Travel Trends and Take-Aways December 2016

TRENDDomestic travel is increasing for the third month in a row. Eight in 10 U.S. residents with near-term travel intent searched within the U.S.  The Southeast continued to be the top region searched, capturing 29 percent of domestic searches.  August lodging search demand was predictive of travel in the October-November.  –U.S. Travel Association

USDM Take-Away: Many U.S. destinations market themselves to visitors during 2-3 prime seasons, with Summer and Fall typically the most popular.  But other destinations now have 7 visitor seasons, after developing marketing programs to make even the dead of winter a reason to visit.  Are you expanding visitor options to increase revenue?  We have several case studies to share.

TRENDSearch and Booking Travel Data from billions of anonymous Google searches gives an unprecedented look into the traveler customer journey based on intent signals across online, mobile and video channels.  Sojern combined anonymous data from billions of searches on Google with search and booking data from Sojern’s 350 million traveler profiles to deliver rich insights and highlight marketing successes. Key take-aways:

  • YouTube influences trip planning: Travelers aren’t just using YouTube for destination inspiration, they’re finding ‘travel hacks’ there too, including advice and tips for every stage of travel planning, booking, and trip preparation.
  • Desktop for booking, mobile for searching: For travel advertisers, mobile messaging is crucial during the dreaming phases of travel, to remain top of mind when users book. Most users then book via desktop, with Tuesday being the top day for bookings.
  • Mobile allows for spontaneity: Both in the planning phase and while in-destination, mobile allows travelers to be more spur-of-the-moment than ever before. A mobile-intensive marketing plan allows brands to stay in the minds of top of funnel travelers.

USDM Take-Away: The measured data continues to underscore the primary importance of digital travel marketing, especially the importance of social and mobile.  Is your marketing plan mobile-first?  Does your staff have the best social technology and plan to engage your customers at every stage of planning, buying, and sharing?

TRENDThe US travel industry will spend $5.69 billion on digital advertising in 2016, a sharp increase over 2015 that reflects rising travel sales. These have risen due to lower gasoline prices and airfare, and greater spending by leading industry players.

TRENDChanges in US Travel Industry Ad Spending by Media between 2Q 2015 and 2Q 2016

– Digital increased 45.3 percent to $610.7 million,

– Television decreased 7.3 percent to $474.4 million

– Magazines decreased 14.6 percent to $243.7 million

– Newspapers decreased 14.4 percent to $138.2 million

USDM Take-Away: Marketing budgets have finally shifted from dominance of traditional media to dominance in digital channels and marketing for tourism.  What percentage of your tourism marketing budget is allotted to digital, social, mobile, and search, versus broadcast, magazines, and newspaper?  We offer a complimentary digital gap analysis® to a select number of DMOs that can help determine the effectiveness of your current media spend and clarify how budget reallocation can positively impact return on investment.

TRENDYouTube Allows “Includes Paid Promotion” Disclaimers.  YouTube is trying to limit any confusion for viewers about whether the content from the influencers is advertising or not, by now allowing influencers and creators to add text disclaimers over their videos for the first several seconds alerting viewers that they are watching a paid promotion.   YouTube on mobile alone reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S, and for these audiences, Modern Branding is now about transparency and authenticity.

USDM Take-Away: Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) as the largest US demographic.  Travel marketers are embracing new tactics (social, mobile, transparency, authenticity) to reach and engage these valuable new customers.   We have several case studies that may interest you.


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