visitors per year. We’ve told our story in publications of all audiences and sizes, reaching the critical audiences who wanted to buy our services. And most recently, we were acquired by OAG, the market leader for aviation intelligence. A lot of our success can be tied back to the demand generation and public relations initiatives that helped us maintain long-term relationships with prospects, and now clients.
When I look back at what’s been most successful on the PR and marketing front, a couple of strategies come to mind:
1. Telling our B2B story through the eyes of the traveler: We might sell to other businesses, but ultimately, the end consumer is still the focus of our communication efforts. To that end, we survey travelers twice annually and use the findings to educate our prospects on the needs of their own customers – pain points, issues, concerns, and what would make for a better customer experience. We have our fingers on the pulse of today’s travelers, and we leverage that data to tell a larger story that fuels our demand generation, social and media programs.
2. Generating non-stop visibility: From high-profile placements in The New York Times and USA Today to targeted stories in industry outlets like Tnooz and Skift, our media program constantly keeps us on our prospects’ radar. Sometimes we’re extremely targeted in the stories we’re telling, with the intent of driving buyers to action. Other times, we’re seeking to achieve third-party validation for our data, or increase overall brand awareness. No matter the message, everything we push out fits together and aligns with a strategic business goal.
3. Integrating PR with demand generation: Gaining visibility has been extremely valuable, but awareness alone isn’t enough. We’re focused on going beyond industry visibility to actually driving pipeline growth. The measurement conversation shifts from “How much coverage did we secure?” to “How many marketing qualified leads engaged with us as the result of our last campaign?”
Our team is talented, but small – so we rely on our agency partner to help stretch our marketing resources and budget, and put us on the map with our larger competitors in a way we couldn’t manage alone. Through strategic and targeted PR and content marketing, we continue to grow, lead and differentiate ourselves in a competitive travel marketplace.
FlightView grew its business through PR and marketing. Learn how Corporate Ink can do the same for your B2B travel company.