Comment: Peak seasons and booking times are so last season

Comment: Peak seasons and booking times are so last season

Aim to be present in your target audience’s life 24/7, says Andy Bolter, creative partner at Yes&Pepper

I grew up in the 80s. It was a time when the family holiday was either a summer holiday to Butlin’s or a bed and breakfast on a small back street just off the Kent coast.

With the advent of cheap flights, it wasn’t long until we paired our summer sunshine with the winter sun reflecting off the slopes of different ski resorts all over the world.

But why confine our winter sun to the mountainside, when we can defeat the winter blues with a few rays of vitamin D (there’s always a summer season going on somewhere in the world)?

Traditionally, there were definite peak seasons for taking a holiday and peak times for booking it. Now, with low-cost travel, the onslaught of social media as well as the desire for self-reward and self-brand improvement, consumer behaviour patterns are becoming less and less defined as the travel landscape continues to change.

Peak periods for booking a holiday have now become a state of mind rather than a state of time.

Anticipation is a major driving force in human behaviour, especially when it comes to booking a holiday. Holidaymakers get so excited about the next holiday that it’s not unusual to book it while they’re still enjoying the current break.

There seems to be a need to reward ourselves on a continuous basis which is breeding a different kind of approach. With the ever-changing consumer lifestyle, it is important for brands to capitalise on this new behaviour all year round. As a result, peak periods for booking a holiday have now become a state of mind rather than a state of time.

Selling holidays and breaks has a time pressure that other industries don’t have to contend with. In the retail environment, if a tin of beans isn’t sold today, there’s a good chance that it will be sold tomorrow. If you don’t fill all your beds for the night, then the opportunity of that sale will disappear forever.

Our client, Disneyland Paris, has something for everyone: from young families to romantic couples looking to add more magic to the City of Lights. Summer and Christmas are still the park’s peak seasons; however, Easter and Halloween also have an emotion reservoir that we usually grasp onto.

We understand that there are more ideal moments to interact with our target group than only on these popular occasions, so we make sure to represent this in our marketing. Every day, night and week has its own importance. To secure bookings, we must mix planned campaigns with tactical projects that react to a changing landscape.

When it comes to enticing families to the park, time is an important message. Most parents want to take their kids to Disneyland Paris, add the price against the hassle of booking and it’s very easy for mum and dad to put the visit off until next year. So, we enforce the rule that only Peter Pan can ignore ‘book now, your children won’t be kids forever’. Add incentives to the mix such as ’30 per cent off and free half board’ and you start to create a potent mix of emotional and tangible benefits.

This year is Disneyland Paris’ 25th anniversary. The message almost writes itself: “If you’re thinking of coming to Disneyland Paris, then come during our 25th anniversary; it’ll be a year like no other”. The limited time of this celebration only adds to the urgency to book. And the best part about it? It’s a natural fit.

There shouldn’t be a time in the year that’s off-peak; whether it’s August or March. Brands need to ditch the tunnel vision and upmarket all year round

We start dreaming of the Christmas holiday in our shorts and espadrilles. Halloween ideas are delivered by the Easter bunny; and, recently, while everybody else was looking forward to Christmas, we were building a campaign that would coincide with the March launch of Disneyland Paris Direct, a call centre located in the park, making it easier for guests to book a stay at the resort and rely less on third party partners.

As the country started to write their yuletide lists in November, we were kicking off a planning meeting on how exactly we could promote this. Our inspiration for the visuals came from two of Disney’s most popular icons, Micky and Minnie Mouse, whose identity was reflected in bespoke call centre headsets. As an agency, you need vast knowledge of your client’s business and be both proactive and reactive, especially as we collaborate very closely with Disneyland Paris’ creative team when building the campaigns.

The concepts of peak seasons and peak booking times have grown and developed with the evolution of users’ preferences. Currently, it is less about creating one or two campaigns a year, and more about being present in your target audience’s life 24/7. There shouldn’t be a time in the year that’s off-peak; whether it’s August or March. Brands need to ditch the tunnel vision and upmarket all year round.

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