Market research is crucial for identifying trends and key marketing channels that will positively impact engagement and conversion with your target audience. For 2020, what are the biggest travel marketing trends? With this question in mind, Traktek conducted two marketing research surveys targeting North American consumers and travel agents. (Keep in mind this survey gets conducted bi-annually and gets sent to tens of thousands of North American international travelers between the ages of 40-85 via email.) Below we’re listing the best takeaways from the survey and 8 travel marketing trends to watch for in 2020.
1. More time is being spent on social media
Since our 2017 survey, the increase of using social media has doubled. Our survey concluded that Facebok and Youtube are the two platforms being used the most to research travel destinations. Travel brands are partnering social media travel influencers and finding new ways to monetize bloggers. If you have a younger audience, Pinterest and Instagram may other platforms to market on, since the use of Instagram in searching for destinations had increased over 3 times since surveyed in 2017.
With 50% of surveyed consumers browsing social media 1-2 hours daily, make sure to schedule out at least one social media post daily driving people to your website and blog. Facebook ads are also a cost-efficient way to directly target your audience.
2. Search engine rankings are important
36% of surveyed consumers are using search engines when seeking out new travel destinations. Ads promoting vacation packages, offers, and destinations via Google ads are great for large businesses. If you are a small business without the budget, fine-tuning your SEO is crucial to rise to the top. This includes getting backlinks, page speed, and SEO-friendly keywords on URLs, H1s and meta tags. We go more in-depth on how you can increase your search engine ranking here.
3. Consumers want more adventure and less lengthy flights
Consumers are focused on thrill-seeking experiences and shorter journeys when choosing their travels. Interest in shorter flight durations has doubled since 2017. People are flying more than ever, creating airport congestion. This reality is creating the demand for shorter flights, less connections, and more direct flights. Take advantage of this by promoting direct flight packages to new and adventurous destinations such as the Canary Islands and the Azores. Sharing organically is great, but also take a chance to promote via paid social media channels such as Facebook and Pinterest to increase your reach.
4. Fewer trips per year with longer durations is a trend
75% of consumers take holidays 7 days or longer, while almost 90% takes between 1-4 leisure trips annually. If you’re not already offering 7+day itineraries, 2020 is the perfect opportunity to announce some new trips. After you create them, place them on your website, promote via email, and be sure to share on social media channels.
5. Culture, nature, and cuisine should be a focus for itineraries
Consumer preferences for nature, culture, and culinary activities have remained consistent since 2017. Resorts, cruise, and tour operators should heavily promote activities, packages, and excursions focused on natural points of interest, local culture, food and wine tastings.
To create a conversation, be sure to promote these interests on digital platforms such as website home page promotions and social media. Creating separate landing pages for nature, culture, and culinary packages is also going to be valuable for building SEO content and increasing Google rankings.
6. The need for new, sunny, and all-inclusive destinations
Over 42% of travel agents surveyed said that their clients are looking for a new, sunny, and all-inclusive destinations. In addition, 87% of honeymooners are seeking out unique destinations, which are not the Caribbean or Mexico.
This data drives the increased demand for traveling to warm weather European Islands such as the Azores, the Canary Islands, Mallorca and Ibiza. To capture this market, focus on promoting all-inclusive packages featuring lesser-known destinations on small ship and expedition class cruise ships.
7. Traditional marketing tactics are still necessary
While 40% of travel agents prefer email to learn about new destinations and co-marketing opportunities, traditional marketing is still a tactic you should be implementing, as 41% of surveyed travel agents prefer printed materials as a learning opportunity for new destinations.
24% of consumers are still using travel publications, such as National Geographic, Cruise Travel, and Wanderlust. On the travel agent side, implementing online training, sponsored dinners, and webinars is important to keep your destination front- of-mind.
8. Baby-boomers are still booking through travel agents
Baby-boomers and retirees are the primary target audience booking through travel agents with an overwhelming 87% of clientele over the age of 40. Make sure to know your audience and target them appropriately to see results. For instance, your audience may love receiving mail brochures, but never go on social media. It is crucial to understand the preferences and lifestyle of your audience in order to determine where to focus your marketing budget in 2020.
Traktek Partners is a digital travel marketing agency that specializes in search engine marketing, social media, email marketing, and website design. We stay ahead of the trends to deliver unique approaches that will achieve the best results for your business. Start the conversation— contact us today!