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A (resort marketing) story about a trip to Telluride.

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As you can imagine, I can get a ton of marketing emails. Especially from resorts.

Those thousands of messages over the years have every offer you can imagine. A quick glance at my inbox and I’m seeing “20% off lodging”, “rates as low as $120/night”, “book online and save 15%”, and “lodging from $109” all within a reasonable drive radius of my house.

Despite a lot of spontaneous travel happening this summer, there’s only one time I can remember actually acting on one these emails.

When we moved to Colorado so I could join Ryan Solutions back in 2011, we realized very quickly that dozens of really cools places sat within 3-4 hours of our home.

Our list was long, but even after a couple of years of these adventures we still hadn’t ventured to the Southwest corner of the state, so we started researching Durango, Telluride, Crested Butte, etc.

And then I got an email from Telluride. The offer inside went as follows.

September Sale 30% off
Come to Telluride and enjoy the last days of summer or the start of fall and receive 30% off select Telluride Resort Lodging vacation rentals. Telluride Resort Lodging offers cozy studios up to six bedroom luxury homes.”

So, we clicked and started searching. Eventually we found a room we liked and booked it.

The Power of Intent
The only difference between that email and the thousands of other emails with nearly identical offers can be summarized in one word: intent.

We were already thinking about coming and showing signs that we intended, sometime or other, to do so.

With that, a message stands out. Without it, the task of creating that intent where there is none is the holy grail of marketing that even the best of us struggle to achieve on any scale with any predictability.

We Already Know
We already know the value of intent, right? It’s the reason abandoned cart campaigns work so well and things like abandoned browse (based on that same concept) are crushing it.

But I think we’re only at the beginning of this journey. I believe there are dozens of other behaviors out there that can highlight who is looking, who is thinking, who is intending, sooner or later, to visit. Your marketing is designed to generate more of these people, but it’s not always designed to talk to them differently once they click.

Take a moment, look at your clicks and analytics and try to tease out this group from the rest. Don’t stop at the obvious stuff, keep digging. I’m going to start writing about this more, but take a second now to get the wheels turning and we’ll regroup in a couple weeks.

Thoughts? Ideas? Feedback? Comments are old-school, click here to grab a 15 minute slot on my calendar and let's chat.

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