Changes in attitude

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Three generational planning strategies for long-term success

by Tamara Baldanza-Dekker

A smart business positions itself for success by being multi-generational and thoughtfully finding ways to engage with a wide, diverse audience. Brands that want to build a lasting footprint – ones that won’t be washed away with the tide – need to know what they’re all about, infuse it into everything they do, and exceed all expectations in the process. That’s no easy task. We’ve worked hard to translate our authentic Margaritaville lifestyle into hotels, resorts, vacation homes, active adult communities, and consumer products, and we’ve continued to grow while staying true to our core. Here are some lessons we learned along the way that may help other properties achieve similar results.

1. EXPAND YOUR TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC

Any brand that fails to continually recognize and serve new target demographics is destined for stagnation, and in today’s ever-evolving landscape, it’s necessary to pinpoint your brand’s identity and find a way to deliver it in a way that’s relevant to tomorrow’s travelers.

The song “Margaritaville” has been the soundtrack to family vacations for more than 40 years, which gives us an inherent following of people who grew up listening to Jimmy Buffett and know his lyrics backward and forward. But instead of stopping there, we’ve intentionally attempted to tap into the feeling of escapism explored in the song’s lyrics. And continuing with the theme of expanding the target demographic, we recently launched Margaritaville University, an ambassador program that brings the Margaritaville lifestyle to college campuses across North America, and we have experienced unprecedented success with our active adult communities.

The ways of expanding a target demographic are endless. This could mean a massive undertaking like branching into new geographic locations or it could be something less drastic like expanding your hotel’s presence on the web.

2. EXPAND YOUR HORIZON

As you build your portfolio, be sure to explore unexpected coordinates. With a presence in different types of locations, you’ll tell your story in fresh and exciting ways while attracting new travelers in the process. If you’ve been successful with beach resorts, consider branching out to the mountains, the streets of NYC, or lakeside. Or, bring your brand to a surprising location like a cruise ship or airport terminal. As you test these changes in scenery, it’s important to remain authentic and true to your DNA while creating a unique, diverse footprint. In Margaritaville, for example, we strive to consistently deliver memorable service, signature design elements, and fun, regardless of the latitude. With more places to vacation and mix business with pleasure, guests will be happier, resulting in increased overall satisfaction and loyalty.

3. EXPAND YOUR OFFERINGS

To ensure longevity, there is a lot that brands can do to diversify their actual product offerings. It isn’t just about being in unique locations; it’s about expanding your offerings and amenities in those locations.

We like to say that Margaritaville is a way of living – with a product for those who want to stay for a night, a week, or forever. By expanding our offerings, we have private vacation homes available to own or rent because there is a demand to permanently live in a vacation state of mind. And to complement our growing collection of hotels and resorts, we entered the upscale select-service hotel market with COMPASS. People want options and adding new extensions of your brand gives this freedom to your guests.

Once your guests arrive, it’s important to cater to all ages with creative and engaging activities. Think about amenities like kids’ clubs, spas, adult-only pools for parents to sneak away to, and entertainment the whole family can enjoy. By creating spaces where people of all ages can come together, relax, and have a good time, you ensure your brand will maintain its appeal.

When it comes down to it, people pass on the traditions of the brands they connect with most. Be the brand people want to talk about with a smile and then give them plenty to share.

Tamara Baldanza-Dekker is the chief marketing officer of Margaritaville Holdings. She began her 20-year career with Margaritaville in operations and today oversees all branding, marketing, PR, content, and digital initiatives for the company’s dynamic portfolio. This includes hotels, resorts, active adult communities, restaurants, vacation ownership properties, consumer products, casinos, the college ambassador program, and more. To learn more, visit www.margaritaville.com.

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