Travel Trends for 2018: Starting Your Vacation With Tech
January 10, 2018 | Nicole Sung-Jereczek
It’s a fresh new year, and the travel & tourism industry is rapidly evolving as new digital marketing trends continue to emerge. So what should we be on the lookout for when it comes to digital marketing in 2018?
Tech is constantly shaping the way we research travel, book, and ultimately the way destinations interact with their consumers. From virtual tour experiences, to the use of AI and machine learning in the form of chatbots, the innovative technologies listed below are digital travel trends to watch out for.
Virtual Reality: According to Booking.com, 64% of travelers say they would like to ‘look before they book’ with a virtual reality tour preview.
Virtual reality offers an immersive kind of storytelling that is well-suited for travel intenders, and can lead to a better level of engagement than standard video. Although it is expensive, and there are limits to what you can do, travel brands can leverage existing popular platforms that support 360 video, such as Facebook, Youtube and Nativo. These distribution platforms have advanced targeting capabilities to reach travel intenders and allow the viewer to feel and experience unique selling points of the destination before booking.
Instagram: In a recent survey, this platform was revealed to be the social media network of choice for 48% of people looking for destinations to visit on their next getaway.
This research suggests that there is a big opportunity for destination marketers to entice visitors through visually striking content on Instagram. In addition to producing their own content, marketers should consider building relationships with social influencers in authentic ways to increase reach and engagement. Another way marketers can tap into Instagram’s power to influence travel is through user generated content (UGC.) For example, a brand could share photos taken by others, and give credit to the original photographer.
Mobile: It’s no secret that we’re living in a mobile-first world. In fact, Booking.com recently discovered that one in two traveler journeys start on a mobile device.
As consumers’ habits become increasingly mobile-centric, travel brands need to ensure that their marketing strategy is cross-device compatible and that their asset development is mobile-first. This means that all touchpoints such your website, app, ads, ad images, and videos should be optimized across all mobile platforms.
Voice Assistance: According to Google, one out of five searches come from a voice query.
Growth in voice assisted technology is expected to continue to develop as users explore the medium, and technology continues to get better at understanding what people are searching for. Although voice enabled booking is still in its early stages, companies such as Kayak have started using voice activated assistants to offer hotel search and book functions. And as consumers continue to rely on these voice assistants, brands will need to start considering the importance of optimizing for voice-searches, and begin to consider it as another channel entirely for users to interact with.
Artificial Intelligence: Based on a survey conducted by Tata Consultancy Services, 85% of travel and hospitality professionals are now using AI within their business.
This comes as no surprise, as AI provides automated, personalized and intelligent travel services, utilizing computers to carry out what are traditionally seen as human tasks. One of the most well-known uses of AI in the travel industry is in the form of chatbots. Chatbots provide consistent, accurate, and prompt information, which is key given the competitive landscape of the travel industry.
We’re excited to see which one of these trends will have the greatest impact this year, and in the years to come. Cheers to a technology-packed 2018!
[Nicole Sung-Jereczek is a Media Planner at Greenhaus. When she’s not busy staying up to date with the world of digital marketing, you can find her on Instagram dreaming of her next travel adventure.]