Utilizing The Golden Circle in Travel Marketing

In travel marketing, the most memorable and impactful messages are those that connect with the hearts of travelers, not just their minds.

A concept I like to work with to write inspiring and valuable travel marketing content is the golden circle from Simon Sinek:

Golden Circle of Simon Sinek

To stand out with your travel marketing, you need to do more than showcasing breathtaking visuals of your experiences and destination; you need to create a connection with potential travelers. Simon Sinek's Golden Circle concept helps crafting marketing messages that resonate deeply with audiences. This blog explores how the Golden Circle can be applied to travel marketing to create content that is compelling and inspires action.

Introduction to Simon Sinek's Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is a framework for understanding and being able to retell what makes your organization unique and what the basis is of your story telling by defining, why, how and what you do. Most companies can easily phrase 'what' they do and 'how' they do it differently, but the 'why' is often more difficult. The 'why' isn't about profit or products; it's about purpose and belief. It's what inspires the company / owner / team. Sinek argues that companies that start with 'why' are able to inspire their customers more effectively than those that don't.

Applying the Golden Circle to Travel Experiences

In travel marketing, applying the Golden Circle means moving beyond listing destinations or services (the What) and how they're provided (the How) to focus on why these experiences are meaningful. For travel organizations, this involves delving into the purpose behind their offerings and the unique experiences they create. It's about answering why traveling with them can enrich a traveler's life or why a destination is more than just a place to visit. This approach helps potential travelers see the deeper value and emotional appeal of choosing one experience over another.

Crafting Messages That Focus on the Why

Focusing on the 'why' allows travel brands to craft messages that resonate on an emotional level. It's not just about selling a trip; it's about selling an experience that can change perceptions, enrich lives, or fulfill a deep-seated desire for adventure. For example, instead of marketing a tour as just a guided visit (the What), travel marketers can emphasize the opportunity to connect with new cultures and create lasting memories (the Why).

Here are ways to integrate the Golden Circle into travel marketing content:

  • Storytelling: Share stories that embody the 'why' behind your destinations. Highlight the experiences of past travelers who've been transformed by their journeys.
  • Visuals: Use images and videos that do more than showcase destinations; let them convey the emotions and experiences that traveling offers.
  • User-Generated Content: Encourage past travelers to share their 'why' stories. This not only adds authenticity to your marketing but also provides tangible examples of the deeper value your brand offers.

Utilizing the Golden Circle in travel marketing invites organizations to reframe their messaging from selling products to sharing experiences that align with their audience's values and aspirations. By focusing on the 'why,' travel brands can create more compelling, inspiring content that cuts through the noise, captures the imagination, and motivates travelers to embark on journeys that offer more than just a change of scenery.

If we look at our best selling travel experience and we apply the golden circle concept on it, we can ask the questions that will lead to the most valuable content we can write for travelers.

Why are your persona's buying your experiences ?
Why do they choose for your company ?
Why do they choose for the city the experience is in ?
The country ?
But also why do you love selling this product and how does it relate to what your company stands for and believes in ?

The answers to those questions are much more compelling then only describing what you offer. The trick and this is the difficult part, is to translate the answers in an easy to understandable piece of content.

A very good example, though not from the travel industry is Apples Marketing Slogan for it Ipod - 1000 songs in your pocket. There is no mention of features, the name of the product : an mp3 player, just very compressed a revolutionary technique that transforms the ability of having a bulky cd with one album replaced by your favorite 1000 songs in your pocket.

How to apply the golden circle for your travel marketing content:

Take the travel experiences you make the most money with.

Fill in the following answers:

  • Why are your persona's buying this experience ?
  • Why do they choose for the city, region and country the experience is in ?
  • Why do they choose for your company ? - Unique Selling Points - should come from your strategy
  • Why do you love selling this experience
  • How does the experience relate to what your company stands for (purpose)

The first 2 questions, you can answer with market research, knowing your customers by asking them for feedback, talk with your team especially guides and sales / marketing people and read your online reviews.

An interesting other possibility to learn about your audience is a Google interview.

Lets assume my company is good in snorkeling experiences for families and i want to apply Simon Sinek's, golden circle.

With the help of Google, i could answer the question why families love snorkeling, by searching for: "Reasons to do snorkeling with kids"

Besides some answers that google provides, it also gives us other questions our audience might ask. Copy paste reasons that think fit for your audience in a google doc and go to the next question.

Why do family with kids come to my region ?, here i took Bali as an example.

Google provides me with some answers and other questions my audience might ask. Collect the best answers and put them in your google doc. The other questions are about your company and you should find that answer in your strategy. If you answered all the above questions, reconfirm one more time: does my audience now have enough information to book my travel product with confidence.

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