Summer is just weeks away — it's the busiest time of the year for B2B travel and tourism marketers, for sure. Americans made more than 463 million business trips in 2018, with many of the these taking place in the months of June, July, and August. This year, companies like yours can generate a return on marketing spend by paying attention to the latest travel trends. Here are three that you need to know about right now:
1. State Tourism Websites are Booming
Recent research shows that travelers are visiting state tourism websites more than ever before, according to digital marketing agency TwoSix Digital. The state of California's website leads the pack, with more than 7 million visits in the first quarter of this year, followed by the state websites of Florida, Hawaii, and Colorado.
Interestingly, the bulk of visitors to these sites came from mobile devices, not desktops — mobile made up 77 percent of all traffic, to be exact. Many of these visitors are at the "top of the funnel." They are looking for travel destinations but haven't committed to a purchase.
There are two takeaways from TwoSixDigital's data.
First, travelers check out state tourism websites before they visit online travel agencies (OTAs). As a marketer, you should visit these websites and find out what travelers want in a vacation — unusual destinations, secret landmarks, authentic experiences, etc. Use these sites as a starting point for your campaigns.
Many travelers crave experiences over traditional vacations, and the popularity of state tourism websites proves this. Typically, these sites don't list hotels or flight times but experiences that cater to travelers — wine tasting in a Californian vineyard, for example, or horseback riding in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. These experiences should form the bulk of your travel campaigns, not cheap deals or accommodation specs.
The second takeaway from the research is the dominance of mobile. More travelers are planning vacations on their smartphone or tablet and, as a result, you need to incorporate mobile marketing into your campaigns.
It's not just state tourism websites, either. OTAs capture most of their bookings through mobile, according to a separate study.
2. Sedona, Arizona, Markets Itself as a Sustainable Travel Destination
Credit: Sedona, Arizona (photo via Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau.)
The Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau is placing a greater focus on sustainability in its travel campaigns. The Bureau wants to counteract some of the negative aspects of tourism, such as overcrowding and traffic, and market itself as a sustainable travel destination. There will be new visitor experiences that showcase sustainability as a "Sedona value," for example, according to Travel Pulse.
Expect more places to follow Sedona's lead in the coming years. Research shows that 87 percent of Americans want to travel sustainably.
As well as showcasing experiences in your travel campaigns, focus on values — things that travelers care about. This could be sustainability, like in Sedona's marketing drive, or community, faith, or education.
There has been a shift in both consumer and business travel in recent years. At one time, travelers cared about monetary value — vacations that gave them the most "bang for their buck." Now, travelers, particularly millennial travelers, care about ethics and principles. Green hotels, low-emission flights, sustainable tourism principles — there is a growing demand for these values, and your campaigns need to reflect this. Mention travel values across your marketing channels — social media, blogs, paid ads, etc.
3. Travel and Tourism Workers are Most Likely to Use Facebook
Credit: Tourism Currents
Workers in the travel and tourism industry — hotel owners, state tourism officers, Chamber of Commerce employees, etc. — use Facebook more than any other social network, according to a recent study. Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube were the next most popular social channels, respectively. Most workers used Facebook for sponsored posts and ads and said they would like to spend more time and money on these marketing practices.
Although Facebook is important for your campaigns, you need to adopt an omni-channel approach to digital marketing. This way, you can target demographics at different points in the marketing funnel. Tumblr, Flickr, and SlideShare were the least-used social networks in the above study but incorporating these into your campaigns (alongside bigger platforms like Facebook) might provide you with a return.
The three tips above will help you create red-hot travel campaigns this summer. As a result, you can drive more customers to your resort, attraction or dmo websites, boost bookings, and increase online visibility across various platforms.
- Travelers check out state tourism websites to find out about attractions and experiences before they book vacations.
- More travelers are using mobile when researching and booking vacations.
- Travelers care about sustainability and the environment when looking for vacation destinations, and local tourism agencies are realizing this.
- Marketers should focus on values like sustainability, community, or education in their campaigns.
- Most travel and tourism workers use Facebook for ads and sponsored posts. An omni-channel approach to travel marketing, however, will produce bigger returns.