In part one of our 2017 Destination Marketing Trends & Predictions blog series, we discussed the rise of big data and virtual reality in travel and tourism for the coming year. Part 2 unveils several other strategies gaining traction, such as last-chance tourism, pared-down destination experiences and multi-channel campaigns.

 

Last-Chance Tourism

Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing has said that “There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel in the new year. Whether they’re taking a road trip to a well-known domestic destination or visiting an exotic international locale, today’s travellers are seeking experiences that are unique and immersive.”

Taking unique experiences one step further, last-chance tourism focuses on trips to destinations that are under threat of disappearing due to current environmental, economic or political situations, creating a “hurry while it lasts” mentality. A sad and somewhat foreboding concept, DMOs that want to turn an unfortunate situation into a good one are focusing on rare travel opportunities that also encourage eco-conscious hotels, activities and even charitable donations that go towards the preservation of these sensitive environments, which include the Great Barrier Reef, The Maldives and the Arctic.

 

Pared-Down Destination Experiences

Many of today’s most popular destinations focus less on quantity and more on quality, whether through smaller, but better-tasting, sustainable portions of food at resorts, or through minimalistic rooms featuring higher quality and eco-conscious furniture and appliances. This pared-down destination experience provides a stylish and simplified trip that is popular with a growing generation of environmentally sound millennials and post-millennials. These demographics, according to a recent Nielsen study, “…continue to be most willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings,” despite the fact that they are coming of age in one of the most difficult economic climates in the past 100 years.

 

Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns

Similar to Big Data, “multi-channel” is a term that brands have been hearing about a lot recently. It describes the many different channels that businesses and brands use to interact with their customers, including: website, contact centre, email, virtual assistant, social media, post mail, text and in-store. Unsurprisingly, digital channels have overtaken old-school methods for tourism bookings and transactions, with the online travel sector expected to grow at an annual rate of 3.8% over the next 10 years to $11.4 trillion, according to Smart Insights.

Likewise, consumer reliance on mobile devices remains strong, with up to 65% of tourists booking hotels reservations for the same day on a mobile device according to Statistic Brain, and more than half of the traveler’s booking travel products through the mobile sites and apps of travel agents, according to Whatech.

For brands, multi-channel requires dedicated teams to monitor, assess and develop offers and campaigns for each individual channel, in addition to offers that extend to other channels. More broadly, it requires organizations to cohesively bring the varying channels together for high-level management of brand consistency and customer experience, whether through customer experience technology or dedicated oversight teams. A rapidly growing and unchartered space, multi-channel is sure to change the DMO landscape for years to come.