TV, digital display and press advertising are no longer the go-to channels for travel brands launching new products, with social media now seen as the most important way to generate buzz, new research reveals.

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It's probably been that way for a little while, in truth, but the findings by launch marketing specialist agency Five by Five show how multi-faceted launches have become.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of the travel marketers quizzed in the survey said they now prioritise social media in their launch marketing plans. Sales promotion (53%) is seen as the next most important channel, followed by email (38%) and direct mail (32%). TV and press advertising had to make do with joint-fifth (29%).

It appears to be a wise move from travel brands to side-line those 'traditional' channels, with a previous Five by Five study from last year showing that just 6% of consumers find TV advertising to be a key factor in whether or not they bought a new product.

Here's what else we took away from the new study:

1. Social channels are great for speed and awareness

Social media is instant – once you've hit post, up goes the content and you're away and promoting. That speed of delivery is crucial today, what with nine out of ten marketers working in the travel sector stating that the average time between the idea first originating and launching the product has shrunk over the past five years.

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Three quarters (74%) of travel markets now only have six months or less to prepare for a product launch. Naturally, then, they head to social media, where they can begin to generate awareness before the product actually launches. You simply can't do that with TV – the product has to be available for purchase before you can even think about a TV campaign.

2. Social media is made to be measured

Almost nine in ten (89%) of the marketers working in travel said they are now able to make better informed decisions about their product launches. Social media has provided us with a wealth of consumer data, which can be aligned with insights from elsewhere to make more incisive moves with the marketing of your new product or service.

That insight-building process can take place way in advance of your product being launched – nearly two-thirds of travel marketers (59%) use social listening to support their new product development.

3. Travel firms need to move quickly

The three factors most likely to threaten the successful launch of a new product or service within travel are competitor activity (47%), ineffective marketing communications and slow processes (ranked equally at 38%).

Travel firms, then, need to move quickly to ensure they get their product or service to market before their rivals do. That's complicated by senior marketers stating they spend an average of 40% of their time on launch activity, suggesting that they need to find ways to cut corners elsewhere in order to dedicate as much time to launches as possible.

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