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Mission Control / Travel

4 Travel Marketing Trends You Should Be Thinking About

From future-focused millennials to international visitors, here’s what people are still talking about from 2018’s Destinations International conference.

Digitized map of the globe, demonstrating that travel marketing has advanced online.

1. Sports Is the New Food

For destination marketers, promoting food has been important for some time. Now, it seems sports is emerging as an essential hook in luring travelers to some not-so-obvious sports towns. Most every town has a team, but not every town is ready for that team to make it big. What’s more, not every town is ready to host a massive event — sports-related or otherwise. Brook Kaufman, CEO of Visit Casper, shared the tragic and hilarious truth about when her town of 55,000 hosted tens of thousands of people for the 2017 solar eclipse.

2. Technology Talks

Technology is firmly at the forefront of innovative destination marketing. Highlights? Google’s DMO Partnership Program is helping organizations incorporate travel content across more Google pages, like Google Maps, Google Trips App and Destination and Travel Guide Pages. Data analysis is another driving force in destination marketing, and sessions delivered on discussions about convention sales strategy, data-driven personalization and how to integrate analytics into DMO marketing.

3. The Continuing Rise of Millennials

Millennials: You’re either seeking to understand their consumer habits, or you are one. Nielsen reports traveling millennials make two long-haul trips a year, and a third make four big trips annually. And according to AARP, the age group is also planning to spend approximately $6,800 on next year’s travels — that’s more than boomers and Generation Xers, by the way.

Travel marketers across the country can learn from VisitPITTSBURGH, which is putting millennial marketing managers in charge for its 2022 Committee. The idea? The four marketers interviewed business leaders, universities and elected officials, and then shared their insights and recommendations for the future, from 2023 to 2028 — all through the lens of millennials. They weren’t the CVB’s most senior or experienced employees, but they understand the city’s target demographic … because they’re it. We can’t wait to see where the CVB ends up.

4. A Renewed Global Influence

Your travel marketing shouldn’t just focus on domestic visitors. The industry is abuzz about the global influence on destination marketing — and how to go about using that to your organization’s advantage. Take a cue from Canada, which built the world’s first national user-generated content partner network. And U.S. DMOs shouldn’t sleep on China. Some 3 million Chinese travelers visited the states in 2016 — a 15 percent increase from 2015, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

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