Travel Industry Trends in 2020: New Media, Personalization, and Convenience

by Sorina Mone, Marketer at Magnolia
Jul 30, 2020 | 6 MIN

Content in the travel industry continues to evolve as customer behaviour changes and brands attempt to adapt. Consumers are demanding new and exciting forms of content, shared with them across multiple channels. Not to mention they want this content to be tailored specifically to them.

These shifts in behaviour, coupled with renewed optimism about the industry have given rise to a host of new trends in the travel and tourism sector. Roughly 74% of travel consumers are eagerly anticipating frequent travel again, and for brands hoping to stand out from the competition and get their content in front of eager travellers, these are the trends they need to know.

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Digital Transformation and Social Media Are Dictating Travel Trends

Companies around the world have rushed to move their entire business models to new digital realities. Travel and tourism hotspots like Stonehenge have also followed suit with virtually streamed events in the absence of large crowds. Brands traditionally known for in-person events that are now limited can still deliver valuable content to their audience with virtual events.

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 travellers decide to go.

As of January 2020, YouTube has around 2 billion monthly active users. Photo-sharing app Instagram has 1 billion and a newer player on the block TikTok has quickly risen to approximately 800 million monthly active users.

Brands need to be creating 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, social media has been the driving force behind picturesque locations in places like Norway, Iceland and Morocco receiving more foot traffic than they ever had before. In some cases, the sites were temporarily closed due to overcrowding.

Social media users 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 need to complete a set of 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 behaviour. One of these shifts in behaviour that is helping to shape things is the increase in solo travellers. In 2019, solo travel made up around 18% of the total travel bookings. These travellers were not only taking short weekend trips either as the average trip is almost three weeks. As travel begins to pick back up trips close to home will be the norm.

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. With increased health regulations, they also want clear details as to how they will be kept safe.

Brands collect large amounts of data from consumers as they engage with them across various touchpoints. This data can be used to improve personalization efforts across the board. Everything from general blog content to e-mail updates and product offers can be personalized.

However, personalization goes far beyond only using someone’s name in an e-mail. Hyper-personalization requires brands to listen to their audiences and understand the things that matter most to them. They can then use this data to deliver relevant content experiences at the right time.

On-demand Convenience

Consumers in 2020 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 entire series on Netflix have conditioned consumers to expect this ease of access no matter where they are or what they’re doing.

So how can brands keep up with this demand for convenience?

Travellers need access to things at their fingertips. Travel companies need to have integrations with third-party apps that help accomplish this. Integrations like Google Calendar or SMS services can be used to streamline the booking process and make things easier for the customer. This allows for additions such as automatic SMS confirmations and frequent travel and safety updates, adding flights and travel information to calendars and more. It is paramount that any travel brand has a website and app that is lightning fast. To achieve this requires a capable CMS platform to help deliver on-demand content at scale.

Brands can look to Magnolia CMS for help when it comes 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.

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. Merely knowing about the trends affecting the travel and tourism industry in 2020 and beyond isn’t enough. Brands need to learn how they can adapt their digital strategy to cope with changing customer demands.

About the Author

Sorina shapes Magnolia’s brand and product communications, with a focus on creating demand and on enabling sales, partners & clients to make the most out of this great product.