2022 is looking to be the year that travel makes its long-awaited comeback to pre-pandemic levels. Some even think that this year’s summer season will eclipse previous ones to be the busiest travel season ever. Take a look at some of the biggest travel marketing trends so you can prepare your marketing strategy to find new customers and ultimately, boost revenue.
1. Short-Form Video Content Continues its Meteoric Rise
While TikTok was once viewed as a platform for Gen Z to recreate their favorite dances, the rapid growth and potential of this app can no longer be ignored. TikTok’s short-form videos are perfect for the average attention span - which currently sits about 8 seconds. The platform averaged close to 1 billion monthly users in 2022, growing to 1.4 billion in 2023, and represents a key tactic in reaching younger markets. 55% of 18-24-year-olds use the app while research shows that its demographic range is only growing.
Along with TikTok, imitation from competitors now gives brands even more options for promoting their short-form content. YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels and Facebook Watch are just a few of the options to take advantage of. The multitude of options means short-form video content is great to be easily repurposed and distributed with little editing for different channels.
Wondering where to start on your short-form content? Some options to get started include:
- Highlights of your activities
- A behind-the-scenes look at your business
- “How to” or educational videos
- Responses to customer questions and comments
Though TikTok may not be the biggest part of your marketing spend, its success shows that short-form content is here to stay.
2. Membership and Subscription Boom
From movies to chocolate to hygiene products, subscription services took off during the pandemic. Americans spend an average of $273 a month on subscription services, and the subscription economy is expected to double to a worth of $1.5 trillionby 2025.
Subscription services have already infiltrated the tourism industry through programs like TSA PreCheck, America the Beautiful National Parks Pass, and Selina Hostel’s CoLive digital nomad subscription.
With the future of subscription and membership programs looking bright, now is a great time for more tourism businesses to offer some sort of subscription pricing plan. Subscriptions generate recurring revenue while creating brand loyalty among customers. Options for using memberships to your advantage are endless, but here are some examples to help you begin:
- Seasonal memberships
- Loyalty programs for frequent customers offering exclusive offers
- Punch passes gifting a free activity or discount after 5 uses
Programs like these are great ways to start taking advantage of this membership boom happening throughout the tour and activity space. Watch for more operators to integrate a membership program into their operations in the coming future.
3. The Arrival of VR and Metaverse
If Facebook’s recent multibillion-dollar bet on the metaverse tells us anything, it’s that we’ll be seeing more and more industries make the jump to virtual reality in the future. While still in its early stages, the tourism industry already made a jump into VR. Over the past few years, museums have introduced more creative ways to interact with exhibits. This practice only accelerated during the pandemic when we wanted a piece of history or art, but couldn’t physically go to our favorite museums.
Travel company Thomas Cook let customers get a test drive before booking through 360° VR videos. These VR videos of available destination results were incredible with the initiative helping grow New York bookings by 190% and showing that there is a place for VR in tourism. While real-world travel isn’t disappearing any time soon, technological advancements such as VR offer endless possibilities for the future of tourism. Watch out for more major companies investing in VR programs as the technology becomes more inexpensive and available.
4. More Opportunities for Influencer Promotion
When used correctly, influencers can be a relatively cheap way of marketing that pays dividends. Influencers are becoming a force in marketing, as studies show that nearly 2 out of 3 consumers trust messaging coming from influencers rather than directly from the brand. Not only are these “micro-influencers” (influencers with 10,00-50,000 followers) more trusted than brands, but relatability is also a key component to influencer success. 70% of Gen Z consumers put more trust in YouTube content creators than celebrities. This growing trust is the reason why last year 71% of marketers had plans to increase their budget to include a greater focus on influencer marketing.
Remember that while influencers can help you reach new markets and grow your customer base, you should be doing your research on what the results should be from offering your services free of charge. Make sure you get all necessary information like number of subscribers, general demographics (age, location, gender) and ROI from previous collaborations.
5. Google SEO is Alive and Well
With marketing budgets growing and strategies becoming increasingly more complex, it’s easy to consider SEO an afterthought with so many other options for marketing your business available. While it’s important to have a well-rounded strategy, SEO should remain a top priority for its importance in driving direct bookings, long-term effectiveness and overall cost-effectiveness.
Getting your name on the first page of results is crucial to success when 93% of searches start with a search engine and more than 25% click the first result that comes up. This organic traffic is key to boosting bookings directly from your sights rather than a third party or even worse, a competitor. While you may have already spent on SEO in the past, it’s a good idea to have an SEO check-up from time to time to make sure you’re following strategies that are relevant to Google. Since Google owns close to 92% of the search engine market share and is constantly making changes to its SEO algorithm, it’s important to keep your site updated even with your core practices set (quick loading times, relevant keywords, and an easy to navigate site).
Not only is SEO still very relevant, but it’s also cost-effective. Spending on paid ads can get expensive quickly and doesn’t guarantee results. SEO, on the other hand, is relatively inexpensive to maintain. Improving your SEO can be obtained through tools like including functioning links and quality content that increases time spent per page. Now, this isn’t to say SEO isn’t worthy of marketing budget allocation. The price you pay to not cut corners will ultimately be worth it when you see your ROI.
With these trends in mind, you can now create the marketing strategy that best fits your business and demographics. Remember that while these trends are popular in the industry, your marketing strategy is unique and you should choose tactics that best fit your business and customer demographic. Keep an eye out for new marketing trends that could help you get a leg up on your competitors in the new year!