The Travel Marketing ecosystem is changing thanks to the emergence of collaborative consumption brought to life by Airbnb, HomeAway, and similar companies that are enabling non-traditional travel experiences. In the past 5 years alone, a lot has happened for the Tourism Industry; hotels have reinvented themselves, and travel bloggers have become the new Trip Advisor through social media networks like Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest. As the momentum of the sharing economy continues to build, the effect it’s had on travel marketing could be arguably greater than what’s changed in the tourism industry as a whole.
While the growth of the travel app, Airbnb has been impressive; they still haven’t touched the hotel industry’s bottom line. To put this in perspective, Airbnb has grown roughly 36,000% (from 47,000 guests worldwide in 2010 to 17,000,000 guests in 2015). And yet, revenue for U.S. hotels has continued to grow at a rate of 6.2% in that same period. Even though the death of hotels isn’t the horizon, the rise of the sharing economy has made hotels rethink their entire business models. This is because they have found that the Millennials and Gen Z are becoming the biggest generation of travelers. Today, 82% of Millennials have gone on vacation in the past 12 months compared to 75% of all U.S. consumers.
Here is a look at the latest trends in travel marketing:
Travel support apps are making it easier to book cheaper trips.
Below are just a few of several emerging applications that help support your travel plans.
- Dufl: Send your travel suitcase to Dufl and this app will perpetually store you suitcase for $10/month and ship it wherever you travel. For $100/trip, Dufl will clean, pack and ship your clothes to, and from, your destination. Today, Dufl has made 5,000 trips, delivering luggage to 550 U.S. cities and 18 countries.
- Hopper: This app archives trillions of flights and uses predictive analytics to tell users when they can get the cheapest plane tickets.
- HotelTonight: Get discounted hotel rooms at the last minute. This app lets you book hotels a week in advance, max.
Travel trends can start with a single photo.
One couple captured breathtaking travel photos on Instagram using the hashtag #Followmeto while on vacation in 2011. Today, over 337,000 photos have been uploaded using this hashtag.
Travel writers are becoming travel influencers.
Brands want storytelling that is immediate and experiential. And so do soon-to-be travelers looking to find the best travel experience.
Tourism boards can snap their way into users’ travel plans using Snapchat.
Travel companies wishing to promote a location can utilize Geofilters to promote locations on Snapchat. Geofilters are special overlays that communicate where and when of a Snap in a fun way. Whether you are sending it to your Friday or adding it to your story, using a cool geo filter can encourage friends to travel to the promoted location.