Digital Travel Trends and Take-Aways May 2017

TREND: A wave of startup companies have signed up brands like Expedia and United Vacations to the concept of layaway plans for buying travel, and gained traction in enabling travelers to pay for their flights, hotels, or tours in monthly installments. While installment plans are common in many countries (especially in Latin America) for paying travel, the concept is almost unheard of in the U.S., Europe, and South Africa. In the U.S., a recent study by the consultancy Atmosphere Research Group claims that 41 percent of travelers surveyed expressed an interest in using installment payments for trips that cost $2,000 or more. — Skift Research

USDM Take-Away: With the continuing disruption in the digital marketplace, creative thinking and packaging of “how things have always been done” is a fresh and potentially profitable exercise. Does your travel product (cruise, tour, family vacation, rental) have a high price point? Would you be willing to accept early reservation and installment payments ahead of time, like a Vacation Lay-Away? If so, the concept could easily be tested online.

Digital Trends & Take-Aways May 2017TREND: Capturing, housing, and analyzing Customer Data will fuel disruptive growth for smart organizations that integrate their data with technology innovations like the Internet of Things, Artificial intelligence, Virtual reality. The identity infrastructure a marketer creates today must be able to support these technologies and corresponding customer experiences tomorrow. Experiences aren’t defined by device, channel or campaign, but by who the customer is, their preferences and past behavior, and what they need at critical moments. In today’s fast-moving, always on environment, the revolution begins with a centralized customer knowledge base that can power journey insights and relevancy. Engagement must be continuous. — Signal | How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2017

USDM Take-Away: Like it or not, future revenue erosion is a threat from competitors that execute a smart data-driven strategy for engaging their customers (and yours) through the various stages of discovery, decision making, buying, and repurchase. The takeaway here for most is that you need to seriously upgrade your technology and strategy to capture, house, analyze, and integrate much more data to build richer deeper customer profiles, and then deploy more automated responses. Marketing automation is affordable. A marketing strategist can guide the decision-tree it will follow. The investment of time and money can yield dramatic improvements.

TREND: Content marketing has become the travel industry’s dominant approach, as the entire discipline of marketing is in the midst of a sea change. Changing consumer attitudes toward advertising, combined with the growing importance of social media, are forcing marketers to adapt to a new reality. — Skift Research

USDM Take-Away: For the travel industry, this means focusing on the creation and promotion of engagement-to-conversion content, a discipline that is seeing huge increases in budgets, interest, and attention. Marketers say the inspirational appeal of such content, combined with its increased credibility, helps it succeed with travel customers.

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