Party like POTUS

The Smart, the Exclusive, the Political in Election-Themed Vacation Packages

“Escaping the election” is a dream that only a lucky few, completely disconnected individuals can take advantage of. However, marketers in the travel and tourism industry are taking advantage of the timing. Relevance is a key component to winning the head space of today’s consumers, who average an attention span of eight seconds (source: NYTimes). In the travel industry and in our evolving culture, taking advantage of micro-moments — like the election — is vital to staying top of mind.

Today, the news cycle is mostly consumed by the upcoming presidential election and must-see-TV debates. Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of political advertising (and controversy coverage) they face at home, at work and on the road. No wonder companies are taking advantage of this opportunity to help consumers escape all the mud-slinging.

Election-themed packages are not new — like the candidates, destinations and hotels must push the limits to rise above the clutter, encouraging Americans to flee the noise and head to greener pastures by offering experiences in the homeland to kick back. The most effective themed packages offer something beyond lip service. For some inspiration in earning the voter’s ballot, check out these four themes from marketing leaders in American politics:

  1. Be a part of the movement — Vote! JetBlue’s brilliant “Election Protection” campaign in 2012 gave away one free ticket to a lucky passenger if their party didn’t win. Travelers came to JetBlue’s “election headquarters” to cast their votes; if their party lost, they were entered to win a free ticket “out of here.” JetBlue’s larger message of “Get out and vote” truly resonated and earned unprecedented media coverage.
  2. Improve your health — In a recent study (September 2016), the Washington Times reports that “the combination of election and nonstop media attention [is] a ‘life stressor’ with serious physical effects.” Symptoms may include “increased blood pressure, fluttering heartbeats, headaches, nausea and other telltale symptoms of ‘election-related stress.’ Seek relief through less exposure to news coverage and social media.” You know what that means — a good excuse to kick back. The Colonnade Hotel in Boston, Mass., plays to this opportunity with a perfect combination of double-entendres and deep discounts, plus a promise for serious stress relief. Their #MakeVacationGreatAgain package includes “bipartisan, YUGE” savings sent to their guests’ “private email servers.”
  3. Lesson along the Road to the White HouseThe New York Times prepared two elaborate packages as part of its “Journeys” segment, taking a look at this election and looking forward to what our future holds, as well as providing an overview of U.S. and Mexican relations. The first package offers exclusive access to a panel of White House correspondents and former candidate strategists, with behind-the-scenes access to the Capitol Building, Politico and the Department of State for lessons about the impact of media in the election and international relations. The second takes guests through an exploration of food and culture, but also reviews the political controversy from the Mexican perspective.
  4. Go Big or Go Home — Party like POTUS this inauguration day in our nation’s capital. According to Travel Weekly, hospitality in D.C. offers nothing short of luxurious luxe when our new president is finally elected. Confidence in your party — and deep pockets — is an understatement when you consider the W Washington D.C. inauguration experience…for a mere $500 Gs. It’s been reported that when POTUS goes on vacation, so do 200 of his closest staff. And this inauguration package includes just that — a private ball for 250 of your closest friends on the hotel’s rooftop, which comes with a view of the White House and unlimited Veuve Clicquot.

The lesson here is that whether creating a conservative package or a liberal excursion, find a way to cut through the noise. Because there’s an awful lot of that right now, in themed vacations and political BS.