How digital marketing is transforming the tourism industry
Last updated: March 4th, 2014
Hospitality and tourism is one of the industries that is most affected by digital development. Transportation and accommodation companies are among the first ones to utilize digital marketing techniques in their practices to engage communities and make sure their customers have the best possible away-from-home experience. In order to perform well and gain competitive advantages, players in the travel industry are always looking for the newest and greatest ways to reach their buyer persona and tailor their offering to their target audience. Let’s take a look at some recent examples of digital marketing application that marketers from any industry can learn from.
1. Booking – Companies are recognizing the importance of second screen marketing
Digital consumption today is very different from what it used to be, even a few years ago. The use of mobile devices is on the rise and the situation is no different for the tourism industry. Additionally, it might be even more deal-breaking since people use various devices to book their airplane tickets and hotel rooms. Due to that fact, there is an emerging trend of mobile-only travel agencies (MTAs). These companies offer travelers the ability to book tickets through downloadable mobile/tablet-exclusive apps. Although currently most of those services are focusing on tonight-only bookings made by travelers on the go, in the future, we can expect to see an emergence of full-service mobile travelling agencies. Otherwise, successful last minute booking apps can also get acquired by larger web companies the same way ReallyLateBooking.com became a division of a popular booking service Hot Hotels.
Lesson to learn: find your own niche and outperform mainstream market players. Once your customer base is built, you can become a full-service provider or partner up with established market players.
2. On-board – Experience marketing is as relevant as ever
Travelling from point A to point B can be a long and tiring experience. In an attempt to make the journey experience more pleasant for travelers, airlines install advanced in-flight entertainment systems that allow people to watch movies and TV shows, play games, listen to the radio and make phone calls from the aircraft.
WestJet decided to take their on-board experience a step further and partnered up with Panasonic Avionics Corp. to install an entertainment system that allows airline guests to use their own devices to access the media library wirelessly. According to WestJet, 75% of travelers bring their own web-enabled devices on board. Many of them wish to continue using those devices seamlessly while using the airplane’s system to watch additional content.
Lesson to learn: Digital marketing is no longer just for fixed desktops. Nowadays, people need to be connected at all times. Give them access to your online content on their own devices when and where they crave it the most. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated, and people will be much more inclined to purchase additional services when they are using a familiar and safe device.
3. At the Destination – Additional services result in repeat sales
Before going on a trip, most people research the place they’re about to visit. Once they arrive at the destination, the search for the best places to visit continues. Thankfully, the power of Wi-Fi allows travelers to use their devices anywhere from the hotel room to coffee shops and touristic attractions. As a result, planning any trip becomes as easy as visiting a review website and choosing the next destination point. Facing competition from Airbnb and their Neighborhoods Local Travel Guides, large hotel chains are also recognizing the need to expand the range of their offering to deliver even more value to the customers.
Hotel Indigo, a part of Intercontinental Group, introduced a service that allows their customers to explore the neighborhoods they are staying at by offering Neighborhood Guides. The mobile site version allows travelers to see available content even when they are not staying at one of the hotels. The guides provide maps, useful information about local attractions and restaurants, hotel overviews and a Facebook linked photo-sharing tool.
Lesson to learn: use emerging technologies and digital marketing to explore how else your products and services can benefit your current and potential customers. By adding value it is easier to convert returning visitors into customers.
The major reason hospitality and tourism companies are so successful at adapting digital marketing strategies is because they carefully analyze how people interact with surrounding environments while travelling. These insights help them recognize existing customer needs and give travelers what they want to create the “wow” effect and ensure repeat sales.
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