Digital Marketing Trends Redefining Tourism Prospects | Travelandtourworld.comTravelandtourworld.com

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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Technological advancement has completely revolutionized the concept of travelling round the globe. With the increasing number of travel technology providers, tourism in different exotic destinations gets a boost. Hassle-free and instant in its function, travel apps are the latest trend among global tourists.

Digital marketing is the most sought-after modish trend to promote tourism. Offering promotional deals is a simple way to invite potential customers to travel while segmenting your market to find interests for touring.

Social media marketing has immensely contributed to increase tourist influx in unconventional destinations along with boosting tourism in picturesque locales.Among the 25 major international markets surveyed, Asia ranks top in online travel bookings, mobile searches and mobile bookings.

Asian travellers lead the field when it comes to mobile travel bookings and searches performed, at 33% and 59% respectively, compared to the global average of 25% and 46% respectively.Travellers continue to use the internet for both information and booking.

Travel advertisers need to take full take advantage of the opportunities online advertising offer, as the key component in their marketing strategy.If you are a travel advertiser, then Adform has a range of new and exciting Rich Media formats that will perfectly fit your campaign objectives.

For instance, what should you do when you want to entice travellers to visit a specific island? How can you recreate that beach sensation for them? Check out their Sandstorm format and the revolutionizing Snowball format for a brighter tourism prospect.

via Digital Marketing Trends Redefining Tourism Prospects | Travelandtourworld.comTravelandtourworld.com.

Online travel agents: Sun, sea and surfing | The Economist

economist logoIn 1996, when Microsoft was still ahead of the big technology trends, it launched a small brand called Expedia Travel Services. It hoped to persuade customers to book holidays online. It was not an immediate success. Few households had an internet connection then and, just as importantly, most people thought the idea of buying a holiday through the ether not to mention typing their credit-card details into a web browser plain foolish.

Few think the idea crazy now. Expedia, which Microsoft sold in 2001, has become the world’s biggest travel agent see chart. Last year, through brands such as Trivago, Hotels.com and Hotwire, as well as its eponymous operation, its gross bookings were $39.4 billion. The third-largest travel agent is also an online firm: Priceline, whose brands include Booking.com, made reservations worth $39.2 billion in 2013. Last year online travel agents OTAs had combined bookings of $278 billion, according to Euromonitor, a market-research firm.

Indeed, when it comes to reserving flights, hotel rooms and rented cars for holidaymakers, the online-travel market looks quite mature in many rich countries. PhoCusWright, another research firm, reckons that online booking now accounts for 43% of total travel sales in America and 45% in Europe. Since much of the rest is accounted for by business trips handled by specialist corporate-travel agents such as Carlson Wagonlit, scope for the OTAs’ market to grow seems limited. That explains Priceline’s purchase, announced on June 13th, of OpenTable, a restaurant-reservation website, for $2.6 billion: it sees this as a way to earn commission on another chunk of tourists’ spending.  There are some big markets where online bookings have yet to take off.   Germans still typically arrange their holidays through traditional travel agents. Although the Chinese now spend more on travel in aggregate than any other country’s population, in 2012 they booked only 15% of their trips by value online, says PhoCusWright.   It thinks this will rise to 24% by 2015, making the Chinese online-travel market worth around $30 billion.  Much of the expansion will be driven by ambitious local firms. Ctrip, the biggest, makes most of its money from air tickets and package tours to Greater China. But as Chinese tourists become more intrepid—ranging farther afield and no longer shuffling around in big tour groups—online hotel bookings are becoming more important.  Ctrip’s hotels division has grown at an average of 25% a year for the past five years, according to Trefis, a stockmarket-analysis firm, and had revenues of $366m in 2013. It will not be long before it eyes Western markets more keenly.

To stay ahead, the big OTAs are having to follow their customers as they switch from desktop computers to smartphones and tablets.  By 2017 over 30% of online travel bookings by value will be made on mobile devices, thinks Euromonitor. In part this will be the result of OTAs making their apps more appealing by, for example, adding location services that help travellers find the nearest rooms and restaurants. But it is also because the way people plan trips is changing. It generally takes a family more than three weeks to book a holiday, from deciding to travel to clicking the “pay now” button, in which time they may visit seven websites, says Faisal Galaria of Alvarez & Marsal, a consultant. In future, travellers are likely to become more impetuous, he says, and smartphones appeal to those making last-minute bookings.

For those still surfing for holidays on their PCs, other technological advances are on the horizon.  Amadeus, which supplies the software behind many OTAs’ booking systems, is developing new ways to entice customers to the agents’ websites. One is to use browser-tracking technology to aim personalised ads at consumers, showing them the latest prices for trips in which they had previously shown an interest. Such targeted advertising has been common among non-travel retailers for some time. However, until now it has proved trickier for the travel business as it involves collating frequently changing data from many airlines and hotels.

Gorilla marketing

Even with help from such marketing tricks, the smaller OTAs will find it increasingly hard to compete with the big two. Online travel is an industry in which size counts. The scale of Expedia and Priceline means they can sign up more hotels, and negotiate better prices, than their smaller rivals. This is a business that requires heavy spending on marketing, which hands another advantage to the big two.  OTAs will spend more than $4 billion this year on digital advertising, according to eMarketer, also a research firm; and Priceline and Expedia will account for over half of this. Some smaller rivals may find profitable niches, but in general it will be hard for them to grow. Whenever they open a door, “there are already two 800lb gorillas fighting it out in the room,” says Mr Galaria.

Not only gorillas. The observant may also spot an elephant in the room.  In 2010 Google bought ITA, a maker of flight-search software, and the next year it launched a flight-comparison website. The giant search company has also improved its hotel listings by including photographs and virtual tours, as well as price information. It has the clout to disrupt Expedia and Priceline if it so wishes. It has not done so yet. Google, many believe, would be loth to cannibalise such a large chunk of its main business: analysts think the big two will account for as much as 5% of its advertising revenue this year.

So besides Ctrip, perhaps the biggest threat to the big two OTAs is TripAdvisor, a popular travel-reviews site spun off by Expedia in 2011. This month it said travellers would be able to book hotels directly through its smartphone app. Weeks before Priceline’s deal with OpenTable, TripAdvisor announced it was buying La Fourchette, another online restaurant-booking service. The online-travel market is consolidating fast, but so far holidaymakers need not worry about a lack of options

via Online travel agents: Sun, sea and surfing | The Economist.

Boston Consulting Group – Facebook Report – Travel Companies Have Been Slow to Seize the Mobile Opportunity

Facebook logoTravel Companies Have Been Slow to Seize the Mobile Opportunity

Early Movers Can Cement Significant Advantage by Personalizing the Travel Journey

According to a New Report by BCG and Facebook BOSTON, June 19, 2014—

Although it was one of the first industries to be disrupted by digital commerce, travel and tourism has been slow to embrace the opportunities offered by mobile technology, according to Travel Goes Mobile, a new report by The Boston Consulting Group and Facebook. This reticence has left the playing field wide open for early movers. Those that miss the shift will find catching up increasingly difficult once consumers patterns of behavior and relationships with mobile apps and the companies behind them solidify.

BCG Logo“Early movers in travel, especially those companies that design successful mobile apps, have the opportunity to establish lasting advantage,” said Jason Guggenheim a BCG partner and coauthor of the report. “For many travel suppliers, this means an opportunity to strengthen or reestablish customer relationships that have been eroded by online intermediaries. For intermediaries, it means rethinking their offerings to protect the positions they have established on the PC. Winners will need to understand their customers’ mobile-usage trends, tailor their marketing, and even adapt their operating models accordingly.”

Estimates of the number of apps installed on the average smartphone vary, depending on who is doing the counting, but they range from about 25 to about 40. So far, only a few travel-company apps are used regularly by a significant share of consumers. Most travel companies have converted fewer than 20 percent of their PC customers to mobile-app usage, and no travel app has established itself as the go-to resource on more than 2 percent of smartphones.

The report argues that the biggest opportunity for travel companies is to cement relationships with customers—especially a company’s best, high-value customers—by offering them truly personalized service and experience. Mobile apps generate information related to usage, searching, time of use, location of use, spending, preferences, friends and followers, and countless other kinds of data. The more a travel company engages customers through mobile devices, the more information it can synthesize to personalize messages and the in-app customer experience. This information can also be used to segment the company’s best customers on the basis of frequency of use and expenditure, among other criteria, including their current location, time of day, and status.

“The tools and capabilities available to travel companies continue to expand as digital and mobile technologies improve,” Lee McCabe, global head of travel strategy at Facebook and a report coauthor, said. “This paper reveals the extraordinary role mobile technology can and will continue to play in travel and the tremendous value it can add to travel companies and travelers’ experiences. Sophisticated apps, combined with rich data and targeting capabilities, allow for personalized marketing at scale. The ability to perfectly time and tailor messages on the basis of rich data is very powerful from a business standpoint—for both brand- and direct-response-related objectives.”

The single log-in functionality offered by Facebook, for example, enables seamless movement among apps, eliminating the need to log in for each visit. Innovations such as app install ads, conversion ads, and deep links further simplify moving among multiple apps, which is great for the user and generates tremendous data for marketers.

The report points out that mobile “gatekeepers” have the power and sophistication to vastly augment travel companies’ own data-collection and analysis efforts with the vast amount of consumer information they manage. The biggest gatekeepers today are the device manufacturers and the companies behind the main mobile-operating systems and app stores, app-to-app marketers, and social networks and messaging app operators. The top three—Facebook, Google, and Apple—currently account for half of total app usage.

The report argues that, in terms of apps, travel companies want their customers to do three things: discover and download their apps, engage with them at multiple stages of the travel journey, and find the experience so simple, satisfying, and useful that they want to come back and use the apps again—to the exclusion of other available travel apps.

This means that travel companies need to design apps with functionality that customers—especially high-value customers—prize and that other travel companies cannot match, market the app effectively for both ease of installation and engagement, experiment and bring out new functionality quickly to keep the app fresh and make it more useful, and make the experience more personal over time.

To download a copy of the report, please go to www.bcgperspectives.com.

via BCG – Press Release – Travel Companies Have Been Slow to Seize the Mobile Opportunity.

Leading Travel Ecommerce Sites Struggle with Digital Marketing Data Quality, According to New Research – Press Release – Digital Journal

Online travel agencies are leading the charge while airlines lag behind 

OREM, Utah, April 15, 2014

OREM, Utah, April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – In the second installment of The Return on Marketing Technology research series, Lima Consulting Group and ObservePoint conducted extensive research on the top 140 global travel websites to get a granular look at their digital marketing technology deployments.

Image representing ObservePoint as depicted in...

Image via CrunchBase

The research report titled “The ROI of Marketing Technologies: How the Top Travel Sites Stack Up” shows that only 89.3% of all pages audited have a web analytics tag; and 36.8% of pages report inflated page view metrics across all sites. These factors contribute to poor data quality for some of the web’s biggest digital marketing spenders.

“According to research by Gartner, CMOs will spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017,” said Paul Lima, principal at Lima Consulting Group. “This should come as no surprise as marketing technology continues to have a bigger impact on the bottom-line of organizations that have a major ecommerce presence. However, marketing in a data-driven era means that the marketers need to ensure they are basing their decisions on accurate data. Correctly managing tags are at the core of this movement.”

Key Findings

Lima Consulting Group’s experts have distilled the data into the following findings:

  • Online Travel Agency (OTA) sites are deploying the most marketing technologies, followed by airlines, online hotel booking aggregators, rental cars, and hotel brand sites
  • One-third of all travel sites have deployed a Tag Management Solution (TMS), and half of those with TMS use free over premium enterprise-class web analytics solutions
  • Sites with TMS use more technology, benefit from better user experience and performance, but do experience slightly decreased site load times
  • Composite site performance scoring allows digital marketing teams to have greater confidence in data-driven business decisions

How the research was conducted

In July 2013, Lima Consulting Group (LCG), an online marketing strategy firm, and ObservePoint, a digital marketing technology auditing company, audited the top 140 global

travel web sites using ObservePoint’s advanced tag auditing solution.

Tag auditing is a systematic, comprehensive evaluation of the current tag configuration on a web site. When an audit is performed, tag-auditing software “crawls” a web site, and executes all of the code on every page. This helps accurately test and confirm the function and configuration of every tag on every page. Tag auditing improves results of marketing technologies deployed within the ever-increasing ecosystem of tag-based marketing solutions.

The research report is available for download at Lima Consulting’s Infographics Page.

via Leading Travel Ecommerce Sites Struggle with Digital Marketing Data Quality, According to New Research – Press Release – Digital Journal.

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2014 Top Social Media Trends for Travel Marketers | Adventure Travel News

By Jennifer Pemberton

Three months into 2014 and we’re past making predictions of what the year in social media will look like. We’re living it. The ATTA is focusing on four major trends this month that will shape online life this year — highlighting the ones that will be most relevant for the travel industry, from how to find travelers on social media and speak their language to how to organize your office to best engage socially with your customers.

via 2014 Top Social Media Trends for Travel Marketers | Adventure Travel News.

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Travel industry taps into social networks | Oman Observer

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By Marie Julien — Tourism companies are turning to travel bloggers as a route into the vast global market of social network users, industry insiders say. At Berlin’s ITB tourism fair this week, bloggers and tourism professionals were brought together at a “speed dating” event to swap tips and further their cooperation in a highly competitive sector. Catharina Fischer, of the German Tourism Office, said blogging opened up an effective and inexpensive way “to generate content, do marketing on social networks, expand one’s presence, and all in different languages”. With the likelihood that a blogger will post YouTube videos or photos on Instagram to illustrate their post, it is easier to create a buzz on the Internet, via Twitter or Facebook, bloggers and companies say.

In today’s world of real-time news and constant information, blogging, where an individual writes online about their own experience, offers an immediacy that traditional media and guide books cannot. Marion Schumacher, of the Moevenpick hotel chain, also pointed out that a blog “is more subjective. It’s often a first-person account by the blogger from their own experience.” “Bloggers mostly post their blogs online before, during and after a trip” which then remain on the Internet to be read time and again, explained Anja Beckmann, of specialist communication agency Red Mod. The guidelines on collaboration between bloggers and the travel industry still vary and have not been formalised — some bloggers plainly state when a trip is financed by a travel company, while others do not.

Angelika Schwaff, a former head of international communication for an airline, launched her blog “Reisefreunde” (“Travelfriends”) because she was always having to search back through business cards when asked for hotel or restaurant recommendations. After around a year, her blog had attracted thousands of readers, and in 2012 she decided to leave her job and become a professional travel blogger —  still a privilege for the very few — and consultant. Today she says that 99 per cent of her trips are down to partnerships with the travel industry but insists she retains her independence and always makes clear in her blog who has financed what. “Even if they (partners) invite you on a trip, I make it very clear at the beginning in my letter of intent ‘you don’t buy my opinion’,” she said. But for travel-lovers, blogging is a good way to fund their passion if they strike deals to get the travel or accommodation costs covered or are paid to provide photos or videos that can be used by the partner company.

via Travel industry taps into social networks | Oman Observer.

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London & Partners creates travel incubator to help discover ‘next Airbnb’ | Marketing Magazine

London & Partners, the promotional agency for London, has partnered with social enterprise The Trampery to launch a travel incubator this spring.

The aim of the incubator is to find “the next Skyscanner or Airbnb” by making London the number-one city for travel tech start-ups

Airbnb logo

Airbnb logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

London & Partners will provide network support to start-ups in addition to a shared workspace via The Trampery, a company that provides places to work for entrepreneurs.

Start-ups will have access to travel industry executives, investors and mentors at the ‘Traveltech Lab’ incubator space.

Gordon Innes, chief executive of London & Partners, said: “We not only have the incubator space they need, we have over 1,000 partners in the travel, leisure and hospitality industry, a wealth of high-level connections and a deep knowledge of the sector.”

The Trampery will help with the remodelling of London & Partners’ existing office at More London, a development near Tower Bridge, to provide workspace for a team of experts alongside entrepreneurial travel, tourism and hospitality start-ups.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said:  ‘‘More and more technology companies are sprouting up and thriving in London.

Image representing Skyscanner as depicted in C...

“As the world’s greatest city to visit and as Europe’s foremost digital hub, we can offer this innovative incubator an ideal home to nurture creative talent and for tech whizz kids to flourish.”

via London & Partners creates travel incubator to help discover ‘next Airbnb’ | Marketing Magazine.

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Place-based messaging could give travel marketers an advantage

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There’s a new place-based messaging app in town, and it could be the bleeding edge that certain brave travel marketers embrace.

Flyby Media allows users to send messages to each other using real-world objects as triggers. The company’s taglines are “Start Messaging in Real Life” and “Activate Your Real Life Objects,” highlighting just how the service is positioning itself as the arbiter of multimedia tagged to physical objects.

The service underscores the potential power of Google’s Project Tango, which recently opened up vast new possibilities for using 3D sensors and visual imaging for the next generation of phones.

Interestingly, the app is currently only available on iPhone 5 and 5s, with Samsung Galaxy S5 support coming soon. These are the only phones that currently support the framerates required to leverage the real-time imaging.

Flyby is one of the first consumer application to leverage this imaging tech, and is idling on a $10 million runway.

While Flyby is not the first in this space – an app called Drop was released late last year and the credential-heavy Findery lost its way last year with layoffs – the company might be at the right place/right time with the current techology and increased messaging interest from both investors and consumers.

The app itself is still a work-in-progress, as the company is attempting to build a user base before pushing it out to partners. This may work, although it seems that having a steady stable of partners publishing content would entice users to download while also offering a crash course in this entirely new way of communicating and consuming.

For travel marketers, the use cases are still quite compelling for those looking for an added edge over competitors in the travel space.

via Place-based messaging could give travel marketers an advantage.

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The Impact Of Social Media In The Travel Marketing Industry – Forbes

f_logoI will surely refrain from spouting off all the latest and greatest social media marketing numbers. From the gazillion numbers of people on Facebook on Twitter to the rapid rise of Pinterest and Instagram and on and on and on.

I am fairly confident in saying that social media is not a fad. Hard to believe but there are still people who walk among us who still believe that. This just in, the world is not flat, either.

The reason I started this particular piece off this way was for the simple reason that with so many of us humans on one, two or thirty different social media platforms, the point is we are all using social media. Ok not all, but a really, really big number of us to use a not-so-scientific reference.

So with that many people using social media why wouldn’t the travel marketing industry be impacted by its use along with essentially every other industry?

Doesn’t Marketing 101 dictate to go to where your customers and prospects are? I’m pretty sure it did and still does.

Approximately one-fifth of leisure travellers worldwide turn to social media platforms for inspiration within different categories of their travel planning including:

  • Hotels (23%)
  • Vacation activities (22%)
  • Attractions (21%)
  • Restaurants (17%)

As for which social media platform specifically is most used by travellers, Facebook came in first as per the same research.

via The Impact Of Social Media In The Travel Marketing Industry – Forbes.

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Vacation.com Unveils New Brand and Positioning | Travel Agent Central

Vacation.com revealed details of its new brand that the consortia says is positioned around travel agents’ aspirations to “Belong. Inspire. Grow.” The updated tagline more incisively reflects the industry-leading role outlined in the organization’s positioning statement, Vacation.com said: “Vacation.com is an innovative network of professionals that celebrates highly driven travel agencies by supporting them with the tools to help them grow and inspire.”

via Vacation.com Unveils New Brand and Positioning | Travel Agent Central.

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