Travel Trends 2019 – Part 2
With a variety of travel trends coming to the fore, as we discussed in the first blog in this mini-series, what can you be doing as a marketer to ensure you’re making the most of them and ensuring your brand is front of mind when travellers are making their bookings?
Be there for Micro moments
Technology is expected to keep changing how people book holidays. A Google study found 44% of people expect to use more than one device when planning their summer holiday and that people are more likely to use mobile than desktop to look for family holidays, luxury travel, couples travel and honeymoons.1
The popularity of mobile has started a new customer behaviour called ‘micro-moments’ – referring to the moment when people turn to their smart device when they want to learn, do, watch, discover or buy something. Micro-moments are intent-rich and give people the immediate results they’re after in the moment.
Travel retailers that can “be there” for users in each of the four micro-moments get more exposure and will encourage more travellers to book with them.
There are a variety of digital and search marketing tactics and techniques that can be used to gain maximum exposure for your brand across micro-moments such as geo-located PPC ads, Facebook ads, localised voice search, and search-term-rich content.
What will work for you will differ from other brands but the key is to make sure you’ve got a thorough understanding of your ideal customers intent and ambition at each stage of their booking journey. That way you can provide the right information at the right time to be the most relevant brand for them at every stage.
Centre your online experience on mobile
An ABTA report puts online as the dominant booking method, with 76% of people surveyed from the UK having booked a holiday online in the previous 12 months.2
Looking at online bookings by device and age we see that older audiences (45-54, 55-64 and 65+) tend to book on desktop, with a small amount booking on mobile. Mobile and tablet bookings are most popular with the 25-34 audience.
Booking.com have found a new accommodation booking trend where users searching for same day arrivals are more likely to book on mobile, which makes perfect sense.3 These searches are made by people who’ve arrived at their destination without knowing their plans and means bookings for accommodation will on the go, rather than at a desktop.
This trend might be affected by roaming costs currently being low (from 15th June 2017 for at least 2 years ) for UK residents in Europe – but it’s thought this may change with Brexit.4
Booking.com also found that half of traveller research journeys start on mobile, and Google agree that this is where most searches begin.5 But Google suggest that 94% of leisure travellers end up switching between devices when planning their trip.6
This all points towards a focus on online experience and especially mobile being crucial for travel brands if they want to secure traveller’s bookings for the future. Thinking mobile first will be paramount but then ensuring the online experience across other devices is seamless whilst customers switch between them will be crucial. Providing that easy to navigate journey across devices will only encourage customers to stick with you throughout their booking process.
Use digital publications
The days of visiting a travel agent to pick up brochures that you browse through over a cup of tea at home is fading fast. However, the travel brochure of old may have found a new, digital lease of life.
New-age editorial content, and a rise in digital publications, have completely changed how people are getting their information about, and motivations for travelling. People don’t want to sift through hundreds of dry hotel and resort specifications and price lists though, they want to be inspired and enthused about their next trip.
The popularity of mobiles and tablets makes digital magazines a popular and a highly influential content format for travel brands to feature in and be seen as much more of a lifestyle brand, suggesting experiences rather than pitching holidays.
Readers can visit websites from the digital magazine for instant information, they can view interactive content and they can check out reviews all from one place.
With the need to embrace micro-moments (as discussed above) content rich digital publications that easily direct viewers to the next steps on their booking journey could prove a valuable channel for you.
Work with Bloggers and influencers
With traditional ad placements losing their impact and the use of ad-blockers online becoming ever more popular, customers tolerance for obvious and in-your-face advertising is waning fast.
People don’t want overblown claims and flashy ads. They simply want to hear from and get recommendations from real people they trust to give their honest opinion, which is where social influencers and bloggers come in.
80% of 25 – 54-year olds in the UK use the internet to find out about things before buying them and 57% of consumers admit to making a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation.
Working with influencers can help brands reach people in a natural and organic way, with content and first-person recommendations that instantly build trust in your brand by association and can also help to create demand and drive bookings/enquiries.
However, blogger and influencer partnerships should be based on shared values and ideals. Although consumers are making purchases based on influencer recommendations they can easily spot obvious and insincere posts that are simply flogging something. And posts like that could do more harm than good to a brands reputation.
Picking the right influencers for your audience and your brand can work fantastically well if done right. It does require the right experience and understanding of the space though, so you can ensure a partnership is built that is mutually beneficial for your brand, the influencer and your customers.
Double down on video content
It’s estimated that a third of time online is spent watching videos, with 55% of people saying they watch online videos every day. That’s a lot of people making time to watch others’ content. And when you add in that videos are shared on social media 1200% more times than text and links combined, it’s clear that if you aren’t already making video content, you should be.
Video engagement on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube is impressive. Over 500 million people watch Facebook videos every day, and 4.1 million YouTube videos are watched every minute.
The way we’re using social networks is shifting towards a mobile entertainment experience – placing social videos in prime position for brands looking to reach people. Brands like yours.
If you’re looking to tap into the some of the future travel trends mentioned above, then video is the ideal medium. What better way to show that people can experience an adventure, sample local delicacies or boost their wellness than with videos depicting exactly those things.
Text and images will only get you so far. Video will allow you to tap into those micro-moments and forge an emotional connection, spurring people to action with much greater ease.
Understand customer search patterns
To ensure you can properly tap into micro-moments and provide the best experience for potential customers you need to have sight of when and how people are searching for holidays or experiences you provide.
For instance, a lot of search terms associated with taking a trip away – Package Holiday, Hotel, and Cruise for example – peak in January every year, when people have got Christmas out of the way and start to think about summer, with an extra mini-peak happening in July most likely caused by people planning a holiday for next year.
The term “last minute” is relatively flat in terms of search volume most of the year but spikes dramatically in July and August as people look to get a bargain holiday.
These are obviously quite generic search terms so it’s key that you have visibility of the search volumes for the terms that are relevant to you and your brand, so you can properly plan your marketing activity to hit these peaks and tap into potential traveller’s micro-moments as they occur.
So, with a full understanding of the trends influencing travellers and their booking behaviours from our first blog, plus a view on what you can be doing to ensure your brand is front-of-mind when travellers are booking their trips from this blog, you should be well prepared to drive greater growth for your travel brand.
Should you need any help with capitalising on these trends and making sure your brand is set up for success, just let us know. Our bags our packed, our passport is in date and we’re ready for a journey.
Part 2 references