Throughout the year, sales numbers can fluctuate depending on holiday times, seasons, and people’s personal finances. For auto dealerships, this means that being able to sell a vehicle means you have to be able to sell its value throughout the entire year—especially during the slower months.
One way of promoting the value of a product is by having something that adds significant value to it, but doesn’t severely impact your margin. No doubt you know about a few of these, such as cash-back offers, no interest for X number of months or years, and/or covering consumers’ fuel costs for up to a certain value.
All of these are different types of incentives that can help bring a potential customer over the line to an ultimate purchase. That said, these are most often manufacturers’ incentives, with the major downside that all dealers have access to all the same incentives.
As an alternative, has your dealership considered offering travel incentives?
What are travel incentives?
As its name suggests, a travel incentive is an added-value product that helps incentivize potential customers toward a sale. Whether the incentive is a trip to Las Vegas or a luxurious cruise, it ultimately speaks to a base interest that many, if not all, people have: traveling.
Research commissioned by Booking.com found that people love travel so much that 77% of the 17,000 surveyed admitted to booking a holiday purely for a happiness boost. So if you’ve already sold customers on the idea of busying a vehicle but they’re hesitant to complete the transaction, an added travel incentive may just be the key to close the deal.
The following are four reasons why travel incentives may the right value-added sales tool for your dealership.
1. Give an edge over the competition
Often, the promotion of an appealing extra is all that’s needed to bring in more customers. When customers have gone from dealership to dealership and find that you’re offering their ideal vehicle at the same price as a competitor, what are you going to do to secure their business?
In some cases you may be able to drop the price a bit, but sometimes this may not be possible. In the end, if the same price is offered by you and your competitor, a travel incentive can go a long way in earning a sale.
After all, when someone is investing in something as important and costly as a vehicle purchase, a bonus vacation is a very sweet cherry on top. The incentive feels more like a reward than a sales tactic.
2. Make ideal limited-time offers
When you give something good away on an endless basis, eventually it will lose its power. Customers are not going to feel a sense of urgency in buying a car if they know they can get the associated bonus at any time.
That’s why travel incentives are at their most effective and beneficial to your dealership when provided on a limited time frame. Perhaps you can utilize them during historically slower sales months.
3. Help with seasonal slumps
Seasonal slumps can be a real problem for certain businesses, and auto dealerships often feel the pinch during the festive season. If you utilize a travel incentive program correctly, you may find that the prospect of a vacation helps bring people in during such slumps.
For example, Lorensen Auto Group ran a travel incentive campaign after Thanksgiving that focused on “buy and fly.” To ensure that people knew about the campaign, Lorensen ran a variety of ads (such as billboard, radio, and TV) and had the same promotional branding displayed throughout its dealership in Westbrook, Connecticut.
By positioning the campaign as a way for customers to treat themselves to something special during the holiday season, the dealership managed to maintain strong sales in the month of December—and exceeded the preceding December’s performance—a notoriously slow month for many dealerships.
4. Provide long-term PR
One thing you might not have thought of is the fact that travel incentives can lead to long-term PR benefits for your dealership. This comes primarily in the form of customers who purchase a vehicle with a travel incentive attached, and then take and post photos during their vacation while thanking your dealership.
Although not all customers think to do this, many will because they’ll realize why their vacation was possible in the first place. People are not afraid to become spokespeople for businesses, especially if they’ve had a great experience with them. This type of free, long-term PR can do wonders for your dealership and its reputation.
The benefits offered by travel incentives are numerous when complemented by a solid marketing strategy. Whether you market your incentive-based promotion through traditional or online channels, it’s important that people know about the unique product you’re offering.
If this type of strategy sounds like something that would suit your dealership, take the time to further research travel incentives to see what options are out there.
Pav Sangha is the vice president of marketing for Odenza Marketing Group. Since 1998, Odenza has provided car dealerships with premium sales solutions, and has been voted as the number one choice by businesses for travel incentives. To find out more about how we can help you succeed, visit www.odenza.com.