Some like to joke that there are three reasons to be a teacher: June, July, and August. But as someone who works with educators every month of the year, I know better: Teachers love teaching. During the break, some continue to teach children at summer school. Others earn professional development credits. And others use the time to refresh and restore.
To recharge, nothing beats traveling. Last year, nearly nine in 10 educators traveled domestically, and about a half have gone abroad in the past three years. During the summer, teachers have time to scratch their travel itch, and they're often seeking experiences that they can share with students in the fall. We all remember the "What did you do this summer?" question, right? Well, teachers want exciting trips they can talk about, too.
Teachers are also incredibly active socially, both within their schools and online. About 75 percent of teachers visit social media regularly, compared to 67 percent of the general population, according to MDR research. If teachers go on a great trip, plenty of people will hear, see, and read about it.
What's more, educators - a category that includes school administrators and support staff as well as teachers - have a mean combined household income that's about $30,000 higher than the national average. They are highly desirable consumers!
That said, teachers aren't always easy to win over. They're smart, and they do their research. With more than 7 million educators living and working in the U.S., you might think about creating targeted campaigns for educators. If you speak directly to the hearts and minds of teachers, you're bound to increase the likelihood of success. Here are a few approaches you might try:
"Take your kids on an educational vacation."
Teachers spend nine months out of the year educating other people's children. During breaks, they want to take time to learn and explore with their own families. According to MDR's "Teachers as Consumers" report, two-thirds of educators are married, and about half are parents. Framing travel as a learning experience for the family - as well as an opportunity to gather anecdotes to bring back to the classroom in the fall - is a great way to tap into teachers' hunger for knowledge.
Washington, D.C., and Colonial Williamsburg, for instance, are huge attractions for teachers. Try focusing on Capitol Hill, the Smithsonian museums, and other educational attractions. Road trips to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park will tempt teachers. Educators can also gain a wealth of knowledge traveling across Europe.
Teaching from a book is one thing, but teaching from experience is much more rewarding.
"Here's a special discount just for educators."
Many companies - from Staples to Ann Taylor - offer special perks just for educators. These brands recognize the value of teachers as consumers, and travel brands should be no exception. STA Travel, for example, gives teachers exclusive offers on airfare, and Preferred Hotels and Resorts takes 20 percent off of teachers' hotel bills.
In addition to offering discounts, try building travel packages specifically for educators. EF Travel is well-known for providing low-cost trips for young people, and it has established itself in the industry by targeting teachers with stipends and scholarships. CHA Educational Tours also offers a great deal for teachers: Enroll six students, and you travel for free. When crafting a discount for educators, get creative. Think of unique ways your company can showcase a perfect travel opportunity tailored just for them.
"Share to win a vacation."
Teachers love sharing with other teachers and parents. So encourage teachers to share information about your travel programs, and reward them for doing so with referral bonuses, special package deals, or even something they'll be able to use in their classroom in the fall.
For the past few years, Navigator has held a contest seeking travel stories. In return, it has provided the authors of the three best entries with travel vouchers worth more than $1,000. Why not target teachers with a similar kind of contest? Try a role reversal: Assign them an essay on what they did over summer vacation.
"Check out our social media for trip ideas."
Whether they're trading tips with other educators or posting memes about the quirks of life in the classroom, teachers are active online. During the summer, they have even more time to scroll, click, share, and post.
Savvy marketers take advantage of teachers' free time online. CHA Educational Tours, for example, collaborated with WeAreTeachers, MDR's media brand for educator engagement, to create social media content that would hook teachers. CHA's initiative, which included things like a fun quiz to help teachers figure out what European country they should travel to, racked up more than a million impressions among teachers.
Content marketing on social media is one of the best ways to inspire wanderlust. Facebook Live streams, Instagram posts, and Snapchat Stories are all eye-catching ways to show off the exciting destinations your company offers. Instead of settling for stock photos of beaches and buildings in these posts, throw in educational tidbits that will whet teachers' appetite for knowledge.
Put the right initiatives in place now, and your company can catch teachers as they plan their summer vacation. Then, this fall, you'll be able to brag about what you did last summer.