The travel marketing industry is evolving alongside the behaviors of customers. The engagement on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube isn’t slowing down. Hotels and resorts are competing with Airbnb in a crowded marketplace. Online travel agencies have become more sophisticated and easy to use.
In order to find room in such a competitive space, travel companies need to think one step ahead of the marketplace. This resource is a great place to start.
Over the past few years especially, marketing for travel is tracking toward something new and different. We’ll tell you what we’re seeing on our side, and highlight our top 10 travel marketing trends to be aware of in 2023 and beyond.
How Has The Travel Industry Changed in Recent Years?
There have been some major changes in the way that consumers want to travel after the Covid-19 pandemic. People are no longer looking for a cookie-cutter experience. They value local, authentic travel opportunities in their excursions and top-notch accommodations.
Additionally, consumers have started researching their travel destinations more thoroughly. The popularity of travel video content has increased as many consumers prefer to visit virtually before booking their destination. They’re not only looking for an immersive experience in their destination, but immersive marketing before they book.
Taking the time to identify key trends in travel marketing can help position your resort, hotel or attraction as a highly sought after vacation spot and compete with other top destinations in your area and across the globe.
10 Travel Marketing Trends to Get Ahead Of in 2023
1. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has continued to explode in popularity amongst the travel and tourism industry. Instead of relying on traditional marketing campaigns, consumers are turning towards their favorite content creators to inform their travel decisions. Utilizing influencer marketing and social media can help create a unique buzz around your business model.
Many travel companies are hiring influencers to produce timely and engaging content around their destination. Influencer marketing campaigns can help you reach a wider audience, drive bookings, and increase brand awareness overall. Additionally, offering a small discount code in conjunction with your influencer marketing campaign may help drive bookings.
2. Video Content Creation
Users are doing more research and want to see every aspect of the trip before deciding to book. Creating engaging video content can help create a sense of excitement surrounding your travel destination and showcase everything that makes it a worthwhile vacation.
Video content allows you to highlight key elements of your travel destination that may drive user engagement on your site and social media platforms. Additionally, this can benefit the booking experience if you include video content competitors don’t, like room tours, for example.
Both short-form and long-form video content are great ways to create easily digestible and shareable content that your users can engage with.
3. Leveraging Consumer Reviews
One of the best tactics for marketing your destination within the travel industry is to rely on consumer reviews. Word of mouth marketing has been a key marketing tool for the travel and tourism industry used to increase bookings and gain traction. However, it is easier than ever to leverage this data with the emergence of travel and review sites like TripAdvisor and other OTAs.
Most travel destinations already have reviews on these travel websites, as consumers readily supply them on their own. Travel and tourism companies can utilize this data to market their products. Customer testimonials are incredibly valuable to include on your website, as they offer real experiences from consumers.
However, you can also use that data to inform your future strategies. What are consumers really liking? What are they not responding well to?
4. Virtual Reality Experiences
Virtual reality is really starting to take off, especially after the pandemic. For the travel and tourism industry, that means that marketers can utilize panorama and 360-degree videos to create a real-life experience for potential travelers. This is especially important because travelers are doing more research than ever before booking a vacation.
Virtual reality videos can be used to promote a variety of things, like hotel accommodations, amenities, or other excursions. Increasing consumer engagement with virtual reality can really boost the booking experience and help consumers experience your destination before they even get there.
5. User-Created Content
Another marketing trend emerging from the travel and tourism industry is the utilization of user-created content. Vacation destinations represent a huge opportunity for consumers to take photos and videos to post on their own social media platforms. Oftentimes, these are specifically curated for an audience.
Travel companies can also use this user-generated content as a low effort and low cost method to promote a hotel, resort or travel destination. Social media-conscious users take beautiful snapshots or videos of the places they go to document a trip.
You can utilize user-generated content to highlight positive experiences and encourage users to engage with your brand. User generated content can also provide potential consumers with real-life experiences from other people, which may increase trust in your brand and further encourage booking.
6. Artificial Intelligence
AI is a great way to leverage technology to get the most of your team’s time. These tools can help deepen the interactions between your brand and the target consumer. While AI can be easily incorporated into your marketing plan in a variety of ways, the most popular (and effective) method is through chatbots.
New advances in AI technology allow companies to upgrade their user experience. Some tech combines data from previous travelers to build an ideal itinerary for new guests. Chatbots can answer common questions, offer user support, and discuss availability. These small additions can readily improve your customer experience and increase OTA bookings.
7. Memberships & Rewards Programs
Another popular trend emerging in the travel marketing industry is the use of memberships and subscriptions. Many companies are offering membership benefits like season passes, early access to activities or events or even line-skipping abilities.
Additionally, rewards programs can offer benefits like free nights, food vouchers, or souvenirs. Creating and marketing a membership or rewards program for your travel company can help increase the amount of repeat visits and increase engagement with your brand.
8. Email Marketing & Newsletters
While email marketing may not seem like a new strategy, it is a great way to increase your consumer engagement. Leveraging the power of email marketing and newsletters can keep your brand front-of-mind for many consumers.
It is also an easy way to get the word out about new promotions, discounts, or updates in travel safety protocols. While this tactic may seem like a no-brainer, many companies are not taking advantage of their email marketing opportunities.
Creating a sequence of engaging emails or newsletters can help you actively engage with your audience and generate more popularity around your brand as a whole.
9. Unique Accommodations
Consumers are looking to get a more well-rounded, fully fleshed out experience out of their travel. That means they are looking for a unique spin on every single aspect of their trip. Unique accommodations like airstreams, campsites, or eccentric themes are becoming increasingly popular. In order to keep up with this demand, travel companies need to flex their marketing focus.
Travel and tourism companies need to focus on their unique amenities and what truly separates them from the competition. What makes your accommodation unique? What sets it apart from the other hotels and resorts in the area?
10. Long-Term Stays
Work from home jobs and platforms like Airbnb and VRBO made long-term stays more popular amongst consumers. People are booking long-term stays so they can work and vacation at the same time. Travel companies will need to prepare for this shift in the industry.
While brands like Airbnb can comfortably accommodate long-term stays, hotels and resorts are surely falling behind. Creating opportunities for long-term stays is incredibly important for the travel industry. You can appeal to this new trend in a ton of ways – with a rewards program, new accommodations or a new marketing campaign.
Creating an Innovative & Effective Travel Marketing Strategy
In order to be successful in a competitive marketplace like the travel and tourism industry, staying on top of the latest marketing trends is necessary. As the industry continues its evolution, we’ll be working on new ways to leverage emerging trends and platforms to better-market our clients.
If you feel like you’re falling behind, we can help you pick up the place with an agile, scalable plan to drive bookings and put your brand in front of more users.