The Future of Travel Marketing: Key Trends and Takeaways
Evok recently attended the 2023 Destinations Florida (https://www.fadmo.org/) Annual Meeting, bringing together Florida tourism boards, media partners, agencies, and influencers. With travel continuing to rapidly evolve post-pandemic, attendees were eager to exchange ideas and strategies, drawing on market-leading examples throughout the world. There were many great speakers, consensus, and insights. Some are highlighted below:
Travelers increasingly expect personalized and customized interactions. AI and machine learning allow marketers to deliver dynamic content and offers tailored to individual interests and behaviors. For example, destinations can recommend specific hotels based on a visitor’s past trips and travel style. Brands like TourRadar (www.tourradar.com) – a global tour operator – are finding success pairing travelers with the right guides and groups using profiling. Personalization will only grow as more data informs hyper-relevant messaging and experiences.
Off the Beaten Path
Many travelers now seek undiscovered places and hidden gems outside major tourist centers and attractions. They crave more sustainable and authentic local experiences. Brands like Unusual Hotels (https://www.unusualhotelsoftheworld.com) help people book quirky, independent accommodations that reflect regional character. Marketers should highlight unique neighborhoods and small businesses that tell a destination’s real story. Promoting road trips between lesser-known spots also taps into this trend. Travelers increasingly want trips that enrich their lives, create memories, forge connections, give back, and align with their values. They also seek more sustainable and responsible travel choices.
Destinations and hotels embracing ecotourism, social causes and local culture connect more deeply with values-driven travelers. Volunteer programs, carbon offsets and green practices also matter more. For example, Iceland has emphasized sustainably showcasing natural wonders over marketing volumes. Evok has been at the forefront of this tourism niche for many years, including managing EcoTourism Florida (https://www.ecotourismflorida.com).
Many travelers have adopted a “life’s too short for boring vacations” mindset. They want activities and experiences that teach new skills, build knowledge and bring self-improvement. From learning regional cuisines to art workshops to adventure retreats, interactive experiences create memories. Brands like Unforgettable Croatia (https://unforgettablecroatia.com/) offer exclusive wine tours and cooking classes with celebrated chefs for more immersive cultural engagement. Providing deep insight into local lifestyles and traditions is a powerful marketing angle.
This continues to dominate marketing campaigns, with over 80% of travelers relying on video when making decisions. Short inspiring travel videos easily grab attention on social media. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and Stories enable more viral distribution. However, 70% of travel video content is poorly optimized, missing out on engagement and conversions. Ensuring videos are mobile-first, highlighting emotional stories, leveraging captions and smart SEO is key. User-generated videos are also a powerful addition for authenticity.
Summary – The Travel Industry is Recovering
But the landscape has shifted. Personalized and purposeful trips, educational experiences and off-the-beaten path destinations now compel visitors. Meanwhile, optimized video content and creative distribution channels allow more engaging storytelling. By embracing these trends and crafting marketing strategies aligned with evolving traveler values and preferences, brands can connect in more meaningful ways. The future looks bright for travel marketers attentively shaping their approach.