Steve Dunne, chief executive Digital Drums

This summer has been a notable one for the travel sector in many ways.

The blisteringly hot British summer and the successful run of the England team in the World Cup created both cheer and challenges.

In travel marketing too, the summer of 2018 has been a notable one.

Brand tie-ups seem to be thriving. Jet2holidays partnered with ITV’s Love Island reality show, while other firms piggybacked their marketing efforts on Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

When Jet2 announced its link-up with Love Island, I was asked if it was a smart move.

Would it have a downside? Was the financial expenditure and marketing efforts of teaming up with a TV show worth the return?

Brand partnerships

Any brand partnership has inherent risks, particularly if a TV show attracts controversy because of the actions or words of its stars.

But, if carefully considered and selected against a criteria of matching features and perceptions with your brand, it is actually one of the smartest moves a travel brand or destination can make.

With budgets under ever-increasing pressure, the need to make your marketing or promotional pound work harder is acute, so linking up with other players to either pool your budget with theirs or leverage their profile with yours becomes a no‑brainer.

But brand partnership goes way beyond just being smart about how you spend your promotional budget.

Brand partnership is something that every travel consumer, regardless of their demographic profile, is looking for.

Travel consumers do not live in silos. While we would like to think that travel is all that matters to them, sadly that isn’t the case.

Nearly every consumer lives with what marketers call a ‘halo’ of brands in their life.

Subconsciously, every day, we are all buying brands that support and reinforce our image of ourselves.

From cars to clothes, handbags to shoes, cosmetics to food, home furniture to kitchen appliances – everything you buy is saying something to you about how you see yourself.

Image projection

And the brands you buy and use project that image of yourself to the outside world.

It’s why we have labels on the outside of our clothes and post photographs of our holiday on social media.

So, linking your brand with that of others is not just a good use of your marketing budget, it is absolutely crucial to the success of your brand.

I’m not just talking about the big headline-catching partnerships.

Hotels that team up with branded toiletries; airlines that team up with celebrity chefs; and beach clubs that feature the most sought-after branded sportswear – all are doing exactly the same thing: including their brand in the collective set of brands their customer sees as reflecting their image of themselves.

So, take a careful look at your prospective customer and ask what brands feature prominently in their lives.

If those brands match your brand features and personality, partner with them.

As well as making your marketing budget go further, it will definitely increase your sales.