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Q&A with APT's Nicola Cook: Capitalising on marketing trends

APT’s head of marketing explains how the operator is putting the Kimberley on the map and provides tips on how travel agencies can capitalise on marketing trends in 2020. 

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Nicola Cook, APT's head of marketing
Nicola Cook, APT's head of marketing
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APT's Nicola Cook: How travel agencies can capitalise on marketing trends

‘Always think with your customer in mind’

How long have you been at APT?


I’ve been working in marketing at APT for nine years and became head of marketing three years ago.


How big is your team?


We are a team of eight, working hard to help our on-the-road business development managers’ team with tools to support their agents. We also undertake marketing activity with our key partners.


Tell us about your career to date


My background is in financial services. I worked at the Post Office on travel money and travel insurance, so there’s a loose tie-in to travel.


What’s been your marketing focus in 2019?


This has been an exciting year for us, most notably in launching a new campaign for the Kimberley in Western Australia.

 

It required us to change our approach; historically we focus on the unique experiences we offer within a destination.

 

The Kimberley is a relatively unknown destination in itself, so we’ve had to focus on getting it on the map.

 

To help drive awareness, we partnered with celebrity chef John Torode, an Aussie who knew of the Kimberley but had never been.

 

We’ve created a series of content videos in which John describes his experiences in the Kimberley and we also have a toolkit available for partners to use. You only need to watch the videos and you’ll be dreaming of a holiday in the Kimberley!


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What have been the campaign’s successes?

Although we are still in the early days of a long campaign, we have seen some encouraging results. Interest in the region is growing and, most importantly, we have shifted the dial in terms of awareness.

 

It’s a real opportunity for agents looking to tap in to the adventure travel trend.

 

Tell us more about your Asia river cruise focus

Our new AmaMekong boasts some of the biggest suites on the Asian waterway.

 

But don’t lose sight of the destination – the beauty of river cruising in Myanmar or on the Mekong provides access to remote areas and rural villages through the heart of the region.

 

For those seeking an authentic insight into local life or a bit of adventure, it’s the combination of sightseeing and a floating boutique hotel that creates a hard-to-beat experience.

 

Horizontal Falls in the Kimberley, Australia
Horizontal Falls in the Kimberley, Australia

Where do you draw inspiration from as a marketer?


At APT I’m blessed to market a product customers love – we have a 98% satisfaction rating. I love to know I’m helping clients find and experience an amazing holiday.

What is APT’s brand ethos?

 

APT is a family-owned firm and has a passion for delivering a holiday experience that’s fit for your own family and friends.

How has the climate changed for marketers since you first started out in travel?


I’ve been in marketing for more than 15 years and things have definitely moved on. Nearly everything is moving to digital now – even traditional channels like TV, radio and outdoor advertising are becoming digital.

What has been your marketing highlight?

I’ve loved working on our Kimberley campaign – I knew very little about the region before I worked here and it has so many unique phenomena.

 

I like to think I’m helping to spread the word about this best-kept secret!

What does the future hold for travel marketing?

Trends in marketing will come and go but having the customer at the heart of everything you do and making decisions with them in mind will keep you in good stead in any environment.

Top marketing tips for agents in 2020?

Always think with your customer in mind. It sounds easy, but we’re biased by virtue of working in the industry. Even better, ask their opinions yourself.

 

Also be clear on what makes you stand out from the crowd; in an uncertain market, it’s more important than ever to give customers a reason to pick you over someone else.

 

Finally, make sure you’re getting in front of the right people. Digital platforms afford some great targeting opportunities.

Little Black Book: APT

Find contacts in TTG's Little Black Book

 

APT

 

River cruise and guided touring expert APT is a family-owned and operated travel company with over 90 years of travel experience.

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