Skift, a leading resource in travel-specific news, data, and trends, recently released their 2016 “State of Travel” report. From identifying leading up-and-coming travel destinations to providing advertising benchmarks specific to the category, the 137-page document is filled a variety of useful travel industry insights.
Ahead, we’re sharing the 3 findings we think will have the most impact for the content marketer.
Mobile is exploding.
Given smartphone addiction has become an increasingly global phenomenon, it is no surprise that mobile is an utterly dominant trend, travel-wise. Indeed, travel bookings are rapidly on the rise: In just over one year, the percentage of worldwide mobile travel bookings has increased from 9% (Q1 2014) to 23% (Q1 2015). Moreover, estimates project that mobile travel bookings will hit $69.8M by 2019.
This staggering growth means that a mobile-optimized web presence is no longer a “nice to have” for a hospitality brand – it’s a must. While best practices somewhat carry over from desktop to mobile, there are some mobile-specific tactics the marketer should employ. Ensure your mobile site avoids such pitfalls as having unplayable content (such as flash animation), faulty redirects (all URLs should be available on both the desktop and mobile sites), and pesky content-blocking interstitials. All can create a poor user experience, plus can trigger Google to demote your website’s rank.
Domestically, events and meetings are on the rise.
Yes, e-mail is critical, but there is still an appetite for face-to-face correspondence, as evidenced by a 3.5% increase in events and meetings domestically over the past five years. While conference and convention centers are still home to some of these events, the majority – 53% – of them are held at hotels. Interestingly, most of these gatherings aren’t mega-events: 40% require 3,000-9,999 square feet of meeting and/or exhibit space.
Given the business potential, these findings are important for hotels with meeting and event capabilities: These assets must be highlighted digitally and this content must be SEO optimized. To do so, the marketer should build out a separate “Meetings and Events” webpage and conduct keyword research specific to that query, including local search terms into the mix. Don’t forget to include all relevant information about your event and meeting spaces, such as technology and equipment capabilities, Wi-Fi access, and seating capacity – all are selling points.
When it comes to travel research and booking, search engines are king.
Search engines play a critical role from start to finish of the purchase funnel, the report finds. In fact, 48.4% of respondents noted that travel research begins through a search engines, with 28.4% reporting that search engines are the “most influential” source when booking. This finding energizes the hospitality marketer to ensure that website content is relevant, keyword-rich, and continually updated.
After all, your next customer is searching for you.