by Sarah Schmidt, on December 2, 2015
The travel industry is undergoing tremendous change. Social media is opening up new creative ways for travel companies to market to consumers and broaden their reach. At the same time, mobile shopping is skyrocketing, forcing industry players to adapt quickly in order to capture the sales of on-the-go shoppers.
Perhaps most importantly, the sharing economy is now a multibillion dollar market and one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. Some analysts speculate that disruption is the “new normal” in the travel industry. To learn more about these shifts, read the blog post below.
The Power of Social Media
Vacation photos often play a starring role in people’s social media feeds. Some travel companies are using social media to fuel word-of-mouth marketing and encourage referrals from family and friends.
As an example, Vail Resorts spends 80 percent of its marketing budget on digital production and social media. Its EpicMix campaign enables skiers and snowboarders with RFID-embedded passes to “check in” to the resort on social media as they board a lift, automatically updating their social media status to let friends know they are on the slopes.
Using the service, guests can also track vertical feet skied and get complimentary photos taken by staff photographers at the mountaintop. By sharing photos and travel experiences on social media in real time, skiers serve as unofficial brand ambassadors to their friends and family. This type of social media campaign can encourage competition and repeat visits among locals and inspire others to start considering the possibility of a similar vacation.
The Growth of Mobile Shopping
Social media is not the only factor shaking up the travel industry. The mobile channel is also revolutionizing how people plan and book their vacations. The percentage of people who used a mobile device to purchase travel rose from 23 percent in 2012 to 38 percent in 2014, according to Travel Weekly.
Many consumers use mobile devices to research their trips and then book their reservations on desktop computers when they are ready to purchase. Mobile devices also give travelers more options as they travel. “Always-connected travelers use their mobile devices to seek information and services and make additional bookings during their trips,” notes a report from Euromonitor International.
The New Sharing Economy
Mobile devices and online apps are changing the travel landscape and bringing new contenders to the field. Companies like Uber and Airbnb have taken ride sharing and peer-to-peer vacation rentals to a whole new level, challenging traditional hotels and cab companies.
“The travel industry is the sector most affected by the meteoric growth of sharing and collaborative consumption,” a Skift Trends Report states. The sharing economy has not only caught on with budget-conscious travelers, but also with high-end consumers.
According to Euromonitor International, “It’s a love-hate relationship as consumers enjoy the convenience and price of renting from peers, whilst travel players have been caught on the back-foot by the speed of change.”
Although the sharing economy faces legislative battles, Euromonitor International expects some travel and retail companies to eventually join the trend, thereby reinforcing the sector’s legitimacy.
To learn more about this dynamic market, check out recent reports about the travel industry.