The good folks at Content Marketing Institute recently shared their top trends to watch for the coming year, but it’s interesting that their “crystal ball” predictions aren’t really new revelations at all. However, research does paint a clear picture that these four trends will likely keep setting the travel marketing world on fire in the coming months. Here’s a quick snapshot …
TREND #1: Buying Influencers
Old thinking was, when you wanted to build your audience you launched targeted advertising and marketing promotions to reach that group. Now, you can just acquire the audience. In addition to organically growing leads or acquiring an existing database of consumers that you still have to court, more destinations are turning their attentions to working with powerful social influencers. And, in the process, automatically gaining the already loyal audience that comes with them.
Tip #1: Know a popular restaurant critic whose followers take his or her recommendations to the bank? Get that person to come explore (and talk about) the great dining scene in your town – and their fans will follow.
TREND #2: Backlash Against Social Platforms
The power of social media is undeniable, and it used to be fairly simple for marketers to use – and in some cases, manipulate – it to their advantage. But most social platforms quickly caught on and began regularly changing their algorithms directing how content is prioritized and displayed, frustrating users in the process. (Want your content to be more visible, Facebook asked? Then pay up.) Many destinations do, but an increasing number are diverting content resources to less-restrictive platforms – be they social or not.
Tip #2: Everything you post won’t be seen by everyone who follows you. Identify the content that can most significantly help achieve your goals and elevate it as much as possible.
TREND #3: Email Renaissance
Why will email marketing become even MORE important in 2017? See Trend #2. “With social media channels moving toward revenue growth,” Content Marketing Institute says, “brands have almost no control over communicating with fans and followers.” They need other ways to grow their base, and email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to do that. While some experts are predicting the decline of email’s power, it’s not going anywhere, folks. Some of the country’s largest companies are actually increasing their email communications and staff, while many marketers still rate the vitality of their email program as one of their top metrics for success.
Tip #3: Move away from a “one size fits all” approach through an enewsletter that offers only a little bit of information to a lot of different audiences. Instead, focus on more targeted content that is relevant and actionable to those who receive it.
TREND #4: Print Resurgence
Here we grow again. Common “thought” continues to presume print is dead, yet actual “research” continues to prove otherwise. According to the most recent State of the American Traveler report, print usage in travel planning has not only jumped to its highest level in years (nearly 50%) but is also equally popular among all age groups – Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and, yes, even Millennials. Successful marketers get it. Formerly digital-only companies like Airbnb, VFiles and School of Doodle have all announced (or published) their own print magazines in recent months. Why? As digital clutter continues to grow, destinations need to focus on effective ways to cut through it. And what’s more anti-digital than … print!
Tip #4: Give your destination print guides the same respect you do your website. Invest the time, resources and strategy needed to ensure they’re an equally strong part of your marketing mix.