Around 29 percent of Americans took their summer vacation in the month of June, making it one of the busiest times of the year for travel marketers. But how can digital marketing directors compete with their rivals and attract more prospective travelers? Here are some of the hottest travel marketing trends right now.
1. More DMOs Invest in Social Media Marketing
As a whole, travel marketers spend 23 percent of their digital ad budgets on Instagram and Facebook, according to research from the Sojern State of the Travel Advertising Industry 2019 report. Moreover, 55 percent of travel marketers plan to increase their social ad spend this year.
Destination marketing organizations (DMOs), in particular, are using digital advertising to engage prospective travelers and convert them into paying customers. Digital channels like Facebook and Instagram allow DMOs to showcase local travel experiences through photos and videos. Much of this content is user-generated: Travelers upload their travel experiences to social media, and DMOs curate these visuals for their website galleries.
"Social advertising platforms add context to images through Instagram Stories, video, or even geo-tagging locations — providing a more unique, inspirational experience for the traveler as they dream," says PhocusWire.
2. Generation Alpha Influences Travel Decisions
You've heard of Generation X and millennials, but what about Generation Alpha? This demographic (born after 2010) are more tech-savvy than any previous generation. Travel marketers should take note of this age group — they are already influencing travel decisions.
Generation Alpha favors fun, according to research from Skift. Seventy-four percent of them enjoy theme parks and attractions, 67 percent seek out water activities, while 55 percent like outdoor activities.
Although Generation Alpha doesn't have the money to make travel decisions, they certainly influence them. Sixty-four percent of parents in Skift's study say their children have a say when it comes to choosing travel destinations.
When thinking about the mix of visuals for your next marketing campaign, consider what kind of demographic you want to attract.
3. Large, Multi-Day Tour Operators Don't Need to Fear Airbnb Adventures
Airbnb Adventures, which combines accommodation with group trips, has got tour operators talking. When Airbnb launched this new initiative last month, tour operators wondered if they had new competition.
But travel experts say tour operators shouldn't worry, as the platform is more of a distribution platform for small operators that have websites and run tours.
“They are not real destination experts. They are travel companies who are digitalizing the distribution and access of travel services or products in an easy, digestible, and associative way,” says Oscar Lopera, general manager of group services at Diethelm Travel Group.
Tour and activity operators should focus on the things that separate them from Airbnb Adventures in their digital campaigns—value and experience, for example.
4. Luxury Hotel Chains Are More Likely to Use Social Media Video Ads Than Homeshares
Recent research reveals that luxury hotel chains are far more likely to use social media video ads to advertise their services than homeshare companies. In fact, 71 percent of luxury hotel chains utilize YouTube alone.
Cheaper hotels and homeshares should realize the benefits of social media video ads in order to stay competitive. Videos are one of the most powerful ways to attract prospective travelers and showcase destinations.
- More DMOs are investing in social media marketing, especially on Facebook and Instagram. User-generated content, in particular, provides them with a significant ROI.
- Generation Alpha (people born after 2010) are influencing their parents' travel decisions.
- Airbnb Adventures doesn't offer the value or experience of reputable tour operators, say travel experts.
- Hotel luxury chains are more likely to use social media video ads than cheaper hotels and homeshares, despite the benefits of video ads.