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Latest Travel Marketing Trends

Monday, December 23, 2013
Grant Whiteside

The IAB released their latest figures on the Travel brands and how they engaged with their audiences. It came as no surprise to hear that only 48% of the top 50 brands had a mobile friendly website, yet only 6% of them had tablet specific content created. Putting this into context, a few months back we discussed the changing demands of content consumption as Google cited a growth of 129% YOY in searches from tablets in Q2 2013 and in Q3 we saw no real slow down as YOY growth still grew to 93%. Reading through the metrics; is the travel sector not responding fast enough to the demands of their potential audience groups?

OK, so not everyone needs a tablet specific experience, but I’m firm believer that with the cost of brochures and postage on the increase and only 20% of the top Travel brands joining up the single customer view, an engaging, interactive tablet brochure may be a reasonable solution for a few niche luxury players in the travel market.

The stats speak for themselves, 44% of all travel searches in the UK are now performed on a mobile or tablet device, an increase of 15% on the year before. It comes as no surprise that looking through all the recent reports covering the technical / marketing road map of what Travel and Retail brands are looking to achieve in the next year there are two key areas of growth. We will see more brands providing their digital assets through apps, tablet and responsive designed websites and the ability to make better business decisions through business intelligence and analytics. (Some people call this Big Data)

Responsive Design?

Only 2 out of the top 50 Travel brands in the recent IAB report used responsive designed transactional websites. Congratulations to Hotels.com and Trivago. In comparison, 16 out of the top 50 had no mobile presence at all (they had no responsive designed website, no tablet design and no app). This looks like a metric that is likely to change as user engagement and conversions seem to be so closely related to poor bounce rates and website exits, more brands will look to engage their audiences over a wider range of devices.

Advertising to specific audience groups is on the rise with 42% of the top 50 brands now advertising to mobile devices, however there is a need for catching up with the technology as this suggests 6% of the top 50 may not be using device specific advertising to their new mobile friendly websites. To support this further, the research also discovered 4 out of the top 50 Travel brands were using click to call adverts on the search engines but had no responsive design for their websites. It should come as no surprise that 3 of these 4 brands were not using a singular customer view to measure and understand their audience engagement.

What are customers doing to research their Travel experience?

Google latest market trends for October 2013 are stating that Travel is obviously a multi device search experience.Trust and usability of using different devices is still increasing but PC’s still account for 79.6% of the final transactions, Tablet conversions rose year on year to 11.4% and Smartphone conversions increased to 9%. The collective total of 20% of all travel transactions now coming from mobiles and tablets is significant and demonstrates the risks and opportunities for brands that are not thinking about using responsive design or reaching out to their audience in a manner that is suitable to the consumer of 2014. This year has massive opportunities for travel brands but the consumer will not wait for companies that cannot keep up of the demands of the way their potential customers wish to research, review and transact.

Grant Whiteside
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