When it comes to travel, our increasingly digital world knows no borders – a reality that is both exciting and challenging for the marketer. For while there’s potential to reach new audiences and experience tremendous growth, these audiences come with a unique set of demands and needs. A one-size-fits-all approach to content certainly does not work in this new paradigm: Marketers need to literally and metaphorically speak many languages to connect with this international audience and identify international travel trends.
Indeed, to be a global brand is to also be a local brand, a point underscored by a recent report co-authored by travel experts Skift and content translation leaders Smartling. In the report, they make several important points that an international travel brand should bear in mind. Ahead, we highlight three of their international travel trends.
Global travel is on the rise. Invest wisely.
Even if you’re not actively pursuing an international audience, know that a worldly traveler is pursuing you. According to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) survey from February 2016, air travel was up 6.5% from 2014, while global hotel room rates hit a new high in 2015 (Source: hotel data company STR). Add in the fact that millennials are investing in international travel at rates that surpass older generations, and global travel has never been more ripe for explosion. In order to capture this potentially huge audience, the savvy travel marketer must optimize a brand’s web presence. This means investing in automated translation services that dynamically adapt when content is adjusted, ensuring consistency from platform to platform.
Travelers want a one-on-one approach.
The modern traveler is not looking to outsource their booking experience to third-party websites or travel agents. In fact, according to Atmosphere Research Group, booking directly on hotel chain websites accounted for 25% of total bookings in 2015, surpassing that of online travel aggregators (20%). This means that travel and hospitality brands that wish to participate in a global conversation must cater to a global audience. Savvy marketers cannot assume that international travelers will “find” a property through circuitous (or native) means: Increasingly, they’ll be looking to find (and book) through you directly, regardless of where you’re located. Be ready to speak to them.
Mobile needs to be a priority.
We recently highlighted several of our takeaways from Skift’s 2016 “State of Travel” report, one of which was the explosion of mobile. Indeed, travelers are becoming rapidly mobile-forward, with research firm eMarketer noting that nearly 52% of all international travelers who book trips via digital use their mobile devices at some point. Moreover, in a survey conducted by Fuel, 61.4% of respondents said they would use a mobile app to purchase a late checkout while more than 50% said they would like check-in and buy additional services with an app during their stay if given the opportunity. Add in the fact that a younger, digitally savvy segment is leading the international travel surge, and this points to one giant trend: Mobile content must be a priority. Aside from investing in translation services, consider developing language-specific apps to cater to this tech-hungry audience. After all, your next booking is only a swipe away.