Hit TV drama Squid Game can inspire agents’ marketing, according to speakers at the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers (ATAS) conference.
The South Korean show has become the most watched programme on the Netflix streaming platform, surpassing the success of period costume drama Bridgerton.
Steve Rushton, founder of Travel Marketing Systems, told delegates: “Why is it so successful? It is not random.”
He explained how the South Korean government launched a plan 30 years ago to make the country into a ‘soft power’, to become a global cultural influencer – a strategy that has helped the success of Squid Game and Oscar-winning film Parasite.
“The relevance [to agents] is planning – stop random acts of marketing and make a plan,” he told the conference in Birmingham on Wednesday.
He advised agents to improve their online presence, noting that 81% of ATAS agents did not mention touring or adventure on their websites.
For social media, he suggested focusing on Facebook and Instagram, and said email marketing can be more effective and targeted.
Donna Jeavons, UK and EU sales and marketing director at The Travel Corporation, also cited the success of TV shows as she offered delegates tips about marketing.
She advised agents to look outside the travel industry for inspiration, and tap into trends such as Squid Game and Bridgerton.
“There are now tours based on Bridgerton. They are different, fun, relevant and quirky,” she said.
She agreed that planning a marketing strategy was important, urging agents to look at regular dates on the retail calendar – such as Christmas, winter breaks and cyber weekend.
“These are themes that you can plan for each year,” she told the conference.
Ant Stone, EMEA marketing director at G Adventures, also advised agents to look beyond the travel sector for examples of marketing to follow.
“Look at the automotive sector and how they are selling cars,” he said.
“Holidays cost about $2,500; they are a highly considered purchase, so consumers need to look at a lot of details and reviews.”