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Each year, Travel Weekly explores the shifting tides of the industry in its consumer trends report. The report shares important factors that travel-related companies should be aware of in order use the best possible messaging in order to reach customers. Here are just some of the highlights from that report, and how we recommend optimizing that information to make your advertising as unforgettable as the journeys your customers will take.
Multiple devices come into play when American consumers want to plan a trip. According to Travel Weekly, consumers tend to use mobile devices to research hotels, flights and car rentals, but use desktop websites for booking purposes. In the report, Travel Weekly says that last year’s browse-to-book conversion rate jumped 17% for hotel desktop websites, 7% for online travel agencies (OTAs) and 2% for airlines. The report says that a higher percentage of visitors to OTAs and supplier websites are following through on booking travel because more of those visitors already conducted the researching process on their mobile devices.
Cross-device tracking paints a complete picture of user activity across different devices, allowing you to make smarter decisions about your targeting strategy and how you spend your advertising budget. Website Custom Audiences (WCAs) let you to track and target visitors who have already shown interest by researching on your website. Retargeting those website visitors helps drive conversions and ensures that your ads stay on their minds when they finally start booking for their trip.
Among other changes featured in the report, Travel Weekly highlighted a shift in the demographics of travelers. Baby Boomers, the traditional leaders in travel spending, displayed a decline in the overall amount that they pay for trips, with average spending dropping from $8,430 in 2013 to $5,840 in 2014. Meanwhile, younger generations indicated an increased interest in paying more for trips. In fact, surveyed millennials and Gen-Xers said they planned to spend 10% more on travel this year, while Boomers only planned to spend 1% more.
Reaching this emerging group of younger travelers is vital for helping travel companies stay relevant in the years to come. One way to reach this younger group is through advertising on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. According to Travel Weekly, Instagram usage is growing among travelers, with 68% of respondents saying they use the site. Instagram is especially useful for targeting younger tourists because of its enormous popularity among millennials.
Travel Weekly says specialization has always been an important factor when choosing travel agents, and that’s remained true in recent years. In its survey, 79% of respondents who used travel agents believed that their agent was a specialist. The report quotes several agents who indicate specialization is an important factor for their clients:
‘When travel agencies were only brick-and-mortar, you couldn’t have an agency that only did Caribbean resorts. It had to do everything because of its [local] marketing scope. The internet allowed the ability to connect with customers based on a specific specialty. It opened up a new world to agents.’
Digital advertising provides many opportunities to reach audiences based on their diverse interests. Try targeting specific interests, like advertising wintertime mountain trips to Facebook users who say they like skiing and snowboarding. Or, target people who have similar distinct interests to your current customers with Lookalike Audiences. That way you’ll know that your ads are reaching new people who are more likely to be interested in unique travel options.
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