A new year has arrived and we are already seeing destination marketing and travel and tourism predictions that point to an exciting year of AI, micro-trips, micro-moments, mobile dominance and more. For those looking to get the scoop on what to expect in the industry during 2019, look no further than our list below:

 

AI Gets Smarter, Making Personalization Paramount
 

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is making great strides when it comes to predicting and identifying consumer behaviours. One scroll down your own Facebook or Instagram feed and you’ll see the technology at work, sending you targeted ads, posts and articles that are based on your personal history, chats, age, location and the other endless data that it analyses on a daily basis.

When it comes to booking travel, most individuals find this technology useful and personalized. In fact:

  • According to Google, 57% of travellers feel that brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviours.
  • 36% of travellers would be willing to pay more for these personalized services.
  • 52% of travellers said they would be excited about technology travel innovations such a digital tour guides that could create a truly personalized experience, according to booking.com.
     

‘Micro’ Gets Big
 

While the horizon for digital technology is only getting bigger, some aspects of travel marketing are getting smaller.
 

Micro Influencers

Micro influencers are exactly what they sound like: They are social media influencers who have a fewer number of followers, but tremendous clout with their base. According to The Start-Up, micro influencers

  • Create 60% higher campaign engagement rates over the average
  • Offer most value for their cost, with 6.7 times more return per engagement when compared to influencers with large followings
  • Earn 22.2% more weekly conversations than the average consumer

Of course, each influencer’s ability to positively affect marketing initiatives depends on factors such as timing, planning, investment and effort, but overall, this trend (which was also big last year) remains strong in 2019.

Want to learn more about micro influencers? Read our blog on Influencer Marketing.
 

Micro Trips

Micro Trips are predicted to be big in 2019, exemplifying the growing traveller desire to partake in short-term or weekend trips. According to booking.com, 53% of travellers say they plan to take more weekend trips in 2019, maximizing their budgets and time with short, close-to-home trips and highly personalized or curated itineraries.

Mobile booking apps, real-time rental and booking information, and the overall ease in which we can now plan our trips, especially with mobile technology, are all attributed to the rise of micro-travel.

Meanwhile, the overall ability for us to rent cars, book cheap accommodations and discover the best hole-in-the-wall eateries on-the-go and in-the-moment has been deemed by Google as:
 

Micro Moments Aided by Mobile Dominance

Long gone are the days when travel planning took hours, and here are the days when trips are created in an instant. We now get immediate answers, book our trips and participate in micro-moments with our mobile phones every day.

“Thanks to mobile, micro-moments can happen anytime, anywhere. In those moments, consumers expect brands to address their needs with real-time relevance,” reports Google, highlighting the growing consumer need to have immediate engagement, satisfaction and real-time support in almost every aspect of our lives, including travel.

In fact, “Compared to two years ago, smartphone users today are 50% more likely to expect to purchase something immediately while using their smartphones,” says Google.

In the travel industry, these trends are similar. Research from Sojern Global Travel Insights has found that:

  • In the US, data shows that 26% of travel searches in the fourth quarter of last year occurred on a mobile device.
  • In Europe, 47% of travel searches were mobile
  • In Asia, 40% of travel searches were mobile
  • In the Middle East and Africa, 38% of travel searches were mobile
  • In Latin America, 34% of travel searches were mobile

Similarly, Google Consumer Insights found that over 70% of U.S. travellers agree that they ‘always’ use their smartphones when travelling, often to research attractions, activities, shopping and dining experiences.

 

Last-Minute Bookings Will Increase
 

Another effect that mobile dominance has had on the industry concerns ‘last-minute’ bookings. A great way for consumers to snag great prices and for hospitality providers to sell their excess or lagging stock, last-minute bookings are on the rise with no sign of slowing down. In particular:

  • Travel-related searches for “tonight” and “today” grew over 150% on mobile, in 2015 and 2016, according to Google Data
  • 72% of all mobile bookings made by U.S. travellers occurred within a 48-hour time period prior to the booking, according to Sojern Global Travel Insights.
  • More than 60% of U.S. travellers would consider an impulse trip based on a good hotel or flight deal, says Google with Phocuswright
  • 38% of bookings are made on the same day or two days before a trip, 53% are made within a week of a trip, states Google with Phocuswright

A big year that focuses on many ‘small’ changes, we’re excited to see where these predictions take DMOs in the coming months.