In trendsSocial

2016 is predicted to be an interesting year for the travel sector.  We've been trawling the media for some of the key trends which we think will make an impact, both on our customers and visitors to their destinations.

Social Media - Value over Volume

Although brands such as Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp all developed monetisation strategies and experienced huge growth in 2015, 2016 will be more about brands considering which channels are relevant to their audience and how to use them effectively for the right type of interaction.

Content Marketing Strategies

Mobile and image based content will be a strong focus for content marketing strategies in 2016.  As phone size increases and bandwidth improves the popularity of image sharing via social media has grown.  Visual storytelling combined with personalisation will increasingly allow brands to cut through the noise by creating content which reflects the preferences and behaviour of their consumers.

Rise of Moment Marketing

This involves connecting your online activity to what's going on in the offline environment.  This could be a change in the weather, the screening of a TV ad campaign or the launch of an event.  The major benefit of this type of marketing is that messages can be instantly fine-tuned for relevancy and then shared across multiple platforms on a global scale.

Video

An explosion of video content is predicted with video being set to make up 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2019 with more people now watching digital video than ever before.  The time adults spend watching digital video each day increased from 21 minutes in 2011 to one hour and 16 minutes in 2015. (Source: www.emarketer.com)

Virtual Reality

This will present opportunities to create more immersive and interactive experiences generally but will be particularly effective for the travel sector, taking visitor engagement to a whole new level.  Camera manufacturers are currently working on new technology which will allow visitors to share their travel experiences in 360 degree virtual reality from every angle.

Message Commerce

Brands will increasingly interact with consumers via messaging apps for customer service enquiries, managing bookings and making purchases reducing the need for human interaction.  Dutch airline, KLM has already confirmed that booking confirmations and boarding passes will be supplied via Facebook Messenger by the end of the year.

Cloud Passports

Australia and New Zealand could be the first countries to introduce cloud passports including biometric data, a digital photo and other ID, eliminating the need to carry an actual physical passport.  Passports will be stored online and accessed and downloaded by customs agents as required.  The security issues relating to cloud-based passports are currently being debated so its potential to go global is in question at this stage.

Experiential Travel

With more sophisticated segmentation travel brands can cut through the noise by delivering more personal experiences based on what visitors want, even if they haven't realised it yet.  Pictures may no longer be enough and we'll see more authentic experiences being delivered such as Hawaiian Airline's recent creation of an artificial beach in the middle of Beijing and their hula-dancing shows in New York City. 

More intuitive customer experiences

Algorithms will increasingly be used to predict how people want to travel, using their preferences and creating an entire itinerary of sightseeing, hotel reservations and restaurants.

Data & Privacy

2016 will be the year for consumers asserting ownership of their personal data.  New legislation, nick-named the 'snoopers charter' is already being discussed which will allow internet service providers to make browsing data available to the security services and further legislation is on its way from the EU. This may push consumers towards more encrypted services. 

Demand for the sharing economy

Key players in the thriving sharing economy, Uber and Airbnb changed the way we thought about travel in 2015.  Airbnb offers website listings for people wanting to list, rent and find lodging and now has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.  In 2016 we'll see the continued expansion of its Airbnb for business programme allowing business travellers to stay at unique places with local hosts. The arrival of new entrants trying to undercut their prices and innovate their products is inevitable.

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