Last month, I was lucky enough to attend the 2022 Mumbrella Travel Marketing Summit. Hearing some of the industry’s heavy-hitting destination organisations and their marketers discuss the latest industry trends and consumer sentiment. Looking at what’s next as we turn our back on the COVID-19 era and move with renewed energy towards 2023.
As a travel marketer working with organisations such as City of Newcastle and Destination Port Stephens, events like these are important in ensuring that our work is current and relevant. Listening to brand heroes on stage and my peers in conversations throughout the day, there were several stand-out themes, plus a few surprises.
Here are the key take-outs and what I’ll be carrying into my tourism marketing activities in 2023:
1: Travel Confidence is Back
After an unsettling few years for the tourism industry, consumer data shows that Australians’ desire for exploration is back – finally. Expedia Group saw more than a 50% year-over-year increase in traveler demand globally for long-haul flights, according to its Q2 2022 Traveler Insights Report.
Consumers are also willing to pay premium prices for these experiences, in the name of health and wellness, and connecting with friends and family.
Interestingly, the pre-pandemic hunger of visiting multiple destinations in quick succession has cooled, and now travellers are planning longer stays in fewer destinations, to truly immerse themselves in their new surroundings and have more meaningful adventures.
With consumer confidence running high, it’s time to re-engage your target audience and fuel your tourism marketing jets!
2: Sustainability and Representation Matter
According to Expedia Group’s 2022 Sustainable Travel Study, 90% of consumers actively seek products that have a lighter, greener impact on the environment. When it comes to comfort and convenience, travellers are willing to take public transport or walk from A to B, in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and become the sustainable traveller they want to be.
Authenticity matters too, consumers are more likely to engage with a brand when they feel that they have been accurately represented in their marketing efforts.
By using clear and accurate messaging, sustainable initiatives, and content with diverse representation, marketers can not only help consumers make an informed decision at the booking cart, but propel their brand one step ahead of its competitors.
3: Data is King: Beg, Borrow and Steal
To develop a strategy, launch a new product or remodel a service, it’s imperative to know exactly what a target audience wants, needs and feels. To do this, marketers should look to and partner with relevant organisations to get the insights they need, or create a platform to gather comprehensive data to inform their clients business strategy.
A great example of how data has informed a brand is Australia’s newest regional airline, Bonza. The air carrier recently developed an app for consumers to engage with ahead of planning its flight schedule so the brand could understand which destinations consumers wanted to travel to.
As much as we may think we (and our neighbouring colleagues) are our target audience, we are far too close to the work we are doing. It’s important that we go out into the world and road test our thinking, tinkering with it once, twice, however many times is needed, to ensure that our campaigns are roadworthy. Data doesn’t lie.
If you don’t have the budget to carry out your own consumer research, there are many governing bodies and companies that are willing to work with you or share their own publically – Tourism Research Australia and Expedia Group Media Solutions are just a few.
4: Personalised Content is a Path Worth Travelling
With the plethora of marketing channels available to industry professionals, one-size fits all messaging doesn’t cut it anymore.
By getting back to basics and segmenting your audience beyond the standard personas is where the gold can be mined. This simple process opens up countless opportunities to craft stories that meet the needs and capture the imagination of the different audiences you’re seeking to engage. By choosing this personalised path, means your content is valuable, meaningful and most importantly unswipeable.
5: Partnerships are Powerful
Brands don’t have to go it alone, nor should they. Joining forces with a like minded team, talent or organsiation should not be understated nor disingenuous. From your brand colours and geographic location, to the charity partners and the people that they serve, partnerships need to be authentic and these relationships can be powerful when done right.
This week, Visit Victoria swooped in and saved the day fronting $15 million in sponsorship support for Australia’s national netball team, the Diamonds, following the controversial withdrawal of Hancock Prospecting’s sponsorship deal. Bold and beautiful.
Rich rewards await. A uplift in visibility, budget, resourcing and capability, partnering with a force greater than your own is a no-brainer – if the opportunity and funds are available.
If you’re a destination organsiation or brand wanting to supercharge your tourism marketing efforts using tactics such as Social Media Advertising, Social Media Competitions, Public Relations and Content Development, get in touch and book a free consultation today.
No boarding pass required!
About the author
Social Media/PR Team Lead & Senior Account Manager
Holly joined us in late 2021 as our Social Media Team Lead & Senior Account Manager. British-born, Holly washed up on Aussie shores six years ago and brings with her a wealth of communications and digital marketing expertise.
Creative by nature (having studied at the home of conceptual art, Goldsmiths, University of London), Holly’s unconventional background and passion for strategy has seen her work with some of Australia’s most-loved brands. A fierce publicist and social media junkie, Holly has successfully helped her clients stay top of consumers’ minds.
When work’s out, you’ll find Holly hanging five in the surf or wearing lycra, setting a new PB at a sports event. Catch her if you can!