2015 was a year of much innovation, experimentation and a witness to the ever-increasing usage of technology in travel and hospitality. From Uber-style private jet companies to biometric-boarding to 3D-printed hotel suites, 2015 had it all. And, with the pace of change in the travel and tourism industry accelerating faster than ever, it’s only natural for travel marketers this year to match it, if not surpass it.

But, for the purpose of this post, I’m going to keep it simple and stick to some of the more realistic and achievable things travel and hospitality marketers can look towards implementing in 2016. As the saying goes, a small leak will sink a great ship. It’s the little things that make big things happen and that’s what you need to get right.

So what are some these little things that we can expect to see and implement in 2016? Hear it from the experts.

I. It’s all about mobile

Parth Kapoor, Director at Hotel P.R. Residency: I think one of the emerging travel trends 2016 will be the rise in mobile bookings as the number of bookings has increased a lot through mobile apps. Moreover, the OTA’s are offering more discounts through their apps rather than on desktop websites.

Amit Chowdhury, President & Chief Operating Officer at Adventure Nation: App and mobile marketing appear to be gaining traction. Marketers need to focus on mobile marketing because, in terms of usage and search, mobile will see figures double of a desktop.

Aashish Chopra, Head – Content Marketing at Mobile numbers are skyrocketing, desktop traffic has been on the decline, 2016 will see the mobile curve go way north. Think big, but execute for small screen size.

Tip for Travel Marketers:

  1. Make your travel or hospitality website mobile responsive ASAP
  2. Get a mobile app for your business. That’s where the millennials are. That’s where the money is.

II. Think video

The other important trend to look out for is video marketing. I’m sure you would have noticed Facebook and other social network newsfeeds experimenting with a lot of video content. That’s where you need to be as well.

Aashish Chopra

2016 will be the year of videos, more than 50% mobile traffic is already dominated by videos. Also, with 4G expected to become mainstream in ’16, Facebook will start injecting more videos in newsfeeds (as it does in other countries),” predicts Aashish from  

Tip for Travel Marketers:

You don’t necessarily need to invest in huge agency budgets and fancy videos. It could really be in any form. The idea is to just make the content visually appealing.

  1. We conduct webinars on a regular basis. That’s our way of experimenting with video marketing to generate and engage with leads.
  2. For travel and hospitality marketers, uploading and sharing a short video on Instagram would work just as well. And it’s free!
  3. With YouTube ads (they work on CPV model), you pay only when the users view your ads, so this gives a huge pay per reach opportunity if done wisely.  

III. Focus on Instagram

Instagram really is a great tool to generate new leads and engage with existing ones, specifically for the travel and hospitality industry. Very few industries can leverage it as well as you can.

Travel Trends 2016
Parth Kapoor

“Instagram will be a huge success in this coming year because of the visual advertisement platform it offers. The person is able to see the pictures of the concerned hotel due to which the conversion rate is higher,” explains Parth from Hotel P.R. Residency.

The hashtags work extremely well in case of Instagram. You could also try running ads on the platform. However, before taking out the money, I’d suggest you use it free and see how that works.

Aashish Chopra

Tip for Travel Marketers:

We at LeadSquared are also on Instagram (although, I must admit that we are a bit late to the party). Nevertheless, we are there now and believe me, it does drive engagement. We still don’t have a massive following to boast about but slowly and steadily, we are getting there. Adding 10 followers a week / per post is decent I’d assume. So get started now and post some amazing pictures!!

IV. Niche targeting

Adventure means different things to different people. What may be an adventure to me might be something completely different to you.

Amit Chowdhury - Adventure Nation
Amit Chowdhury

Amit from Adventure Nation says, “There seems to be a movement towards targeting niches within the travel arena (activity / experience / education).”

He predicts that,

  • Activity based products will register a growth of 30-40%
  • Weekend and short holidays will be the focus of marketers
  • Products meant for domestic markets will register huge gains

Tip for Travel Marketers:

This would particularly be crucial to those travel businesses who provide a plethora of activities, tours and travels and have to deal with a wide target audience. Niche targeting is the way to go.

So these were some of the travel trends 2016, that our experts think will be the game changers this year? Do you agree? Would love to hear your thoughts around it. Leave a comment if you have any or if you just want to say something nice :)

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