Digital Travel Trends and Takeaways

From the Thought Leadership Team at USDM Digital®


TREND:  Marriott is using Virtual Reality (VR) to engage and inspire next-generation travelers.  Marriott began using VR last year in a Teleporter Tour to eight U.S. cities that took guests to different corners of the globe via a fully immersive, 4-D sensory experience. This year, VR Postcards and VRoom Service programs allow guests to immerse themselves in other travelers’ real, personal experiences traveling to destinations around the world.

TAKEAWAY:   Virtual Reality (VR) will be THE big hit Christmas gift this year and consumer adoption will quickly accelerate.  Within two years (2018), Virtual Reality tourism marketing (especially to Millennials) will be a successful and common practice with travel and tourism marketing leaders (destinations, resort hotels, theme parks, cruise lines, etc.).  Early adopters and creative content developers will see competitive advantage and profits.  Contact USDM for Virtual Reality program and pricing – we make it affordable.

TREND:  In 2016, most digital travel bookers will use mobile devices and most mobile travel research occurs on smartphones rather than tablets. More than 90% of mobile travel researchers will use smartphones to look up info this year vs. 81.5% who will use tablets.  Based on eMarketer’s latest forecast of digital and mobile travel researching and booking, 128.8 million people in the US will research travel on the internet this year.  Most mobile travel research and bookings will occur on smartphones rather than tablets.eMarketer expects US mobile travel sales, which include travel purchases on tablets and smartphones, will total $52.08 billion in 2015, up 63.0% year on year and account for nearly one-third of US digital travel sales overall.

TAKEAWAY:  Have you adopted a Mobile First philosophy? Take a look at your desktop vs mobile traffic and the way consumers experience your brand online. Many times mobile is the first brand impression. Don’t frustrate them. We recommend building a digital brand strategy around both, but assuring that Mobile First is the mantra. Avoid the pitfalls of beginning without a solid strategy which leads to wasting time and budget.

TREND:  A disproportionate amount of advertising budget is still going to print while mobile goes grossly under-represented, according to a KPCB Internet Trends Report. The percent of time spent with print media is 4%, but it gets 18% of ad spend. The percent of time spent with mobile media is 24%, but it currently gets only 8% of ad spend.

TAKEAWAY:  Are your media budgets in line with consumers’ actual usage of media? Print ad layouts look great on the conference table, but when and where is your target audience actually reading?  Have you planned your budget for the upcoming election media onslaught? With historic ad spending anticipated on the upcoming fall presidential election, digital marketers are wise to budget more money and buy early (now is not too early) to secure summer and fall ad campaigns in the face of increased prices and demand on inventory.

TREND:  2016 Trends from America’s 76 million Baby Boomers that spend over $120 billion annually in leisure travel.  An AARP survey revealed:  A whopping 99% of Baby Boomers are planning to travel next year; cost is not a deal breaker for their travel plans; international trips will be “bucket list trips of a lifetime”; domestic trips will favor summer and weekends to warm climates; free Wi-Fi is the top lodging amenity; Airbnb and VRBO are growing in popularity; 26% of boomers will take multi-generational trips, down from 32% in 2015.

TAKEAWAY:   Is your 2016 marketing geared toward digital Baby Boomers? With more discretionary income and the latest digital toys, Boomers are more influenced by digital storytelling than ever. Is your advertising and website Mobile or just mobile-friendly? It makes a difference when influencing travel choices. We recommend social + native advertising as influencers for your destination or travel brand. Sharability is important with messaging.

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