Podcast - Travel Marketing Trends 2019
December 1, 2018
“Today’s travelers want to make their own path and find their own hidden treasures and make their own experiences. Marketers need to recognize that insight and act upon it.”
Listen as Slingshot Senior Digital Strategist Donnie Hogan and VP Marketing David Coats break down five of the big trends that will impact travel marketers in 2019.
On the rise of “experiential travel”
“Technology continues to evolve every day, and as a byproduct the way that we plan for travel continues to change as well. There are more options and it’s just more fun to be part of that experience. There’s a huge opportunity for travel brands to recognize that and say that this traditional, linear process of planning a trip can now be part of the overall brand experience.”
“DMO’s and CVB’s who derive their revenues from hotel taxes may look at the Air BNB’s of the world as a threat, but what they can learn from them is valuable as well, because they’re creating experiences online that people are drawn to. It doesn’t have to be the big dogs that are creating that opportunity for visitors.”
"It’s important to identify when brands can engage with potential travelers all throughout the journey, and also isolating those moments to understand how the role of communications should change based on the experience that they’re having at that time to ultimately motivate them to act."
On the importance of user-generated content
“What you’re seeing now is user generated content rising to the brand level where they’re actually leading with it, and the more professional, slick, fancy photography and visuals are falling by the wayside for the things that real people are creating themselves.”
“The way that technology is evolving, another byproduct of that in travel is we’ve got really high-quality products to take those pictures and to take those videos. Cell phone are so advanced now that as long as you’re pretty good at framing… you can put together some pretty high-quality content.”
“Another thing that comes across to the end user is just the authenticity of that content. You can really look at those pictures and see yourself in those destinations a little bit more than with that traditional cookie cutter brand photography.”
“User generated content plays a role from beginning to end in the travel experience these days, and it's the smart brands that are taking advantage of that.”
On using data to create personalized travel experiences
“Brands really just have to start from somewhere. Even is you don't have any information on your end customer at all, I can be as simple as recognizing where that potential traveler is accessing your site via location, or via their mobile phone, or their IP address… so you can vary the experience based on what you know has large impacts.”
“Is the use of that data going to help them create a better experience for the traveler? If so, it’s a good thing. If they’re going to take it and use it in ways that are manipulative or benefit the brand at the expense of the traveler, they want to think twice about it.”
“Even the smallest brands out there can use the data they’re getting to create more curated more, more personalized experiences for people.”
“If you’re on the fence over whether or this sort of strategy or tactic is effective, A-B test it. Run it against what you’re running currently… and see what the results are.”
On how destinations position themselves in surprising ways
"As you see more travel based off of “experiences” as opposed to destination, these destinations have to craft a message that portrays unique experiences coming from that destination. And the ones that able to do it in surprising and even counter-intuitive ways are the ones that are standing out."
“There’s so much noise in the space, (it makes sense to) try something different, turning it into something that’s fresh and engaging and exciting…”
On how travel brands deal with unexpected situations beyond their control
"Whether your destination has been effected by something already or not, it’s no longer a question of “if,” it’s a question of “when,” whether you’re dealing with hurricanes, or you’re dealing with wildfires like they are out in California, so many great, iconic travel destinations out there have had to deal with this."
"We’ve seen instances where tourism is only the challenge, but it’s also the solution to getting revenue ad rebuilding."