The headline of this piece might be a bit misleading as it references affluent travelers, and I am going to tell you a personal story. I’m not exactly an affluent traveler, but bear with me while I paint you a picture. It’s a cold night in Boston in December, and I am at a fundraising event for a wonderful local organization.
This is an organization that provides toys to many kids in the Boston area who otherwise would go without. As I surveyed the many items up for auction, one caught my eye. It was a picture of a fabulous, exclusive resort in the Caribbean. I hadn’t really planned to buy a vacation package that night but my husband and I had been talking for a while about taking a nice mid-winter trip. The pictures were downright tantalizing. I was in the holiday spirit and the best part of all was that I knew that the money that I would spend on this vacation package would go to providing kids with Christmas presents. It really was a no-brainer.
How did this amazing item find its way into this auction? Resorts can donate vacation experiences to benefit nonprofits’ online charity auctions. The online auction community is an affluent, cause-minded group of shoppers who like to travel and are happy to bid on a vacation knowing the funds will be supporting a good cause. At least that’s how it worked for me. But how can online charity auctions become a meaningful marketing channel for luxury properties?
Luxury resorts rely on repeat business from their loyal, affluent customers who return year after year for an incredible vacation experience. Attracting these travelers to a property for the first time requires an innovative approach and marketers are finding just that in the online charity auction marketplace. Here’s why it works.
1. Drives consumers to the property. Luxury resorts are confident in their ability to deliver an unforgettable vacation experience. These resorts are eager to attract new visitors and get them onsite to experience the property. Once a traveler has had a positive experience at the property, they are more likely to become a returning visitor who will vacation there year after year.
Properties located in remote areas find online auction donations a particularly valuable way to attract new affluent visitors. Palm Island Resort in the Grenadines, where I visited, routinely donates vacation packages into charity auctions. The property is exclusive and despite its location in a quiet corner of the Caribbean, as much as 80% of the resort’s guests are returning visitors. The auction strategy works: in exchange for one donated getaway package, the resort often earns a loyal customer.
2. Delivers a strong consumer demographic. Online auction shoppers, or Charitable Commerce Consumers as we like to call them, are a qualified, educated, and affluent group that has financially competed to experience a vacation property. These vacationers typically arrive having researched the venue, location and nearby attractions, shops and restaurants they plan to patronize during their stay.
The Royal Aloha Vacation Club has been participating in charitable auctions online for years because they enable the resort to reach vacationers who are interested in visiting timeshare properties. In the process, Royal Aloha has also helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for worthy causes with their vacation donations.
3. Reaches consumers through their trusted schools and causes. Online charity auctions are a unique channel that reaches affluent audiences through causes that matter to them, which leads to a much more pleasant experience for the vacationer and an increased likelihood of a return visit for the resort.
The Hacienda Tres Rios resort also regularly donates vacations to connect with consumers. With as many as 30 vacations up for bid at any given moment, we work with the resort to place their vacation packages in auctions that support a variety of causes, including education, human services, the arts, and animal welfare.
By donating into online charity auctions, luxury properties are able to effectively market to an affluent demographic while also doing their part to be good corporate citizens. So whether you are a cause-minded consumer who loves to travel or a luxury property looking to bring new consumers to your resort, the charity auction market may just prove to be the ticket.