Vacations are always an experience. Leo Le Bon set out to redefine “experience” and jumpstart “adventure travel” when he founded Mountain Travel with Allen Steck and Barry Bishop. Le Bon loved mountain climbing, white water rafting and extreme hiking before these adventures became mainstream and offered vacation packages built around his favorite experiences. But how would the mainstream be enticed to vacation like this when theme parks and camping were the norm? Le Bon asked our PR agency to help craft a creative marketing strategy that would introduce vacations as defined by Mountain Travel and show consumers that anybody could be an adventure traveler. For content development, we offered the experience to both travel writers and consumers alike so that their experiences could be shared in a peer-to-peer fashion in the media. First person accounts of trekking in Nepal or a safari in Kenya went a long way in peaking interest but making Le Bon a focal point also broke down perceptual barriers. Our program effectively asked the question “If this 50-year old man can hike Mount Everest, why can’t you?” The marketing communication highlighted Le Bon’s experiences as a middle-aged traveler taking very interesting trips and challenged people to do the same. And they did. Mountain Travel adventures became a new vacation category and spawned a new era in experiential travel.
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