Facebook and The Culture Trip talk travel trends

Hear from marketing gurus at the world’s biggest social network and a start-up inspiring people to explore the world's culture and creativity

EyeforTravel North America is less than two weeks away and joining the speaker line up are Facebook’s Colleen Coulter who is Travel Head of Industry, Global Marketing Solutions and Elizabeth Carter, VP Marketing, Culture Trip. Ahead of the event they shared thoughts on current trends, what keeps them awake at night and a wish for the industry

Current trends

For Facebook, mobile will continue to be front and centre – and certainly can’t be ignored within travel. According to Coulter, 61% of surveyed US 18–34-year-old travelers say that they are more likely to stay loyal to a travel brand that has an easy to use website or mobile app and almost half (46%) of this group say they wish they could do all of their travel research and booking on a mobile device. “It’s no longer a trend because it’s so present in our everyday life, but there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure brands are sharing their story in a way that aligns with how people are consuming content on mobile and measuring the impact of their marketing investment in a way that reflects the varied behavior on mobile,” she says.  

For Culture Trip, sustainability will be a big theme. “Travel is rapidly transitioning from solely a vacation to a personal statement that marks an individual's identity. For those who travel for personal growth, the brands they transact with will matter as much as what they do once they’ve arrived. Brands with surface sustainability will be called out. They are going to have to honestly invest to be different and authentic in the movement. From over tourism to unethical wildlife-based tourism, the travel industry will be held accountable for what it promotes,” says Carter. 

Sleepless nights

Coulter believes that friction is one of the single biggest threats to businesses today. Research shows that there is a $213-billion opportunity cost due to friction across businesses in the US. In many cases, businesses don’t have a good understanding of where the friction exists (online, in their app, in their in-store or on-property experience?). “Even when they do, they have a hard time removing it given the need to prioritise technical resources or bring disparate organisations together,” she says.

Now more than ever, a strong brand is key to remaining top of mind for consumers

The travel industry is vastly competitive and cluttered and Carter believes that maintaining differentiation while cutting through the noise to attract the right customer is increasingly difficult. “Now more than ever, a strong brand is key to remaining top of mind for consumers as the industry shifts with uncertain political times, fierce price comparison behaviour, and overall short attention spans,” she says. 

For this reason Culture Trip is investing in integrated marketing, “above the line and below the line working together to capture needs state mindshare”.  

One wish

Coulter would like to see the travel industry become the industry at the forefront of innovation, the industry that others look to as effectively anticipating and acting on consumers’ needs – from meeting them where they are, including in messaging apps where they can have one-to-one direct communication with guests, to connecting the full customer journey from inspiration to booking and during travel. “Travel is a unique industry in that travel companies can authentically connect with travellers at every stage of the customer journey – and doing this effectively will come down to how well each company leverages the technology available,” she says.

Meanwhile, Carter’s wish is for brands continue to put the customer first “as we face the ever-changing industry landscape”.

Join us at the EyeforTravel North America 2019, Chicago, October 28 – 29, where leaders from world leading hotels, airlines, casinos and car rentals unite to win bookings, deliver personalized customer experiences and boost revenue

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