Marketing in the travel industry presents unique challenges, as well as great opportunities. Travel has grown exponentially over the years as people, specifically millennials, value experiences over things. The digital era has drastically changed the way people plan, and book, their travels. According to Smartinsights.com, about 60% of leisure travelers and 41% of business travelers now book all arrangements online.
Here we explore some of the top trends of 2017 that are shaping the travel marketing industry.
Personalization at your fingertips
Most people nowadays want a completely customized vacation or business trip. In the past, they had to use a pricey travel agency to get that kind of an experience. But now, customers wanting that personalization are willing to give up some privacy in order to do it themselves. You may have heard the term “big data” thrown around before. Big data is very large sets of data that may be analyzed to reveal patterns and trends in a market.
Thanks to more people allowing themselves to be tracked online, marketers can then analyze that data and create highly customized itineraries through virtual travel assistants and other online means. Travelers get overwhelmed with all the options and the unknown. By creating the perfect itinerary options, you will attract a lot more customers to your website and business. Software like Choozle is allowing businesses to have access to this "big data" unlike any time in history.
Social media and review sites
People not only turn to social media for travel inspiration, but for answers to very specific questions and destination information. Review sites, like TripAdvisor, offer a myriad of first account testimonials of the exact places and sites that travelers want to visit. Tnooz reports that 70% of travelers look at up to 20 reviews in the planning phase. That is a HUGE number of people. It’s important for businesses and marketers to spend time on social sites and review sites to gain insight on what potential customers are looking for.
Not only should you take in what users are saying they want, but make yourself visible as well. Build out ad campaigns on Facebook driving people back to your site. Encourage your customers to leave reviews of the experience they had with you. All of these tactics will help your travel business thrive in the digital era.
Virtual reality is being used and tested in a multitude of industries for all different types of uses. But the travel industry has huge potential use for the platform. Now people looking to travel can virtually go to the locations they want to visit. If they are trying to decide between a few different destinations, they can use VR to make a decision. Or help them decide which hotel to stay at and which airline will take them to their destination.
The technology is getting more advanced by the year, and is only going to get better and more realistic. It is also becoming more affordable for the average person. Google reports that 58% of travelers want to watch a video of a trip review from an experienced traveler. Virtual Reality takes that one step further. Companies like YouVisit allow brands to create virtual reality experiences.
The experiences over things economy
Millenials parents and grandparents spent money on fine china, silverware, and couches. Millennials spend money on traveling, brunch, and other experience based activities. Now more than ever, people are buying plane tickets instead of expensive dinnerware. That makes this an exciting time to be involved in the traveling world, whether that be in marketing or as a tour operator, airline, hotel, etc.
As a marketer and a business owner, you need to pay attention to what is important to your potential clients and really listen to what they want. Consumer spending is shifting away from buying household goods and moving to experiences. Be willing to pay attention, and you will reap the benefits.
Mobile is shaping the way that jet setters navigate the world. People use their phones to book plane tickets, hotels, check their flight status, and so much more. They can do everything with a touch of a button. This should come as no surprise, but if your business website is not centered around mobile, you will not survive.
One way to be extremely mobile friendly is to create apps that are easily to download and easy to navigate on mobile devices. Surveys find more than half of traveler’s book travel products through the mobile sites and apps of travel agents (Whatech). Companies like BusinessApps can help you create stunning and user friendly designs that are sure to impress even the most savvy users.
Whether you are a tour operator, online travel agency, or hotel, now is a great time to be in business. Cater to your customers and they will reward you with their business time and time again. For help navigating the complex world of travel marketing online, give us a shout.