Industry Mashup: Genealogy x Travel

genealogy and travel symbolInterested in exploring your genealogy? If so, you join over 12 million people who have had their DNA tested and analyzed via a direct-to-consumer DNA kit. Ancestry.com and 23andMe lead the way in helping people connect their family trees and possibly connect with family members. While these new relationships start online, they have quickly expanded to in-person, out-of-state or out-of-country visits to learn more.

Due to this rapid growth and dedicated interest, time, and investment, it’s not such a stretch to see the crossover with the travel industry. For some, DNA may reveal relatives that live within driving distance. For others, it could mean a trip around the world. This “thematic travel” or “genealogical adventurers” as coined by Go Ahead Tours is allowing people interested in exploring their ancestry to receive a richer, more immersive experience.

Who else should be interested?

Any hotel, airline, tour group, or member of the hospitality industry who has been searching for ways to provide a more personalized experience. It doesn’t get much more personal than connecting with others who share your DNA.

However, before jumping on the travel and genealogy crossover trend, think of it makes sense for your brand. How can you uniquely deliver customization to your audience and encourage sharing within the community?

Make It Visually Appealing

Start with making your messaging look good visually. Currently, the most popular medium is Instagram, but these images can be repurposed for video, emails, and brochures to encourage people to book their next trip. 

The growing number of people who are interested in tracing their genealogy is nothing compared to the number of people who are interested in travel. Whether this means frequent travel or seeking more opportunities for travel, there are entire sub-groups for the different types of trip itineraries available. This is a good way to show beautiful landscapes rather than tell about them. It builds interest for an audience already interested in travel, but also creates interest for the group who wants to trace their genealogy but not as currently invested in planning trips.

Customization, Customization, Customization

People who seek connection to their roots aren’t likely looking for a generic, tourist experience. They may be interested in those types of trips at another point in their life, but when you mix the two together – genealogy with travel wants – it’s important to help create a customized itinerary.

There are several ways to achieve this. Create a quiz to find out what options appeal to this specific audience the most. Include a sample trip itinerary as the call-to-action output upon completion. Another way to support personalization is to host open houses talking about the different trip experiences. These can be as simple as a visual presentation to as detailed as serving food from the region and guest speakers who have first-hand stories to share. The opportunities are endless when you maximize the connection you have with the person who is planning their trip.

Cross-Promote with Sponsored Content

Work with other brands or influencers to achieve the same goal. With regards to the 23andMe sync with Ancestry.com, how can you use this type of cross-promotion to provide content relevant to a new or broadening audience? There are a number of ways to create unique, sought-after opportunities that will benefit more than one brand. Unique content is always a source of value and is created through blog contributions, video, customized packages, and more.

Speak to the Experience

The newest generation, Gen Z, has highlighted the fact that experiences help seal the deal for them when it comes to travel. Research has shown they value human connections and unique experiences the most when choosing where to take their next trip. Digitally speaking, they are well-connected and look for messages at a variety of touchpoints. Yes, they like Instagrammable moments, but they want to see (via video), learn (via online reviews and testimonials), and get a feel for what the actual experience delivers.

Making the leap from reviewing data to understanding what the data shows is a challenge for any marketer; even more so now as buying habits and trends are in a constant state of flux. Always pinpoint why a person is interested in a product, brand, or service. This will help to identify how to support that interest and help it grow.

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