Travel is a fierce market. Marketers in the sector know that they need to make the booking process smoother, more convenient and hassle-free if they are going to win the competition for travellers' eye balls.
This intense competition has led travel brands into adopting some bold and inventive marketing strategies. Brands know that if they are not striving to be the best at what they do, customers will simply look elsewhere.
Let's take a look at four strategies that travel brands are having great success with, which you might (should) seek inspiration from:
Surely it won't be long before every brand adopts a mobile-first strategy? We've already reached the point whereby consumers are more likely to pick up their smartphone to browse the web than they are turn on their desktop computers.
"Mobile is massive," says Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs. Speaking to Marketing Week, he explains how adopting a mobile-first strategy resulted in its app and smartphones accounting for 90% of Ryanair's website traffic on Christmas Day – usually mobile represents about 55% of its traffic.
This proves that if the mobile offering is deemed good enough by users, that's where they will go.
2. Own the journey
Travel brands are beginning to make attempts to own the customer from end to end, playing into the customer trend for one-stop shopping.
If travellers can get away with it, they'll stick with the same company through the journey – they only have to download one app that way.
Last year, Airbnb moved away from being strictly a home-rental firm to become a full-blown travel company, with the launch of Trips. Trips gives travellers access to tours and experiences designed by local hosts, so they can experience the location like a local, as well as staying in a local's pad.
When you're competing in a highly competitive market like travel, you're probably going to need to take a risk or two to stand out among the competition.
That might mean going all-out on a marketing campaign, for example, or one further, letting customers drive your campaign. That's essentially what Virgin Holidays did last year with its 'Seize the Holiday' campaign.
The brand bought an expensive advertising slot during ITV's X Factor and filled it with one minute of live footage of Virgin Holidays' customers shot simultaneously across 18 holiday destinations worldwide.
With 16.9 million Twitter impressions and the highest ever volume of traffic Virgin Holidays had seen to its website, the risk paid off.
All marketing strategies should be customer-centric, of course, but while it's one thing to design a campaign around your customers, it's another to make the customer the hero of your campaign.
That's what Marriott International did with its 'You are Here' campaign, which was shot on location with members of its loyalty scheme telling stories of their experiences at hotels across the group.
The brand saw some impressive viewing figures from the campaign – one video rated 25% higher than the industry benchmark for time spent viewing an online video. It just goes to show the power of putting customers front and centre in a campaign.
How Digital Trip can help
While we can't force you to take risks, we can provide you with the technology to power those bold and inventive marketing strategies. Talk to us today about a tailor-made solution that meets your travel business needs and today's connected travellers' expectations.