Digital Travel Trends And Takeaways – October 2018

From the Thought Leadership Team at USDM Digital®



Trend:  The top factors influencing travelers to choose a destination has changed, as many travelers opt to keep it simple and visit a destination they have been to before.   Many travelers opt to keep it simple.  Six in ten visited a destination they had been to before and more choose to drive.   – Phocuswright

  • Ease of travel to a destination
  • Food and Dining
  • Landmarks and sightseeing options
  • Natural features and landscapes

USDM Digital® Take-Away:  Make sure you update your digital content, outreach, search, social, local, engagement, booking, and fulfillment to be hitting on the most current key factors that influence travelers to visit your destination.  Travelers moods and needs change seasonally, so should your headline, posts, and calls to action.  Need to assess or improve your current content marketing, contact us at

Trend:  Offering better prices is the top reason travelers book online; getting better prices is why over four in 10 recent hotel loyalty members joined a program    Phocuswright

USDM Digital® Take-Away:  Aligning your inventory and pricing with your marketing efforts through limited-time offerings, flash sales, or follow-up marketing can influence that looker to become a booker.

Trend:  Booking window differs by age group.  Younger travelers tend to book closer to their date of travel compared to other age groups; 28% of travelers 18-34 years old booked their last leisure trip within two weeks of travel, compared to just 15% of travelers 55+. But youth doesn’t equate to impulsiveness. Younger travelers spent more time researching where to go (roughly by a week longer than the 55+ category).                                        – Phocuswright

USDM Digital® Take-Away:  Digital technology can improve the timing of your paid advertising and social marketing to various demographics’ shopping and booking behaviors to improve results.  Data Analytics can provide the number of site visits that can trigger a bonus offer.  Re-targeting marketing can present an added incentive to a shopper after they leave your site and visit a competitor’s site. 

Trend:  More than half of travelers indicate they would be comfortable completing various travel-related activities via text or chat, but only four in ten are comfortable interacting with a chatbot.  Personalized interactions would likely help to tip the scales.  – Phocuswright

USDM Digital® Take-Away:  Extremely well-executed virtual assistants with personality and the ability to answer many questions are very effective, but often out of the reach of many marketers other than big brands.  Doing a good job of something simple is far better than doing a fair job of something flashy.


Trend:  92 percent of consumers trust earned media above all other advertising

USDM Digital® Take-Away:  Earned media (or free media) refers to publicity gained through promotional efforts other than paid media advertising.  Implementing and marketing User Generated Content (UGC) of real people’s memories and experiences of being in your destination or with your brand, adds authenticity that earns trust and improves response. 

Trend: 97 percent of millennials say they would share a positive travel experience on social media, and 57 percent of millennials have made travel plans based on social media images or videos they saw a friend post.

USDM Digital® Take-Away:  Encourage them and make it easy for them to do so.  Leveraging User Generated Content (UGC) with a strong promotion and distribution strategy to push across email, social, and other marketing channels can be a powerful and very affordable tool for marketing.  

Trend:  Search Intent is redefining the marketing channel.  Today, people are no longer following a linear path from awareness to consideration to purchase. They are narrowing and broadening their consideration set in unique and unpredictable moments. Digital technology and mobile devices have put people in control. People turn to their devices to get immediate answers. And every time they do, they are expressing intent and reshaping the traditional marketing funnel along the way. Today, consumer choice heavily influences reach and frequency. They’re choosing to engage with brands that are relevant, helpful, and personal. Knowing, planning, and implementing your customers’ journey can improve your success significantly and cost-effectively. – Think with Google

USDM Digital® Take-Away:  Journey optimization – powered by the right technology and approach – can provide tremendous benefit to businesses including upsell & cross-sell, retention, and customer satisfaction.  Data analytics can infuse journeys with real-time decision-making.  To learn more, contact us at

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Public and private sector brands trust USDM Digital® to provide current and future insights, develop digital strategy for business, execute digital marketing and advertising, improve customer engagement, and deliver performance that measurably IMPACTS their business.  Visit us at 


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