Things have changed, but how consumers find their vacation spot and book it will remain nearly the same as it has in the previous 3-5 years. Searching online, watching videos, reading content and most importantly, asking people they know or going to where others on their social networks have gone.

TREND #1: Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting has been around for years and MediaOne has spearheaded it. Contextual targeting is reaching people with ads based on the content they are reading. It will be more important than ever with 3rd party cookies in decline, Apple privacy and other technologies being used to keep people more anonymous online. With contextual targeting, it doesn’t matter so much what a person looks like or what they drive, but instead you can target them based on what they are researching to purchase. If someone starts searching for and reading about “best places to visit in Tennessee”, they are most likely looking for travel ideas. We want your destination in front of them immediately.

TREND #2: Video Production Consistency and Repurposing Video

How many tourism destinations have YouTube channels with high quality video but it only comes out a couple times a year and has a few hundred views? You can change that by putting together inexpensive videos, repurposing video footage you haven’t used before and developing a calendar for regular video releases of interesting topics. This list explains strategies and tactics to succeed with online video. Things like building your videos around a single keyword/topic (which will also help SEO), reusing existing top performing content, paid promotion and more. This also ties in with a few of our other trends of digital word of mouth and partnerships with well-known brands.

TREND #3: Better email

Email remains a no-brainer but not everyone does it well. First of all, email has the best ROI of all channels and has for years. One of the biggest issues we see is adding bad emails to your list and not making inboxes, particularly in Gmail. Other issues are not coming up with interesting content and not planning ahead for seasonal content, supplementing this for SEO and matching it to social media posting. Last, and possibly most important is the lack of testing. If you’re not testing subject lines, day of week and time of day, you need to get a new email management company.

TREND #4: Brand + DMO/CVB Partnerships

You may not even know this is a thing, but many tourism brands are intermingling with brands like food and retail. One such example is taking a group of convention and visitors bureaus like OBX of North Carolina with 3-4 others plus Advanced Auto and their email database of 5+ million. The partnership included things like a sweepstakes with an awesome prize, in-store promotions, social media and more. This partnership resulted in over 100k entries and a ton of new emails for their databases. Partnerships can be a lot of different things, but the important thing is that the brands getting together have similar target audiences and agree on a goal to accomplish with the campaign. The campaigns typically run for 1-3 months.

TREND #5: Digital Word of Mouth

Research shows that consumers learn about new brands through word of mouth and social media followed by some other tactics like cable TV and digital ads. In 2022, it is as important as ever to make ads and the messaging shareable and easy to remember. The book, Contagious, says, “So to get people talking, companies and organizations need to mint social currency. Give people a way to make themselves look good while promoting their products and ideas along the way.” The need to make marketing shareable, by spoken word, memes, videos, etc. will continue to lead the way to drive sales and awareness, but it’s not easy.

TREND #6 – our wild one: The Metaverse

The metaverse has been around in various ways but big companies like Facebook are jumping in. Grand Theft Auto and other games are precursors to the bigger metaverse that is starting to come out now with Facebook actually changing their name to Meta. Did you know you can buy land in the Metaverse? Snoop Dogg made millions of dollars in December 2021 by selling land in his Sandbox. The movie, Ready Player One is what many people talk about when trying to describe the Metaverse, though the movie is more dystopian. The website, OpenSea has a list of the top virtual world NFTs. It’s a little hard to comprehend right now but people are buying virtual land, creating virtual avatars, using VR technology and hanging out in online worlds.

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