12/14/15

Could 'Fear' Marketing Improve Sales for Accessible Travel Companies?

One word dominates and colours the views of Companies who do not have access facilities for the disabled, and this word also features extensively in conversation with those that do have access facilities, that word is COMPLIANCE.

What exactly is it about the word Compliance that strikes such fear into the hearts of the many for as members of society we have to be compliant with a myriad of rules and regulations that govern our daily lives? For Companies worldwide the answer generally lies with the bottom line, how much is it going to cost to be compliant and what's the ultimate ROI?

Putting aside the arguments as to why Companies should embrace accessibility in all its forms and contexts can we, as marketeers and owners of Accessible Travel companies turn this 'fear' into a commercial advantage?

Most of the material I have come across over the past 20+ years or so suggests that out and out strong fear marketing strategies (you're "doomed" if you don't type of message) or indeed the opposite strategies of weak fear appeals (it's "possible" you'll be damned if you don't type message) are not as successful as more moderate fear appeals. So what are moderate fear appeals?

The answer appears to lie in source credibility, who is sending the fear message, from where is the message coming from and what is the level of credibility of that source?

A fear message from a travel agent is less likely to have an effect than one offered on a National scale by a known brand name just as individuals stating that access compliance is good for business are less likely to have an impact than if such a message eminated from a respected National Body such as Open Britain, or ONCE in Spain.

So for the Accessible Travel industry 'members' it's all about creating credibility for it's only when credibility exists that voices are heard to any degree and where buyer attitudes can be changed or particularly in the case of Travel Agents, Hotels, and Conference Centres where "seller" attitudes can be changed.

Kotler states "if the fear message is to be effective, the communication should promise to relieve, in a believable and efficient way, the fear it arouses; otherwise buyers will ignore or minimize the threat."

Are we then looking at marketing the wrong way for within the industry we promote the number of people with disabilities, the spending power, the buyer loyalty, no fear message in sight? Perhaps we should be sending the message, 'if you don't make your service accessible you will be admonished severely'?