It’s true – 2014 is almost here and the travel trends for the New Year are already being touted! During this week’s Public Relations Society of America Travel & Tourism webinar, Skift.com’s Jason Clampet, co-founder of leading travel industry news website, shared his travel forecast for 2014.
Based on his insight, here are three steps that Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) can take to be like a good Scout and “Be Prepared” to meet the demands of 2014.
1. Now is the time to prioritize your DMO’s mobile marketing strategy. Smartphones and tablets are becoming the preferred device for consumers to research and book travel.
2. Review your business tourism marketing strategy to meet the needs of travelers who are increasingly adding-on leisure components to their trips. What can your DMO do to entice business travelers to extend their stay?
3. If content is “King” then design is “Queen.” From website design to a hotel room layout, the ‘Apple-fication’ of the world has raised the bar on smart design for consumer products and services. Smart DMOs are already transforming their content-heavy websites to ensure they are easy on the eye and easily searchable.
So what were Clampet’s projected trends for 2014? Check out the slideshow of trends below.
Vacation Rentals Become Like Hotels: As airbnb.com continues to pique consumer interest, legacy vacation rental companies such as HomeAway.com are transforming their business models to compete with their successful new competitor.
The Normalization of Loyalty: Airlines and hotel groups will place more emphasis on their customer loyalty programs to keep bookings within their control. A rewarding and engaging loyalty program prevents valued customers from being swayed away by special deals and promotions available on rival booking platforms.
Photo courtesy of Blog Economista.
Curation of Booking Listings: The explosion of OTAs and online hotel booking websites such as Top10.com, Tablet Hotels and Room 77 have created a crowded market for consumers to navigate. Websites are simplifying their design and streamlining their booking process for easier user experience. This includes offering a smaller selection of offers and integrated sorting tools built into website search functions.
Travel Content Marketing Will Be Smarter: To keep up with savvy consumers who are no longer swayed by traditional advertising, travel marketers are inspiring and engaging target consumers by developing interesting content. The goal is to capture and hold the target market’s attention well before they begin the trip decision making process.
‘Local’ Matters More at Hotels: Hotels have evolved with the experiential travel trend. Many accommodations are now positioning their establishments as an experience, not just a place to sleep. Elements of the destination in which the property is located are being fused into the service offerings to provide a unique sense of place for guests.
Mobile Matters Even More: As smartphones penetrate 50% of the US market, mobile commerce continues to grow. Travel brands are investing heavily to ensure their digital offerings are user-friendly and reach the consumer at all stages of the buying process.
The Rise of the Independent Chinese Traveler: The inbound Chinese traveler to the US is becoming more sophisticated and slowly moving away from group travel experiences. While group travel still dominates, as Chinese become more familiar and confident with international travel, they desire more authentic experiences when abroad and are willing to make the trip alone.
Further Blurring of Business and Leisure Travel: As more business travelers book their own corporate trips, many are adding on personal days to explore the destinations they are visiting.
Photo courtesy of LA Streets Blog