With more than $8.8 trillion dollars flowing into the travel and tourism
market every year, it’s no surprise that brands and agencies in this
industry tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to innovative marketing
As among the first to embrace and capitalize on new technologies and
marketplace shifts, travel marketers often lead the way for brand leaders in
other industries each year. 2020 will be no exception.
Here are some key areas
where travel marketers will be leading the charge on strategic and tactical
Taking a full-funnel view
At a strategic level, 2020 will be a pivotal year when it
comes to shifting away from transaction-focused media plans to ones that take a
more holistic view of fueling the full funnel.
Travel marketing has been
heavily focused on closing the sale through retargeting ads and other
lower-funnel tactics over the past decade.
However, as competition increases in
these lower funnel channels, and promotional costs rise correspondingly, travel
marketers are going to focus more on diversifying their media mixes. Expect to
see more travel dollars spent in the earlier stages of the customer journey, as
a way of growing demand and consideration.
After all, travel is a high-ticket,
considered purchase. Meeting potential customers throughout their journey is
essential to ensuring long-term sales growth and driving brand loyalty.
Deepening content and influencer partnerships
The emphasis on content partners and influencers in travel
will continue to rise in 2020.
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After all, these are the publications and people
to which travelers turn when they’re considering a trip and looking for
inspiration and advice on where and how to plan their journey.
with respected publishers and personalities, travel brands can both garner
high-level awareness for their brands at the top of the funnel and be
well-positioned to execute on short-term campaigns by amplifying their messages
through these partners.
Many travel brands have already employed influencer tactics
within their marketing mixes.
But as awareness and consideration become more
highly prioritized among their KPIs, travel marketers will expand their
campaigns to deeper, longer-term engagements that build relationships with
publications’ and influencers’ audiences over time.
to customer quality
As partnerships deepen among travel brands and content
partners, the way in which they prioritize and reward these relationships will
evolve as well.
More and more, customer acquisition through partnerships will
be rewarded not based on the sheer number of customers reached and acquired,
but rather according to the quality and ultimate lifetime value (LTV) of those
Within the world of affiliate and partnerships in which I work,
technology has responded with commissioning systems that reward partners on
LTV, gross margin, occupancy rates and more.
Harnessing deeper mobile
Travel marketers will rethink how they’re tracking,
measuring and attributing engagement and conversions within their customer
Now more than ever, that means getting a handle on the mobile
component of the journey on media and partner properties - an area that has
been sorely lacking in most brands’ attribution planning.
But given the rise in
mobile bookings, combined with the shift to greater reliance on partner
marketing channels, these connections will be essential for proper campaign
Cracking down on fraud
While the success of digital travel marketing including
partnership is exciting, it also attracts the attention of unsavory operators.
A travel brands look to understand true ROI and reward their most profitable
partners, they will need to make a concerted effort to weed out fraudulent
activity within this channel. That way they can ensure the right partners are
getting credit for every legitimate transaction.
This is particularly critical
for travel marketers in China and Southeast Asia, where app and other fraud is
among the highest in the world.
Making loyalty more experiential
Finally, just as travel marketers have
always been pioneers when it comes to boosting customer lifetime value through
loyalty programs, they will continue to lead the way here by transitioning
these programs for the new customer reality, where experiences can often trump
Increasingly, travel loyalty programs will shift from simple
points-based, buy-five-get-one scenarios to more immersive, customizable
loyalty rewards programs that speak to customers’ lifestyles rather than just
their appetite for discounts.
The rest of the marketing world will be watching the travel
space for signals as to what’s to come next in their industries, and travel
marketers will not disappoint.
In 2020, it will be about expanding horizons,
building new partnerships, locking down cross-device attribution once and for
all - and building deeper customer relationships all the while.
About the author...
Lauren DeMetro is customer success director at Partnerize