The Internet has undoubtedly changed the way the world travels. In-store travel agents are being replaced by Google, Tripadvisor and Skyscanner and this trend is forcing Australian travel marketers to rethink their digital strategy.
Tourism is a $124 billion industry in Australia and with so many operators wanting a share of that revenue, getting a competitive advantage is more important than ever.
While the reasons people travel has changed very little, the way people are beginning their journey has transformed significantly in recent years. Consumers are increasingly going online to research, plan and book holidays. Data from Google indicates that consumers are increasingly turning to mobile in assisting them to plan their trip, from comparing flight fares to reserving tours.
These insights can be invaluable to travel marketers and tourism operators looking to influence tourist’s buying decisions, so let’s take a look at them in more detail.
1. YouTube is the go-to for travel hacks
More and more travellers are turning to YouTube to get their trip done right by watching “travel hack” videos from ingenious luggage-packing techniques to tips for staying healthy on the flight over.
YouTube searches for “travel hack” videos grew by 115% in the last year and the number of search enquiries for the keyword term “travel hacks” has increased 16 times over in the past 4 years.
Travel marketers should be capitalising on this by creating their own useful video content.
2. Mobile research, desktop booking
Though 90% of travel-related bookings are completed on desktop, the research is primarily completed on mobile devices. Especially on weekends, when mobile queries related to travel outpace those on desktop.
Also, research and bookings aren’t a one-and-done, point-and-click proposition. Travellers are taking their time to evaluate all options. Marketers really should be employing digital strategies (such as remarketing) so their business stays top-of-mind when a traveler finally starts moving to purchase.
3. Smartphones are breeding “spontaneous travellers”
Long gone are the days of dog-eared guidebooks. Instead, leisure travellers are using their smartphones as their research tools once they touch down in their destination.
As the image below shows, smartphones have changed the way people research holiday activities. Travel marketers need to embrace “local” mobile marketing strategies to ensure they’re not missing out on this valuable chunk of the market.
There are many opportunities for marketers to make their mark on a travellers’ digital journey, it’s just a matter of embracing them.