About Quark Expeditions

Since 1991, Quark Expeditions has specialized in expedition cruising to the Arctic and Antarctica, on small ice-strengthened ships and icebreakers. Quark delivers an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences for travelers by providing the best ships, the largest number of itineraries, unparalleled technical expertise, and passionate staff leadership, for voyages to the Arctic and Antarctica regions.

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Quark partners with WealthEngine to develop more targeted marketing efforts and yields a 20x return on investment through smarter campaigns.

Since 1991, Quark Expeditions has specialized in expedition cruising to the Arctic and Antarctica, on small ice-strengthened ships and icebreakers. Quark delivers an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences for travelers by providing the best ships, the largest number of itineraries, unparalleled technical expertise, and passionate staff leadership, for voyages to the Arctic and Antarctica regions.

The Challenge

The luxury travel industry presents companies with a challenging customer demand: travelers are looking for extraordinary experiences delivered to them with exceptional service. Quark has to navigate through this challenge, as well as a few other difficult ones:

  • The typical selling cycle of a customer is longer the Quark than with most travel companies, with the average time between initial interest to booking about 3-5 years.
  • Most of Quark’s customers only take one Polar trip in their lifetime; only about 10% of customers return for a second arctic vacation.
  • Taking a Polar expedition is a major financial and time investment, making it a significant proposition for buyers.
  • Quark is not only competing with other companies specializing in Polar travel, but they are also competing with those serving all adventure travel, or even a resort trip to Mexico or a summer in Europe.
  • Customers are changing – the people that may have taken these trips 25 years ago are not the same as those today, so it has become more challenging to find those who will convert.

With all of these challenges, understanding more about their prospects’ wealth and affinities is extremely important for Quark to help them better target their marketing and sales efforts.

The Solution

Rachel Hilton, Quark’s Vice President of Customer Experience, engaged with WealthEngine due to her experiences from a previous career role. She has a nonprofit background and was familiar with using WE in the fundraising space. After looking into the problem more, Rachel realized that there was an opportunity to append relevant wealth and lifestyle attributes from WE onto her own internal database in order to develop a target profile and find better prospects.

Quark engaged WealthEngine in multiple phases. The goal of the first phase was to develop recommendations for how to target new prospects. The WE team performed a detailed analysis of the customer base. Quark’s entire customer database was screened and appended with WE’s consumer database of over 240 million individuals. Over 1500 attributes were analyzed, including demographic, lifestyle, career, wealth, and philanthropic factors. From this analysis, WE identified a custom segment that best characterized the customers most likely to engage with Quark.

Using this information, WealthEngine performed the second phase, delivering an email campaign to a qualified prospect audience based on the aforementioned analysis of consumer wealth, demographics, and lifestyle data.

The goals of the campaign were as follows:

  • Communicate with a specific potential prospect
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Facilitate the increase of traffic to the Quark website
  • Generate potential leads
  • Support the conversion of prospects

A total of six touches were deployed throughout the year as part of the campaign. Because Quark was able to utilize WealthEngine’s comprehensive data set, they were able to target individuals that best fit their ideal profile through WE’s prospecting solutions. This meant that they didn’t waste time marketing to those unlikely to convert, and instead, focused their efforts on those that were most likely to drive bookings.

Results

WealthEngine’s analysis helped to shift Quark’s planning and strategy. Now that they had a better picture of their best customers, they could better segment their prospect base and build out a comprehensive strategy. Hilton explains, “We used our target profile to better adapt our messaging and become more tactical with our marketing efforts.”

Quark saw a positive impact using the analysis performed by WealthEngine. Some of their most significant results include:

  • Understanding that their target customers were older, high net-worth individuals with discretionary income who have shown affinities to travel, outdoor leisure, and cold-weather activities.
  • Executing five email campaigns and one direct mail piece, directly focused on these target profiles as the foundation.
  • Obtaining 77 new bookings as a result in the campaign, driving a 20x return on their investment with WE!
  • Increasing the speed at which customers are converting and flowing through their buying journey – by targeting individuals who are able to purchase.

Next Steps

Quark has not only seen outstanding results from their email campaign, but they have also gained invaluable insights from WealthEngine’s profile of their customer base. They are using this analysis to help with other marketing initiatives, such as lead generation and brand strategies. The biggest value add for Hilton has been the outstanding results of this initial campaign. “I have been impressed with the accuracy of WealthEngine’s data and the impact targeted prospecting has yielded,” says Hilton.

Quark’s efforts have been recognized and shared across the other family companies within the parent TUI AG group. Hilton says, “We are in a position where we can share marketing best practices. We’ve let all of our sister companies know about WealthEngine and the results you can get from targeted marketing efforts.”

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