Helping a specialist tour operator find the right kinds of customers
Using a combination of data sources, we built the truest representation of Aracari’s target audience – then set out to win new customers.
Aracari Travel is a pioneer of high-end, sustainable travel in South America.
Founded in 1996 by Marisol Mosquera, Aracari was the first travel company to offer luxury travel experiences in Peru, Bolivia and The Galapagos. Marisol was named Condé Nast Traveller’s Top Travel Specialist for Peru and Bolivia, and was also selected by Travel+Leisure as its A-list specialist for Peru and Bolivia.
Today, Aracari draws on an unrivalled network of world-class experts and hand-picked guides, to make every trip a truly bespoke and extraordinary experience – and to give every journey a sense of purpose and adventure.
The brand was doing amazingly well with agents but wanted to promote its culturally immersive tours through web and social content, digital PR – and ultimately, attract more direct bookings.
The direct booking enquiries that were coming in from their lead generation efforts weren’t the right fit for the client. Some people were looking for group tours. Others didn’t have the right kind of budget.
Their marketing clearly wasn’t quite right. It wasn’t attracting the audiences they actually cater to.
We were going to change that.
Results – the highlights
- Brand positioning refined.
- Audience models created, based on ideal customers.
- Identified new, untapped opportunities.
- Insight led to a highly curated customer experience.
- Improved website and social engagement.
The client’s brief was simple – to attract more direct business. This would come from promoting Aracari’s culturally immersive tours, through web and social content, newsletters, and PR.
The key to getting this right was attracting more of the right kinds of leads, and we knew that in order to do that, we’d have to go back to the drawing board on audience research.
Here’s how we did it
Using a combination of data sources, we built the truest representation possible of the client’s target audience – but we started with the client.
First off, we conducted an immersion workshop with the founder to understand exactly what she wanted to achieve.
Everything else would stem from this; because an authentic message is unignorable when it lands with the right target audience. And to understand the authentic heart of the brand, we had to get to know the people behind it.
This part of the work defined the brand messaging that would speak to Aracari’s true audience.
Aracari’s biggest struggle was qualifying leads that weren’t appropriate, before they even got to the sales team.
This showed us what we needed to focus on: positioning their content correctly to the target demographic.
We needed to know what was going on, to evaluate the current state of play. So, we conducted a deep-dive of Aracari’s first-party data, and augmented this with data from third-party tools.
All in all, our research would combine CRM and email data, website analytics, social data, qualitative interviews, and an SEO-driven competitor analysis. From this, we were able to build a complete picture of Aracari’s online audience.
Our team discovered the true target audience: their ideal client wasn’t so much defined by their nationality, household income or other superficial demographics – but by their shared passions and values.
We were able to get insights into what led to a conversion – and what led to a lost sale.
We found out exactly who books their tours, their average spend, and the common questions they would ask the sales team.
Interviews with customers opened a world of qualitative data, which informed the next phases of the process.
With these new insights, we carried out a content audit to find out what kind of content drove business.
We made a priority list of easy wins and low hanging fruit. We used what we’d learned from the interview stage – people’s reasons for booking with the client – to create new content ideas to attract more customers.
In the decades since Aracari had launched, the market for sustainable cultural travel experiences had ballooned. The market was crowded, and newcomers were using technology and data to their advantage.
It was time to level up.
We wanted to understand which brands were in the same space – and doing it well. How were they challenging Aracari’s market position?
The range of competitors we studied was huge; from major international brands to small, on-the-ground operators in the local area. We came out of the analysis with some excellent takeaways – including two major opportunities that drove big search volumes, that none of Aracari’s competitors had yet identified.
The real benefit of this project was helping Aracari to fully understand its audience as well as new opportunities.
It’s allowed the team to refine and fine-tune the customer experience in detail – down to which kinds of snacks to supply for each type of client.
By fully understanding the client’s customers and the way they use their website and social media platforms, and by identifying the intersection of similarities and differences between these two groups, we were able to make accurate content recommendations.
We delivered content ideas that speak to their target audience, and drive searches no matter where in the world they are. We focused not on location demographics, but on interests and passions – because their customers are truly global.
Our research resulted in:
- Core content pillars for messaging.
- Key content changes to the website, blog and newsletters, backed by evidence.
- Social channel recommendations.
Our approach worked quickly. Early month-on-month stats showed a 5% reduction in bounce rate, a 6% increase in all website sessions and a 7% increase in session duration – indicating a highly engaged audience. And all of this despite a highly challenging political climate in Peru in late 2022, which meant travel warnings from governments around the world – and, as a logical result, fewer people searching for trips to Peru. So, imagine the stats when the situation calmed down again.
Aracari continues to reap rewards from this, with an ongoing content plan and a PR strategy aimed specifically at themes that target customers are interested in.
Our content strategy recommended key social media channels to focus on and advised how to speak to their audiences on these platforms – and our PR strategy would reclaim lost links to boost Aracari’s SEO.