Customer Story: Bursch Travel

Selling vacations and experiences in the digital world — how do you do it? As a travel agency, you want to stay relevant and connected to customers. The following content is about providing some clarity with an example of how to market your travel agency, thanks to Gretchen Winters. The success story? Bursch Travel.

Who is Bursch Travel?

Founded by Pete Bursch in 1956 in Alexandria, MN, Bursch Travel sells experiences. Whether you’re planning a trip to Mexico or Venice, the company has consistently provided customers with reliable travel information and service for over 60 years. And in this time, they have grown the business to 18 offices in five states — MN, ND, SD, WY, and NE. Most of the advertising Bursch Travel does is with co-op from their partners. They advertise their products, offers, promos, and destinations.

Bursch Travel logoBursch Travel started as a small business in the days of Greyhound Bus travel, but today they’re able to compete against companies like Expedia, Kayak, and Google Travel. How do they stay competitive?

The answer: by combining traditional and digital marketing efforts to grow their business. It's not just combining, but making them cohesive, too.

A New Partnership

People like to dream. They like to fantasize. Radio is all about theater-of-the-mind; you rule your mindscape. So, for Bursch Travel, who better than local Central Minnesota celebrity influencers, aka, Leighton Media's radio talents, to bring a VIP Experience with Bursch Travel to life?

Way back in 2004, Wild Country 99, a Leighton Media station, approached Bursch Travel to put together a large group trip, with the morning show, to Las Vegas—and they continued to do this for over a decade. Currently, they do a large group trip with JJ and Kat from the KCLD Playhouse to Mexico, dubbed the Playhouse Party Plane to Paradise.

Within the travel industry, there has been a massive swing back to using travel advisors for trip planning. People want guidance. They want expertise on how to experience travel the best way possible.

Travelers are overwhelmed with choices on the internet and want access to value-added benefits. Bursch Travel delivers on these demands and actively promotes all of them in their marketing strategy - travel professionals.

In July of 2019, Bursch Travel expanded their partnership with Leighton Media through the addition of digital marketing services through Leighton Engage. The mission: to continue to define who they are as travel professionals, and to cut through the noise and clutter of the internet.

The Leighton Media Team

Our Account Executive, Amy Foss, has provided exceptional experience to Bursch Travel. Their one-word answer encapsulating her performance. Service.

Amy knows the business and understands what Bursch Travel needs to promote itself and what the company needs on an operational level to increase work efficiency. Amy has worked with them since 2004. So, when Gretchen was looking for a new partner to help with her digital marketing, she turned to Amy.

Kelli Frieler, our Executive Director of Digital, also working with Bursch Travel, was introduced to Gretchen, by Foss, and is focused on the business needs  of Bursch Travel's 18 locations, and how to provide the service to handle those elements. She offers great suggestions and feedback to make the most of their digital advertising.

Traditional Radio + Digital Marketing

For Bursch Travel, digital advertising with Leighton Media combines nicely with traditional advertising efforts because of its ability to support all 18 offices and utilize their co-op funds effectively. The combination of digital advertising plus radio advertising and promotion allows Bursch to both build their brand and meet customers when and where they are seeking information.

Bursh Travel Display Ad ExamplesBursch Travel takes full advantage of the following traditional and digital tactics:

  • Email
  • Targeted Display Advertising
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Radio
  • Television

The Results

Large group vacation destination trips with Bursch Travel and Leighton Media celebrity influencers, are an excellent compliment to targeted digital marketing efforts. With all the buzz and excitement in the listening community around the contesting to win a trip, plus all the on-air conversations about how much fun the trips are, the momentum is nearly unrivaled. They sell out — and they sell out fast. The combination of radio and digital drives results for Bursch Travel and the partnership with Leighton Media + Leighton Interactive makes it efficient.

Digital Ad Campaigns

Over the course of nine months, Bursch Travel ran 19 different display ad campaigns, which generated nearly 6,000 clicks and over 2.2 million impressions.

bursh-travel-resultsThese campaigns targeted a variety of audiences depending on the campaign. For example, the ads reached "Travel Buffs",  or those "In-Market" to go on vacation, or users looking for information about trips and hotels to Disney or Caribbean cruises.

The Future of Bursch Travel

Travel is continually changing. It’s affected by outside elements like weather, media coverage, world governments, the economy — the list goes on and on. Despite this sounding like a negative impact on business, we see an opportunity. Because of a solid marketing plan, Bursch Travel, your local travel professional expert, is positioned for growth through a defined marketing strategy.

"I see our marketing and advertising efforts focus on the benefits of trusting your travel planning to a professional—combining that with the strength of promoting and working with strong vendor partners."

–Gretchen Winters, Director of Marketing for Bursch Travel.

If you are ready to partner with Leighton Media and combine digital efforts to maximize return, just like Burch Travel, then get started.

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