As we gear up to attend this year’s Business Travel Show, we’ve been thinking about our predictions for the marketing trends that are set to have the most significant impact on the industry this year.
The rapid pace of technological advancement means there are more and more opportunities for experimental travel marketers to latch on to. While this is fantastic, it can often be overwhelming, and resource limitations can squeeze the brakes on many creative endeavours before they even get off the ground.
So, to save you the headaches, time, and money involved in weeding out the “fads”, we’ve cut through all of the hype to create this handy guide to 3 key trends that are bona fide “ones to watch” over the coming 12 months.
1. Social Advertising
Social advertising has been around for a while now, but since last year’s disruptive algorithm changes decimated the organic reach of business pages, it has become a critical component of a solid social media marketing strategy.
Instagram and Facebook are the platforms of choice for savvy travel marketers to reach highly targeted audiences. With a wide range of dynamic creative options available to advertisers, including video, static image and interactive experiences, it’s easy to see the appeal.
To give you a better insight into exactly how influential social platforms can be in the travel sphere, a recent survey by Schofields revealed that just over 40% of millennial travellers under 33 select a holiday destination based on how ‘Instagrammable’ it is. This is a clear signal that visuals matter and that travel brands should invest wisely in elements such as interior design and photography/videography to ensure their ads are as polished as possible.
Perhaps more importantly, these platforms are continually increasing their direct response capabilities. This marks an important shift from social platforms being mere discovery platforms, to platforms where “where business is done”, according to Instagram’s director of product management, Vishal Shah. This is something we expect to see really taking off in 2019.
2. Voice Assistants
Over the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed the rise of in-home voice-based systems like Google Home and Amazon Alexa. As we reach mass adoption, this signifies that 2019 is the year we will see ‘voice assistants’ really come into their own.
For travel brands, the applications of voice assistants are vast and include elements such as destination searching during the critical research phase and even voice booking to seal the deal.
These technologies are also useful “on the go”, thanks to advancing mobile technologies. With 81% of business travellers claiming to have used mobile voice assistants while on business trips, there’s a clear opportunity for brands to capitalise on this trend within their own apps. In fact, Travelport recently revealed that 45% of travel brands are already investing in voice technology.
We believe that the key to getting this right is an “on-brand” customer experience, where voice assistants are personable, friendly and helpful. This process often involves a lot of scripting to make sure that each possible communication experience is as smooth as possible.
In reality, the rise of voice assistants means that travel brands need to go back to the basics of branding before thinking more strategically about expanding their communication guidelines to consider verbal vocabulary, pitch, tone, gender and point of view.
Long gone are the days where travellers are happy to book trips based on some slick copywriting and a handful of low-resolution photographs inside a brochure.
Before making that all-important booking decision, today’s travellers demand rich video content to whet their appetite and get a feel for the destination, facilities or experience on offer.
As brands crank up the volume of videos they produce in 2019, it’s no longer going to be enough to create single videos in a vacuum. In order to get the best return on investment from this captivating medium, a robust video marketing strategy should be developed before the camera even starts rolling.
The smartest travel marketers understand that every piece of video content needs to tell a story that evokes emotion in the viewer, such as curiosity, excitement, or desire, before inspiring them to take action.
In our opinion, a key area of focus for travel brands this year will be crafting video sequences that correlate with each step in the customer journey. Watch this space!
Get in touch with our Managing Partner, Philip Martin, at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore how we can help you can integrate these trends into your communication strategy for maximum impact!