In order to maximize the efficiency of online marketing campaigns, optimize results and differentiate oneself from the competition, it is necessary to keep up with the latest trends. Here are some of the most relevant trends in digital tourism marketing for the coming year.
Influencer marketing will continue to play a crucial role in 2020, especially qualitatively. The emphasis is not so much on the number of followers, but more on the authenticity and relevance of the content. Emotions and authentic experiences are communicated, motivating and directing mainly younger target groups towards a particular destination or specific type of holiday accommodation. More about trends in the sub-discipline of influencer marketing can be found in the ADDITIVE article: "The most important trends in influencer marketing for 2020".
- Interactive Contents
Emotions are also at the heart of content and storytelling, enhancing the use of visuals and interactive content. Professional video content is relatively easy to create, especially for social media. Short videos that highlight the main features of a particular destination, special events, or even the furnishings and culinary specialties of a certain hotel, will help to promote inquiries and bookings. Augmented reality and virtual reality go one step further. Interactive city tours, virtual tours or 360° content serve to promote experiences both before and even during a holiday stay.
- Social Media Listening
To be able to generate offers and services aimed at specific target groups, a more precise analysis of customer needs is required. This is where Social Media Listening comes in; evaluating online conversations and discussions on specific topics, products or brands. Especially with regard to tourism, such data can help to identify trends, develop new and innovative products and enhance client satisfaction.
- User-generated Content
This includes ratings, videos or other visual content that has a real influence on decisions about what to purchase and where to book. According to a study by Stackla (provider of visual content platforms), as many as 79% of web-surfers are influenced by user-generated content. This type of content is seen as authentic, and helps to inspire confidence in a certain brand or business. In order to reach new customers more effectively and strengthen ties with existing clients, it is even more necessary nowadays to incorporate user-generated content into marketing campaigns for use on social media channels or on company websites.
- Automated Marketing
The topics of automation and big data continue to gain prominence for the improvement of processes and in optimizing marketing campaigns. Client and booking data, as well as automated marketing helps to target customers and clients at the right time with relevant offers. Services for guests and customers are rendered more effective thus improving marketing efficiency, with a positive impact on sales.
The increasing use of mobile devices, and mobile email in particular, necessitates the adaptation of newsletters and email marketing content. The attention span of smartphone users is significantly less than those using a desktop device. The small size and minimalist design of mobile devices requires shorter texts carrying only the most essential information. Such adaptations assist recipients to make bookings or purchasing decisions more quickly and improve the conversion rate.
- Fragmentation of the Consumer Journey
Due to the wide choice of end-user devices and channels available, the consumer journey is becoming increasingly fragmented. While the initial search for a product, company or destination is usually carried out on smartphones or tablets, the actual purchases or bookings are then made on desktop devices. The challenge is to track users and potential customers across their devices and on different platforms in order to categorise them into different phases of their consumer journey. The appropriate choice of attribution model is needed to gain an overview of the touch-points, thus improving the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns.
- Zero-click searches
The ubiquitous use of mobile devices also impacts the way search engines are used. Google hopes to make it as easy as possible for users to find the desired results with as few clicks as possible. Functions such as a "Users also ask" link or featured snippets, responding to questions in the search results, are helpful. These are called “zero-click” searches, since being directed to a website for a response is no longer necessary.
Following the introduction of the EU basic data protection regulation (DSGVO) in May 2018, the sensitive questions of privacy and data tracking have gained even greater relevance. Following Safari and Mozilla Firefox, other smaller browsers have also come up with integrated anti-tracking features while also restricting cookies. Google now also wishes to introduce similar measures on its own browser and in two years’ time, Chrome will no longer support third-party cookies.
- Marketing as an "Experience"
User-generated content, interactivity, emotion generation and authenticity - many of the 2020 online tourism marketing trends will soon be measured by a common denominator. Marketing is moving away from pure advertising and increasingly becoming more of an "experience". Brands and businesses compete to creatively motivate (potential) customers and existing clients through interactive and authentic content, thus strengthening their positive brand perception and customer loyalty.