travel marketing trends

April 7, 2016

We were fortunate enough to attend the Mumbrella Travel Marketing Summit in Sydney, with fantastic presentations from a number of speakers and panels.

Here are our take outs from the day, exciting stuff!

travel spending trends

As far as marketing spend, SEM was the big trend for a while, then as competition increased etc. social became the next focus, and now programmatic, which currently makes up 15% of digital spend in the travel industry.

Although that said, there is still a divide. For example the CEO of Carat and Dentsu Aegis, explained they are aiming for 100% digital by 2020, but the head of marketing for APT said they are finding that print does still work and they plan to continue using it.

In surveys, 40% of travellers said that they still prefer print over digital when planning a holidays, however this is mainly the older demographic.

Paid social marketing is still growing though, more so than SEM, as it is more cost effective, the targeting is often more accurate, and the creative limits are usually more flexible (eg. combination of image + text, not just an image ad).

Although Facebook is more expensive than it has ever been before, it is still proving to be better value and allows better targeting than any other platform.

In Australia, the two biggest areas for online spend in the digital landscape are travel and gambling, compared the USA, where it’s automotive and pharmaceutical.

The Australian tourism industry is currently worth $94 billion, and expected to reach $120 billion by 2020. The biggest contributor to this growth is China, followed by the US.

travel desires and trends

Unique experiences are very popular, one-offs and exclusive products are trumping cliché and typical travel experiences. People love brag factor. This also places a high focus on personalization, eg. a hotel chain remembering what kind of pillow you prefer, or your favourite cuisine.

A big factor in the desire for unique experiences is bragging factor, which is being amplified via social media

Ego-driven travel is a very big thing, and the days of having to invite your friends over to show them your holiday snaps are long gone.

Another popular desire from travellers is to ‘live like a local’ wherever they go. They want to be submerged in local life and experience it, not just spectate.

Food & wine has been steadily gaining popularity as a reason for travel, and Tourism Australia has jumped on board and focused on this to raise the profile for Australian cuisine.

Some examples of what they have done:

  • Inviting 86 influencers from around the world to a fancy dinner party, resulting in great social exposure. 
  • Inviting Noma to run a pop-up restaurant in Sydney for 10 weeks, with a focus on using local Australian ingredients in the menu, highlighting our produce. 
  • Creating pop up restaurants in the UK, serving Australian food.

Interesting fact about tourism in Australia: We over-deliver. Visitors come here expecting less of an experience than they receive. Unlike Hawaii, where people arrive experience more and end up disappointed.

marketing and technology trends

Virtual reality and 360 video are both about to take off in a big way. Check out the Tourism Australia website for a great example of 360.

Both systems are riding on the coat-tails of computer gaming. If it weren’t for gaming neither would be developing as fast as they are, but as they are already on way to becoming commonplace, they will feature heavily in marketing.

At least 10 major camera manufacturers will have 360 cameras out by Christmas this year. Platforms such as Facebook have already begun rolling out 360 features.

People need to stop thinking about virtual reality as being the cliche clunky headset. It will be a much more immersive experience, with video walls, sensors that will pick up your hand gestures in the air, etc. It won’t be long before households have walls made of screens.

Mobile use has now overtaken desktop use in many industries, travel being one of them. Internet use is not the only thing to consider, but also apps, which are growing fast.

Apps need to be of high quality though! User experience (UX) is everything and expectations are high. The popularity of apps is no longer a huge range of semi-decent products, but a smaller pool of widely used ones.

TV advertising is going to have a comeback, as a result of digital TV. As more people have switched to subscription based services instead of typical free-to-air, the profiling, targeting, and accuracy/relevance of ads is improving fast, and provides a much more effective means of advertising compared to traditional TV.

social media as a useful tool

Social media thrives on natural content, and these days, the user is often a better marketer than you! A great product and good service comes first.

Great creative will usually perform better than great targeting and relevancy, so while having highly targeted posts and ads and so on are vital, it is the really good content that drives social interest and engagement.

Facebook ‘Canvas’ is about to take off in a really big way. 

Even though Facebook is saturated with ads, pushing for sales is ok, as long as the ads are relevant and offering something good value etc.

A guide to social media success = truthfulness first, then transparency, then technology.

Businesses need to be honest and clear about what they offer before focusing on fancy marketing software or apps etc.

While great on its own, social media is always most effective when combined by hype from other avenues. Here’s an example of a great social media campaign:

When P&O had 5 ships in the harbor, they had 12 staff members in a room from 5am to midnight working on social media for the day. This was copywriters, video editors, decision makers, and so on. Staff would create content including text, photos, videos. They would also reply and engage with celebrities who were on board, as well as other people posting on social media. This level of activity got them trending in first place on both Facebook and Twitter for the day.

If you’d like help building your travel brand and growing your business, we’d love to hear from you.  Give us a call!

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