“4 Tourism Marketing Trends for 2018”

Its’ a new year with new challenges.

January tends to be the perfect time of the year when we decide to take a deeper look at our existing strategies and tactics, and evaluate them to see if we are ahead of or on par with current trends in the marketplace. I will admit, that staying on top of trends is hard, and a lot of factors come into play. You may not have the budget, the staffing or the resources, but that should not affect your knowledge.

“Knowledge is a key that unlocks all doors to opportunity.”

Knowing is half the battle. And having knowledge is crucial for when the right opportunity presents itself. The other half of the battle is action, to where you can apply your knowledge and implement a strategy. So, in order to increase your knowledge I highly recommend you study up on these four trends for 2018.

#1 | AR/VR: Augmented reality/virtual reality. Before we get into this, it is important that you understand the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality. Most of us are familiar with virtual reality (VR) which is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing. Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it. Augmented reality is best seen in these new Google Pixel commercials using The Last Jedi AR stickers.

While you may not be ready to tackle this, you need to understand it, because your consumer is looking for this experience. With both Android and iPhone mobile devices implementing AR experiences, it will become mainstream.

#2 | Personalization. This is something that I have been talking about since 2016. Customers see ads a mile away, and want brands to speak directly to them. A recent study by American Express showed that 83% of Millennials said they would let travel brands track their digital patterns if this would provide them with a more personalized experience. In addition, 85% of respondents of all ages thought that customized itineraries were much more desirable than general, mass-market offerings. Think about everyday products and services that you consume that are personal (i.e. barbershop, hair salon, car service, local restaurant). That personalized experience is what creates brand loyalty.

#3 | Shared-economy Housing. In relation to personalization, we know that travelers want that local experience. We also know that travelers are consuming digital content at rapid growth rates. eMarketer showed us that from 2015 to 2016, the amount of Airbnb website visits increased by 42%, while hotel-related OTAs like Priceline and Expedia saw growth in the mid-20s in terms of percentage. Airbnb is always a tricky subject for destinations, but they are continually working with cities to ensure they pay their fair share of taxes.

#4 | Customers not clicks. So many of us as marketers are tied to KPIs like website visits and click-through rates. But what is in a click…really? Ooooh look, someone clicked on my ad and went to this page!!! I get it, I mean we have to hang our hats on something. But the problem is that we are not putting together the full story. Travel purchases are not linear anymore, as people are visiting on average 30+ sites before booking. They are also more trusting of user-generated content than traditional ads on traditional media. It is imperative to understand the consumer cycle and find ways to plug into each phase.

What trends are you most looking forward to learning more about and potentially implementing in 2018?

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