If you have been following me for a while you will know that I am incredibly passionate about the representation of plus size people in travel marketing. Whether it’s their websites, their social media or their influencer campaigns – my research has shown that brands feature little to no plus size people in their marketing materials.
Whilst it may seem as though it’s unimportant, they’re effectively excluded one of the biggest markets in the UK.
According to a report by the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 63% of the UK is considered plus-size. With over 50% of the UK population being excluded from travel marketing completely, imagine the difference it could make if they start to cater to this audience too.
Although a lack of representation doesn’t influence everyone’s decision to book a holiday or go on a trip, a large portion of the 63% will be too scared or anxious to travel due to the fact they don’t recognise themselves in any of the marketing materials. If they can’t see someone they relate to, they will feel as though the experience will not cater to them.
For those with confidence issues, it can put them off travelling altogether.
Whilst there is A LONG way to go before any changes happen, I wanted to put together a guide for travel brands, showing them the small changes they can start to make in order to be more inclusive of plus size travellers.
Feature Plus Size Travellers on All of Your Social Media Channels
One of the most common forms of marketing is social media, especially when it comes to travel. With brands featuring photos of stunning destinations and beautiful travellers enjoying their own adventure, no one ever thinks to use a photo created by a plus size traveller.
As part of the plus size travel community I know that there are THOUSANDS of amazing photos out there that can be used, so why aren’t travel brands using them? Whether it’s not being able to find them or being too scared to post them, this is an easy first step to take.
When it comes to finding photos of plus size travellers in gorgeous destinations, you can search the popular #plussizetraveltoo, #fatgirlstravelling, #fatmentravelling, #fatgirlstraveltoo, #plussizetravel and #travelinclusivityhashtags. Save a few of your favourites and spread them out throughout your regular content.
Include Information That Will Be Useful to Plus Size Travellers on Your Website
There is a real shortage of information available when it comes to plus size travel, so featuring this on your website could be incredibly helpful to potential customers. Whether it’s details about the location of the hotel or the weight-limits for local activities – plus size people need this information too. Whilst I understand this information may be hard to find, to begin with, it only needs to be a couple of sentences in order to make a difference.
Offer Extra Advice to Plus Size Travellers Who May Be Concerned
If you’re unable to find any information that would help plus size passengers, you may want to include on your website that they’re able to contact you should they have any concerns. Whether its concerns surrounding the size of the seats on the plane or whether or not they’re going to be too big for the hotel beds – you need to be able to give them as much advice as you possibly can.
Use Plus Size Models in Your Video Shoots
One of the main things I noticed when researching travel marketing videos was that everyone looked the same. All of the families were same-sex, white, slim and very very happy. Whilst this may be the easier choices when it comes to casting, it definitely is representative of everyone who likes to travel. When you next go to film a campaign, consider casting plus size models in your videos. Not only will they resonate with more people, but they will show that yes, plus size people do travel too.
Use Plus Size Models in Your Campaign Photos
Similar to the above, casting plus size models in your campaign photos is another easy step to take. There are LOTS of incredible plus size models out there so when it comes to shooting, there really is no reason why they can’t be included too. We like to sunbathe, we like to swim, we like to hike and we definitely like to travel too.
Consider the Stock Imagery That You Use
After carrying out my research I had a lot of brands reach out to me to say that when it comes to imagery, they use stock sites in order to save money. Whilst I understand it’s a cost thing, there are also stock image sites out there that are designed to be more inclusive. Consider setting a higher budget and using these options instead.
Feature Plus Size Influencers in Campaigns and on Press Trips
With the rise of bloggers and influencers, press trips are becoming more and more common. Whilst this is amazing for the travel industry, each and every press trip is starting to look exactly the same. There is never any diversity and with so many incredible plus size content creators out there, they should be considered for campaigns too.
When putting your potential list of attendees together, make sure you’re looking at a mix of different people. Search popular travel hashtags to find people that align with your brand’s core values, ensuring you’re representing a wide range of target audiences as you do.
Show A Wide Representation of People When It Comes to Your Brochures
As mentioned above, the imagery that you use is important. Although brochures are not as common as they used to be, they still need the same amount of care and attention other aspects of your business do.
Consider How You Can Be More Accommodating to Plus Size Travellers
Finally, it’s important you’re considering how accommodating your business is to plus size travellers. Whether it’s the size of the seats on your plane or the information you provide, catering for the 63% should be your main priority. Whilst I understand it’s going to take a long time to make any major changes, the amount of difference it could make could be an INCREDIBLE opportunity for your business.
In reality, these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. For more information about how you can become a plus size inclusive travel brand, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have or book a consultation over at firstname.lastname@example.org.