Even though the global economy is gearing up for a challenging year in 2024, the travel industry is still benefiting from pent-up demand. At the same time, AI, sustainability, and other megatrends make headway, ensuring the travel industry is poised for yet another transformative year. As content marketers and SEO experts navigate this landscape, our predictions aim to offer valuable insights for those shaping global content and marketing strategies at global travel brands.
The evolution from “excellent” to next-level customer experiences
Successful travel content strategists are already tailoring their efforts to specific buyer types, such as luxury travellers, adventure-seekers and leisure travellers, recognising the importance of creating content that resonates with each segment. Most consumers get frustrated when they’re bombarded with irrelevant content or offers, highlighting the crucial need for an effective segmentation strategy. In the travel industry, over 60% of consumers rate their online customer experience as “excellent”, surpassing other sectors. This suggests that to stand out from the crowd, travel brands must anticipate and exceed customer expectations, providing hyper-personalised experiences. Customers will value content that speaks to them, rather than something created for someone else, perhaps even in a different language.
The rise of niche destinations
As travellers increasingly search for unique and authentic experiences, a new trend has emerged – the preference for smaller, lesser-known travel destinations. For marketers in the travel industry, this suggests a shift in promotional strategies, embracing the opportunity to promote these underrated destinations through tailored campaigns and content pieces, showcasing the appeal of unconventional travel, while also tapping into the growing search volume for lesser-known cities. Fostering partnerships with local businesses can create attractive narratives, appealing to the growing cohort of travellers who are looking for unique journeys. For example, collaborating with a family-owned restaurant, offering an exclusive culinary experience that highlights local flavours and traditions.
Using AI to create content for these locations can be more challenging and there is an increased risk of incorrect information, as the Large Language Models may not contain relevant data. Human involvement, fact checking, and local knowledge remains essential.
Email marketing success through effective segmentation
Email marketing can be highly effective for global consumer brands, but successful segmentation is key to unlocking its full potential. Understanding diverse travel behaviours across different regions is increasingly crucial, with effective market segmentation holding the key. While cultural experiences are highly sought-after in Europe, duty-free shopping continues to thrive in Asia, experiencing 11% annual growth. Marketers must explore regional nuances, acknowledging that desirable experiences vary significantly.
Leveraging CRM data becomes key for travel marketers to tailor campaigns and content, aligning them with the preferences of various traveller types in different regions. For instance, highlighting content for luxury seekers in the Middle East or Asia, while focusing on events and cultural experiences for European travellers, can be an effective strategy. Crafting personalised content and employing CRM strategies ensures engagement with diverse segments, providing a tailored experience for varied travel target audiences.
Sustainable travel is here to stay
Whereas in some industries there might be signs of sustainability fatigue, it’s still at the forefront of travel trends for 2024. The fastest-growing category worldwide is rail transport, showing a remarkable 35.6% increase from 2023 to 2024. Content creators play a crucial role in aligning their strategies with this eco-conscious movement, emphasising the need to promote and adapt to sustainable travel. Marketers can leverage the trend by collaborating with sustainable travel providers and incorporating green alternatives in their campaigns. The rise in rail travel also presents opportunities to promote unique stops in lesser-known cities along rail routes, catering to conscious travellers seeking authentic experiences.
Beyond translation – the quest for authentic in-market content
Generative AI offers a fresh route for accessing local language content, enabling global market entry for numerous companies with the convenience of translated material. Yet, both conventional translations and AI-generated content often face challenges in truly engaging consumers. Effective communication requires narratives enriched with stories and emotions, areas where translations often miss the mark. The true differentiator emerges in the creation of authentic, multilingual content by native speakers in local languages. This superior approach not only allows you to stand out from the competition and attract new customers, but also establishes a profound emotional connection with them.
AI workflows and use cases
The initial excitement about generative AI in 2023 may have calmed down slightly, but its long-term impact is clear. The real opportunity lies in AI’s ability to scale. Now seen as a tool that empowers humans rather than replaces jobs, AI allows people to focus on creative and strategic work. Organisations are clarifying the use cases for generative AI, and AI workflows are becoming more defined. Additionally, the AI market is under increased scrutiny from regulators and legislators navigating this evolving landscape. In content creation, we believe the winning strategy involves a hybrid approach, connecting AI and human efforts for the best mix of speed and expertise from both realms.
All eyes on the new search paradigm
Google’s search landscape is set for a makeover in 2024 with the infusion of GenAI into their SGE, aiming to directly respond to user queries on the search results page. This shift pushes brands to reconsider their strategies, taking into account the potential impact on website traffic. Staying on top of Google’s updates and decoding consumer search behaviour is crucial.
Google’s emphasis is clear – prioritising helpful, up-to-date, and reliable information for higher rankings. Becoming a trusted source with optimised and updated content is a pressing task that cannot wait for the global rollout. Content marketers and SEO experts must act quickly, facing the challenging task of reviewing and analysing hundreds or even thousands of pieces of legacy content. During the content audit, informed decisions must be made on what to update and optimise or rewrite from scratch.
The rise of authenticity and employee stories in content marketing
Many brands are using trusted experts and influencers with engaged followers to create authentic content and connect with audiences who share common interests and trust their recommendations. The trend of “authentic” and “authoritative” content continues, as Google is giving more value to reliable, people-first content. Some travel brands are starting to leverage the personal experiences of their employees in their content marketing. Beyond traditional promotional content, this approach brings authenticity to brand communication, sharing real stories from those contributing to the brand’s success. For example, featuring authoritative figures like pilots, as exemplified in this initiative by Finnair, enhances the message’s credibility. This strategic shift promotes relatability, fostering trust by humanising the brand. Marketers embracing this trend can expect increased engagement, as authentic employee stories effectively resonate and establish the brand’s authority.
Ready to enhance your travel content marketing strategy?
At Key Content, we specialise in expertly crafted travel content to build meaningful connections with the scale, market coverage and speed that the industry needs. Elevate your brand’s presence and achieve success in this highly competitive landscape. Get in touch with us today.
Consumer Trends Index Report (2023). Marigold. URL: https://go.meetmarigold.com/consumer-trends-index
Euromonitor. (2023). Top 100 City Destinations Index 2023. URL https://www.euromonitor.com/top-100-city-destinations-index-2023/report
Mindshare (2023). Mindshare Trends Report 2024 | The Marketing Society. URL: https://www.marketingsociety.com/think-piece/mindshare-trends-report-2024
Publicis Commerce. 2023 Review & 2024 Trends (2024). URL: https://www.publiciscommerce.com/insights/publicis-commerce-2024-trends-and-predictions-report
World Bank (2024). Global Economy Set for Weakest Half-Decade Performance in 30 Years. URL: https://worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2024/01/09/global-economic-prospects-january-2024-press-release