The world of tourism is an incredibly dynamic and growing sector. In recent months, market trends in the tourism industry have experienced important changes and are still constantly adapting to the growing needs and demands of worldwide customers.
In this article, we will have a look at the top tourism trends that are set to define 2024 and beyond to help successfully increase your bookings on a long-term basis.
The Importance of Understanding Tourism Trends
Digitalisation has had an immense influence on the industry in the past years, and the importance of online travel markets is growing every day. More people are travelling internationally again, and by the end of this year, it is expected to be close to 90% of how things were before the pandemic. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) tells us that from January to September 2023, around 975 million tourists visited other countries. That’s a big increase of 38% compared to the same period in 2022.
This is why understanding and adapting to market trends in the tourism industry is truly vital to reach your desired audiences. As the expectations of customers are continuously increasing, It is absolutely necessary to stay ahead of emerging tendencies and already guide your digital marketing into the future to be prepared in the best way possible.
Tourism Customer Journey
When it comes to marketing in travel and tourism, the customer journey leads its way through inspiration, consideration, decision-making, booking and the post-trip reflection. That means that the customers are involved in various touchpoints during the whole process.
- Inspiration: This stage serves as the initial information-seeking phase where potential travellers explore ideas and information to ignite their interest
- Consideration: In this phase, individuals intensely assess various options, carefully weighing different factors such as destinations, activities and accommodations
- Decision-Making: Customers narrow down choices and make the final decision on their travel plans during this critical phase
- Booking: The pivotal point where customers commit to specific travel arrangements
- Post-trip Reflection: The final stage where travellers share their experiences and memories after the trip, offering an additional window for engagement
Every step of this journey is an explicit opportunity for digital marketing to leave a lasting impact. To be able to successfully respond to every step, it is essential to understand your customer and their needs and to target marketing efforts in a way that resonates with their expectations.
Given the complexity of the tourism customer journey, properly implemented digital marketing activities become even more essential. This is crucial to effectively connect with the travellers who are actively seeking to book their upcoming holiday with your brand.
Some of the upcoming tourism digital marketing trends that will grow even more in 2024 are…
Automation and Personalisation Take Center Stage
It is no surprise that in 2024, automated processes are one of the leading trends in tourism marketing as the digitalisation of the sector is moving forward and constantly adding more positive value to the efficiency and faster bookings. Next to automation, another tourism trend of the upcoming year is definitely personalisation. You will find no way past ensuring that you personalise and tailor the interests and behaviours of the customers in your marketing and advertising by creating relevant content for every user type. Customers nowadays want new and different content and inspiration ideas that make them feel unique. They also put quite high expectations on the possibility of the business to adapt quickly to their wishes and needs.
For example, Hilton Hotels & Resorts made personalisation one of its main strengths by specialising on individual customer values and analysing their specific preferences and past behaviours. It ranges from loyalty programs which give loyal guests personalised benefits with tailored email content to advertising campaigns that catch potential customers in the right moments of their dreaming phase.
Content Gets Even More Mobile-Friendly
As automated processes have generated a rise in bookings over smartphone apps, mobile marketing gains even more importance in travel and tourism trends of 2024. Smartphones are present in nearly every life situation and make it easy for customers to search for inspiration or even give reviews at home, in the bus or park. According to Condor Ferries, mobile sales have risen from 36% to almost 50% when compared to desktop or laptop sales, accounting for nearly half of all digital travel sales. Additionally, 70% of travellers now prefer to use their smartphones for researching travel information. That means that mobile-friendly content combined with responsive web design and mobile app for your service will give you a huge advantage in marketing and targeting the right customers.
Hostelworld is a great example of a successful mobile-friendly appearance as they adapted their content and marketing precisely to their target audience. The free Hostelworld app compacts some special and useful features which make it possible to look for inspiration, learn about the place you are planning to go, book your hostel, book tours and activities, give a review afterwards and even chat with other travellers.
Applications of Virtual Reality in Travel and Tourism Trends
Nowadays, once-in-a-lifetime experiences are what travellers are looking for. By incorporating the newest digital tourism trends into your marketing, you can change people’s ways of experiencing travel and give them a special involvement which they will never forget.
One of the (still very new) technological tools with a potential to develop into a great marketing gem over the next few years is virtual reality and its ability to generate virtual tours of a desired destination or accommodation. By making it possible for customers to see and experience the location before booking it, VR is able to provide your audience with a safer and more familiar feeling during the pivotal decision-making process.
Elevating Tourism Sector with User-Generated Content
User-Generated Content (UGC) is one of those trends in tourism marketing that can have an incredibly huge influence on travel decisions of your potential customers. Ranging from social media posts to exceptional reviews, a great UGC strategy engages with your customers by posting pictures and videos and sharing their travel experiences in a way that gives your business an authentic and trustworthy profile.
Especially for destination management organisations, UGC is a perfect way to reach new customers and elevate online visibility. For example, Visit Brisbane, the official destination management brand of the Australian city of Brisbane, is setting a successful example with their social media account, where they encourage travellers to post their photos and videos of their Brisbane experience with the hashtag #visitbrisbane. Statistics suggest that they collect thousands of new leads and Instagram followers, effectively catching the attention of their targeted audience.
Synergising Local SEO with Emerging Tourism Marketing Trends
When it comes to everlasting trends in tourism marketing, nothing is more essential to your business than appearing in the top search results after people type their dream travel destinations. But the ultimate goal of an effective Local SEO strategy is not only to secure a prime spot in search results, but also to drive substantial website traffic. By optimising for local search terms and incorporating location-specific keywords, tourism businesses can attract potential customers who are actively seeking services in their geographical area. This targeted approach ensures that the business is prominently featured when travellers are exploring destinations or accommodations, increasing the likelihood of capturing their attention and, ultimately, securing their business.
Staying attuned to these evolving tourism trends and integrating them into marketing strategies is essential for tourism businesses to properly navigate the ever-changing digital landscape. As an international agency specialising in the travel sector, we understand the intricate dynamics of this industry and how to successfully dominate SERP for top holiday destinations.
While digitalisation has certainly enhanced travel experiences, it is still important to nurture unique and personalised connections with your customers. This balanced approach ensures that your business not only keeps pace with market trends in the tourism industry but also maintains the essential human touch that resonates with travellers of the future.