The travel workshops have ended, the summer Travel Essentials campaign is live and it’s all systems go for our trading peak.
But competition in the travel money market is really tough and we need to find new and bold ways to attract new customers, and also encourage existing customers to use Post Office.
We catch up with Chief Marketing Officer, Emma Springham, about what to expect over the coming weeks and months.
Our ambition is to remain number one in travel, but what are the market conditions like this year?
It’s a much tougher market for travel. Purchases of foreign currency fell 19% compared to last year (2018), with customers more frequently using debit cards and/or obtaining currency at destination ATMs. Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s all sit above the Post Office on exchange rates and all offer lower minimum order values, plus we’re seeing increased competition from well-known high street brands such as Debenhams and John Lewis.
What does this year’s summer travel campaign look like?
Point of sale is now in branches and activities are set to ramp up over the next few weeks. We need to stand out and be different in our marketing so we’ve added a little humour in our upcoming ‘Holiday Mode Activated’ digital TV ads will be on ITV Hub, All4 and Sky from this week – in ad breaks for ‘Love Island’, ‘X-Factor’, ‘Emmerdale’, ‘Made in Chelsea’ and ‘First Dates.’
We’re running press advertising over the course of the campaign including the Sun, Mirror, Times, Observer and City AM. There will be targeted poster advertising in close proximity to branches and we’re testing Travel Essentials radio advertising in August.
We will use social media to create and share relevant stories throughout the summer travel period, including our Post Office Travel Money reports, working with travel and family influencers and running competitions.
This year, we’re also working with YouTube content creators to reach and engage university audiences to encourage downloads of the Travel Money App and Travel Money Card registrations.
What is the aim of our marketing campaign?
The purpose of all our marketing activity is to drive leads into the business ensuring a return on our investment. Customers have different needs, some want ease and convenience, others want choice and best rates. We know our online and in-branch customer bases are very different, so we can target our activity to the right audience groups. This way, we can ensure we’re driving footfall into our branches, traffic to postoffice.co.uk or the travel app.
Are we doing anything differently?
We’re moving towards promoting our Travel Essentials as one set of services which includes our full range of products like Travel Money, Travel Money Card, Travel Insurance, Passport Check and Send and International Driving Permits.
We’ve looked at ways we can try to make our in-branch and online customer offer stand out. We’re offering customers a free gift (choice of sun tan lotion or £10 Amazon voucher) with every Travel Insurance policy in branch, once they’ve bought Travel Money or a Travel Money Card, renewed their passport or applied for an International Driving Licence – while on our travel app, we’re testing the 25% discount on travel insurance.
This approach is already delivering results in branch. In the first 20 days since postmasters and their teams have been promoting the offer, we’ve sold 2,750 travel insurance policies with the promo code.
We’re also supporting Pride this year as part of the campaign. Our customers and community are really diverse and we want to make sure everyone feels welcomed to Post Office. So you will see some Pride messaging in some of our marketing.
We’re also creating materials for the LGBTQ+ community, and, where appropriate, we’re targeting people travelling abroad to pride events with relevant content and encouraging participation in our social media competitions.
I’d also like to thank all our postmasters and their teams out in the network, as the success of the campaign relies on them really getting behind it and supporting it in branch. Here’s hoping for a great summer.
And, we’d love to hear feedback on the marketing campaign. Let us know what you think in the comments below.