March 10, 2015 § 2 Comments
Women are traveling more than they have ever before. Travel experts think that women represent the most important and fastest growing segment of the travel market, in terms of both leisure and business travel.
Phyllis Stoller is truly an expert on women travelers. As head of The Women’s Travel Group since 1992, she is on the front line of travel trends and shares her Top Ten 2015 observations with us. She says that women continue to lead in researching their trips, are seeking more exotic destinations, and are more interested in a healthy diet while traveling. Understanding these trends is important to marketing to women travelers.
Here are her top ten new trends:
- Live for today spending. Overall, a carpe diem mentality is surpassing budget concerns. Maybe it is the economy or maybe single women are finally more affluent. A recent article in the NY Times examined the lifestyle of a healthcare employee, concluding that her higher-per-hour salary put her in a strong financial position for increased spending. And we are seeing these more affluent women traveling. These women are in a professional position that allows for more discretionary spending.
- Women are requesting specific experiences. Online review sites are helping define and prioritize what women will do with their time on a trip, even where they will shop. I have seen actual shopping lists with specific names of oversea stores. Online reviews encourage list making. We observe women listing specific places they want to visit on an itinerary, rather than stating just a destination like Tuscany.
- We still see unusual trips selling out fastest. The idea of leaving ‘your comfort zone’ has leaked into travel. A frisson, even a little scary, is a draw for many women. Women are seeking unusual and new destinations while men are more satisfied with more predictable golf resort destinations. Women are also looking for more intellectual stimulation and experience in their travel; 75% of those who take cultural, adventure or nature trips are women.
- Healthy diet on the road is increasingly important. As regional cuisine has become more sophisticated throughout the US, fine dining overseas is less of a priority, unless it comes with an experience (famous farm meal, known winery, cooking demo).
- Hotel amenities become part of the travel experience. Along with the more liberal spending for travel, we notice women are again using hotel amenities like spa services. Their enjoyment of travel extends beyond the last tour, as women pack use of the hotel into each day. Today’s working women seek quality hotels and services equivalent or better than their business travel standards.
- Smartphones are the new travel accessory. Everyone has a smart phone. Older women will actually get their smart phone before a trip as part of their travel gear. Wifi is the new umbilical cord for many. Entering a lovely hotel with wifi, women will look at their phones before admiring the lobby.
- Solo travelers still penalized. The single supplement is still an issue regarding cost and availability. Women are frequently penalized with a premium applied by some travel companies for traveling alone. Sharing is an option many still choose. But with a stronger economy, the single cost is slightly less formidable this year.
- Frequent flyer consultants needed. Frequent flyer mile accumulation continues to bother women; part of our job today is to help with creative uses of frequent flyer miles. Tour operators need to be frequent flyer consultants or lose passengers’ attention.
- No age limit for traveling. We see women 80+ still happy to travel and not just on cruises. As an FYI, three women of this age group went to India with us October 2014 along with other women aged 40+.
- Airline upgrades are more frequent among women. Maybe the upgrades are a sign of the economy or extra frequent flyer miles. But the upgrades are also a trend of not being afraid to spend money on one’s self.
Read more trends about marketing travel to women here.
February 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Google has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to deliver health information through search in a totally new way to provide more information on symptoms and treatment. This change, which began on February 10, will certainly set a new bar for how Americans seek information and medical facilities respond. But it may also pose a challenge for marketers.
Rather than relying on information resulting from a regular search, Google has taken the position that health information needs to be presented in a different and more reliable way. Mayo Clinic has partnered with Google to review all the information provided. Now, when a consumer does a search, they will see an expanded box next to their Google search on desktop and more detailed information on the Google app.
And while this new search box will provide useful information, the change certainly impacts content and search strategy for marketers. The addition of this information box to the search results may likely mean a reduction in clicks to the websites in the SERPs. The person searching may not perceive a need to go to the website with specific information. For instance, if a person needs information on heart attack warning signs, they may never go to a local hospital site, only relying on the Google box of information. Video may be a strong tool in getting around the knowledge graph. Currently videos are not included in the knowledge graph. A 2011 study by AimClear demonstrated that video can receive as much as 41 percent more clicks in organic search over text results.
According to Google, “the box will be filled with enhanced information culled from throughout the web, verified by multiple physicians and, finally, signed off by doctors from Mayo. Altogether, an average of 11.1 physicians have inspected and approved the information Google will now present.”
The information may include special illustrations, symptoms and treatments. Google is beginning with 400 medical conditions which will inform about 10% of current health searches.
This initiative is huge in Google. Here are some of the reasons why Google has made this change:
1. One in every 20 searches on Google is about health information.
2. Three-quarters of all health inquiries start with a search engine, according to Pew Research.
3. The most commonly-researched topics are specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures, and doctors for health professionals.
4. 35% of US adult say that they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they have or someone else has.
5. One in five internet users have consulted online reviews and/or rankings of healthcare providers/treatments.
6. 31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information.
The technology that Google is using is part of the Knowledge Graph which links searches to connected information. Now, you currently see this technology at work when you see the box of information to the right of a search results displayed for a celebrity or famous personality.
February 10, 2015 § 1 Comment
There is always a Nashville connection. This week Sports Illustrated has taken over downtown Nashville for its first bash in honor of its America the Beautiful 2015 swimsuit issue. At the same time, the magazine is also making news for including a so-called plus-size model in a swimsuit and a true plus-size model in an ad in this year’s edition.
Is advertising finally accepting that the average size of an American women is 12-14?
The models shown on the runway and in magazines like Sports Illustrated represent less than 5% of women in the US. A traditional sample size used on the runway and in magazines is a 0-2. Even famous actresses know that to snag a couture gown for the Oscar runway, you have to be a size 2.
I have never bought a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue before, but I had to see this one. The debut of the Sports Illustrated model Robyn Lawley was hailed as historic – the first time in history a model beyond a traditional sample size has appeared in the swimsuit issue.
So here’s the scoop. In the 220-page magazine, there are three pictures of Robyn Lawley, a size 12. That’s a size 12 spread over 6 feet, 2 inches, not the average 5 foot, 4 inch woman. Thankfully, neither Sports Illustrated or Robyn uses the term “plus size”, because she is clearly not plus size. Robyn likes “curvy”, and says she is interested in seeing a variety of sizes of women in ads. She said that the exposure is “a step in the right direction.”
But the real story is Ashley Graham, the SwimsuitsForAll model, featured in a two-page spread in the magazine. Ashley is termed a larger-than-average model. She is a 5’ 9”, size 16 and has been featured in Vogue and Glamour. Graham says “the world is ready for more curves in bikinis.” Ashley actively campaigns for women to embrace their bodies no matter what the shape, and has helped found ALDA, a coalition of models promoting a healthy body image for women.
It seems that there is a positive movement to represent more average size women. Calvin Klein recently chose a size 10 model to appear in that company’s underwear ads. And in January, Target launched a plus-size clothing line, Ava & Viv, selecting three plus-size bloggers to model the campaign.
“I really hope this opens up doors for not just skinny girls with big boobs, but for girls with big hips and thighs,” says Graham, “That’s what we have in America.
Let’s say hooray for body positive messages like Graham and Meghan Trainor’s hit song “It’s All About That Bass.” Wake up Victoria Secret. There is life beyond size 2.
Oh, by the way, I would show you the cover, but there is nothing average or real about it.
December 16, 2014 § 1 Comment
There is a new study reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy identifying a rising group of charitable donors. The study finds “Millennial and Generation X women who are single and unaffiliated with a religion give two-and-a-half times more money to charity than their older, similarly secular counterparts, according to the report, which looked exclusively at unmarried donors. Their giving also doubles that of peers who have loose ties to a religion.”
For many years, it has been reported that people of faith gave more than unchurched individuals, so this report indicates that intensity of faith may not be as strong an indicator of giving as previously thought.
It seems that young single women may be bucking the trend, but there may be other factors at play as well. Young single women may represent a growing group of highly educated, high income women who have decided to defer marriage. This group of Single Indies represent some 28 million women, or one out of three adult women, who spend around $1 trillion each year. They may have more disposable income and be predisposed to charitable interests.
The report also cites that one-third of Americans under 30 have no religious affiliation.
Clearly, for non-profits, this group of younger women represent an opportunity for both giving and volunteer activities. Marketing should recognize and speak to this power group.
December 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
Shopping local is more than a trend. It is growing for several reasons. Shopping local is good for business, good for the environment and good for our desire to find one-of-a-kind, meaningful products.
Good for Business
Local shopping is not insignificant. In a world of online shopping and big box retailers, the 23 million independent stores in America account for 54 percent of sales. These independent stores provide 55 percent of jobs, and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
One study says that local business generates 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail. Keeping dollars in the local economy has been the rally cry for small business. My friend Linda Berry, owner of fine linen store Bella Linea in Nashville, Tennessee, recently shared some of the facts with her customers to reinforce the importance of keeping dollars in her community. She shared statistics showing that for every $100 spent at a locally owned store, $45 remains in the local economy, compared with about $13 per $100 spent at a big box and almost zero for online shopping.
A movement around Shopping Local has begun. American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 to encourage consumers to visit small businesses in their community as part of the after Thanksgiving shopping. This year shopping local has grown double digits. A report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express – the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey – revealed that 88 million consumers “shopped small” this year, up 14.9 percent from just a year ago.
Good for Our Need for One-of-A-Kind Finds and One-of-A-Kind Experiences
Many retailers like Linda Berry also talk about the importance of meeting needs for today’s shoppers. Linda spends time traveling to find and create one-of-kind products that her customers can’t find anywhere else. Services like free designer consultation and free gift wrapping make small businesses like Bella Linea stand out among the mass marketers.
Trends like eating local and the Maker Movement also continue to provide unique goods and experiences that meet the desires of today’s consumer. The Maker Movement really captures the group of people creating individually made pieces for the home, small-batch food products, hand-knit, handmade and hand crafted items that can’t be mass produced.
Food has gone local with independent restaurants, local food purveyors, handmade food products and farmers markets proliferating. Beyond the food, food experiences have become custom as well. There are food tours, hands-on cooking lessons and small batch wine classes.
Good for the Environment
And, surprisingly, shopping local is also good for the environment. Shopping locally helps cut down on processing, packaging and transportation waste, leading to less pollution and less fuel consumption.
So, with just a few days of the shopping season left, visit a local store and make a difference in your community.
November 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
I don’t often talk about a single television spot but the Special K “More than a number” campaign has generated a spot that really defines women as more than sizes or numbers. Special K and their agency Leo Burnett actually created a pop-up store for women buying jeans. The proposition is real. Women fear only one thing more than shopping for jeans and that is shopping for a swimsuit. They talk about depressing feelings related to the shopping experience. Every woman I know talks about fat jeans, comfortable jeans and skinny jeans, but Special K has tried to change the language.
Hidden cameras capture women as they are shopping in the pop-up store. A surprising thing happens when they find out there are no sizes on the jeans. Their whole attitude changes when they find out that the jeans are not sized in numbers but in words like “fabulous”, “confident”, and “radiant”. The women were free from numbers and were affirmed that they were beautiful.
As women, our self-esteem and confidence is enhanced when we are not tied to old tapes we play in our head. And advertising can play a role in establishing new self affirming roles for women.
Research shows that if we feel more attractive, we are more confident. Jane Risen, an associate professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, says “The most relevant study that comes to mind for me is a classic study looking at self-fulfilling prophecies,” she said. Men and women had a 10-minute conversation, via headphones and microphones so they couldn’t see each other. Before the chat, the men were given fake pictures, so half of them believed they were talking to an attractive woman, and the other half an unattractive woman.
“The most remarkable finding was that an independent set of coders who listened only to the women (and didn’t see a picture) also thought that the women who were supposedly more attractive were more friendly and sociable,” Riser said. “In other words, being perceived by the men as attractive lead the women to act differently such that other people came to believe the same thing that the men believed.”