- Digital transformation and social media are dictating travel trends
- Hyper-personalization becoming more important
- The resurgence of business-related travel
- How brands can keep up with in-demand travel trends
Travel industry trends for 2023: New media, personalization, and convenience
Content in the travel industry continues to evolve as customer behavior changes and brands attempt to adapt. Consumers demand new and exciting forms of content shared across multiple channels. Not to mention they want this content to be tailored specifically to them. The sentiment is similar in the Travel & Tourism market, where, by 2027, 74% of total revenue is expected to be generated through online sales.
These shifts in behavior, coupled with renewed optimism about the industry, have given rise to a host of new trends in the travel and tourism sector. For brands hoping to stand out from the competition and get their content in front of eager travelers, these are the trends they need to know.
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Digital transformation and social media are dictating travel trends
At the height of the pandemic, companies around the world rushed to move their entire business models to new digital realities. Travel and tourism hotspots like Stonehenge relied on virtually streamed events in the absence of large crowds. While travel has returned, the digital transformation, which saw several brands leverage digital channels, is expected to continue as travelers seek omnichannel experiences.
Social media relevance
Social media also continues to have a massive impact on travel and, in some cases, is dictating it. The growth of social media platforms continues to expand, with platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok having an enormous impact on where travelers decide to go.
As of January 2023, YouTube has around 2.5 billion monthly active users. Facebook-owned Instagram had around 2 billion, and the ever-popular TikTok quickly crossed the 1 billion monthly active users mark.
Brands must create more content for these platforms to capitalize on these active users. One of the ways to do this is by enticing their audience to share user-generated content. Over the years, social media has been the driving force behind formerly obscure locations suddenly growing in popularity. According to Business Insider, it has resulted in picturesque areas in places like Norway, Iceland, and Morocco receiving more foot traffic than ever.
TV and pop culture tourism
Also buoyed by the increased reach offered by social media, other media outlets like television continue to be relevant for driving traffic to new travel destinations. The settings for popular TV shows, such as Dubrovnik, Croatia, which was the setting for the iconic Game of Thrones, or Albuquerque, New Mexico in the United States, the backdrop for Breaking Bad, remain popular travel destinations even after the shows ended. Expect this trend to continue in 2023 and beyond, not just in these locations, but others, as pop culture and travel tourism remain intertwined.
How travel brands can capitalize
Whether from social media or a popular TV show, potential customers are influenced by what they see on various platforms and are eager participants in contests and challenges. This presents another opportunity for brands to encourage more user-generated content. Whether on their own or in partnership with a travel influencer, brands can run contests where social media users must complete tasks, including liking and sharing content, to win a prize. The prize could be as simple as a discount on their purchase or something more elaborate like tickets to an exotic destination.
User-generated content doesn’t need to stop at contests, either. Brands can further leverage this content in other marketing campaigns and use the data they gather to learn more about their customers, improving their targeting and personalization.
Hyper-personalization becoming more important
Personalization is even more critical than it was before. In fact, it should now be considered hyper-personalization, such is the level required. Basic personalization is no longer enough, and brands need to go as deep as possible to personalize their content.
One of the reasons why personalization is even more important in the travel industry has to do with another shift in consumer behavior. One of these shifts in behavior that is helping to shape things is the increase in solo travelers. Data from Kayak shows that searches made for single-traveler flights are 36% higher for 2023 than for 2022.
Solo travel consumers are looking for content that is specific to them. They aren’t seeking just to be welcomed by name at the next hotel they visit. They are after suggestions of where to go and what to do when they get there.
Brands collect large amounts of consumer data as they engage with them across various touchpoints. This data can be used to improve personalization efforts across the board, as brands can personalize everything from general blog content to email updates and product offers.
However, personalization goes far beyond only using someone’s name in an email. Hyper-personalization requires brands to listen to their audiences and understand what matters most to them. They can then use this data to deliver relevant content experiences at the right time.
How travel brands can capitalize
Catering to customers with personalized and localized content will be essential to providing them with the experiences they truly desire. However, creating that content is only the first step.
Travel companies need to provide a complete experience, leveraging data gathered from customers on one platform and using it to inform their content decisions. For example, travel companies that facilitate solo travelers, whether via plane tickets or hotel rooms, could provide follow-up content to keep them engaged throughout the trip and once they’ve arrived at their destination.
The resurgence of business-related travel
A key trend that brands need to be aware of, which began in 2022 but will see even more growth in 2023, is the resurgence of business-focused travel. According to Morgan Stanley, 2023 travel budgets are, on average, expected to reach 98% of 2019 levels. This increase will have some knock-on effects that will be relevant for travel companies.
While companies embraced virtual events and webinars when meeting in person wasn’t possible, the resulting Zoom fatigue has meant that business travelers have been eager to embrace in-person events. However, that doesn’t mean they will no longer use digital channels. Instead, expect companies to focus on hybrid events that merge in-person and virtual.
Accomplishing this will require a connected experience that blends digital kiosks with in-person speakers, interactive chats, and other content experiences that span multiple channels.
Mixing business with leisure
With the growth of remote and hybrid work, business travelers are more likely to mix business with leisure, taking extended trips that allow them to visit new locations and explore while working from the hotel or nearby offices.
Again, personalization will be crucial, as travel companies will need to know the customers they’re targeting to provide relevant content at the right time.
How brands can keep up with in-demand travel trends
Providing on-demand convenience
Today’s consumers are used to getting things on demand. The rise of IoT devices has seen brands adapt their product offerings to make the most of technology like smart speakers and smartwatches. Consumers can experience convenience in new ways, thanks to the latest technologies.
Things like ordering an Uber to get to their next destination, one or two-day shipping via Amazon, or being able to watch the entire series on Netflix have conditioned consumers to expect this ease of access no matter where they are or what they’re doing. That same on-demand experience needs to be provided via engaging digital experiences.
Creating unified experiences
Travel companies need to have integrations with third-party apps that help accomplish this. Integrations like Google Calendar or SMS services can streamline the booking process and make things easier for the customer. This allows for automatic SMS confirmations, frequent travel and safety updates, adding flights and travel information to calendars, and more.
Leveraging the right technology
It is paramount that any travel brand has a website and app that is lightning-fast. Achieving this requires a capable digital experience platform to help deliver on-demand content at scale.
Brands can look to Magnolia for help with fast and reliable content delivery.
Highly-optimized Magnolia instances in the cloud are combined with the tooling, services, and hosting you need to deliver exceptional experiences rapidly. Magnolia also includes modern features for content management and the creation of rich, personalized, and optimized customer experiences.
As a composable DXP, Magnolia enables businesses to pull data from and share data with other connected solutions, such as analytics and marketing automation tools, to create the ideal content-driven travel experience for their customers.
For travel brands seeking to capitalize on current trends, personalization and multichannel publishing enable you to create brand interactions that matter in areas often filled with pain points. Knowing about the trends affecting the travel and tourism industry in 2023 and beyond isn’t enough. Brands must learn how to adapt their digital strategy to cope with changing customer demands.