27 Aug 2021 Business Insights

Social Media Marketing Trends for Travel Brands

In today’s world, traditional marketing methods almost seem niche. That’s in part down to the seismic rise of digital marketing, with mediums like social media accounting for 13% of global ad spend. Compare that with print’s 6% market share, and it’s easy to see the impact of digital marketing on keeping current and new audiences engrossed.

Companies spend an incredible $84bn-plus on social media, a 20% increase on previous years. But with social media’s ever-changing landscape, keeping up with the latest trends can prove tricky. As technology advances so does social media, with new devices and platforms opening up more ways for interaction.

It can be especially difficult to keep up with the latest trends if you’re a busy marketer trying to implement a marketing strategy for your travel brand. But worry not, as we’ve put together a list of the latest social media trends that you can expect to pop.

1) Location-specific marketing 📍

One of social media’s biggest strengths is its ability to connect people from all over the globe, making the world seem that little bit smaller in the process. If you’re focusing on a local audience, however, sometimes it’s worth turning the volume down on that global noise.

Sure, travel is about exploring the globe. But maybe your goal centres around focusing on local customers who you can book holidays for in far-flung destinations. Location-specific marketing involves reaching audiences based on their geographic location and is already a popular method for interacting with potential holidaymakers.

Nearly two-thirds of marketers use location data for targeting ads, and its importance looks set to grow. Looking at physical foot traffic to see a customer’s location means you can create tailor-made social ads. Expect to see more scenarios where customers get notified about special deals as they get within close proximity of a store (if you’re a high-street travel agent) with a promotion. Location-marketing will bring you closer to your customers, literally!

2) Instagram TV 📺

When Instagram Stories first released in 2016, many thought it could be the end of the social media app as it moved away from the image-based posts that initially made it such a hit. One year later, it had 250 million active users.

The launch of Instagram TV looks set to be monetised by marketers in much the same way as Stories. By the end of the year, mobile video will account for around 78% of total mobile data traffic, and the next 12 months are going to be pivotal for brands reaching out to audiences via videos.

Instagram is already a hotbed for travel marketing, and IGTV allows you to spend more time creating videos, whether it’s for holiday destinations or brand-specific content. Therefore, it’s an avenue worth exploring to build your audience.

3) Better customer insights 👀

Social media is already becoming effective at collecting user data. As more people sign up for social accounts and monitoring systems evolve, marketers will gain even more insight into the profile of their customers.

It means you will be able to scale research at a fraction of the cost and produce unique adverts aimed at specific travellers. Brands will essentially have digital R&D departments where they can refine products and services to make customer experiences even more seamless.

4) TikTok ⏰

TikTok has over one billion users worldwide, so calling it a trend might seem like a push. But you’d be surprised by how many travel brands ignore it as a genuine way to connect with audiences.

As one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world, TikTok opens up a rath of possibilities. Around 41% of Tik Tok users are between the ages of 16 and 25, so you can expect companies to try and influence the next generation of people seeking sun, sea and sand…

Expect to see a further spike in the creation of brand accounts on TikTok, with the most creative ones finding smart ways to interact with audiences. Influencers will be able to open up branded content to a larger, well-targeted audience, and TikTok’s campaign options should also prove popular.

5) Social communities 👋

Audience engagement has risen to new levels with the introduction of social media, as brands provide more meaningful interactions for their customers. With audiences expecting more from their brand experience, we will see even more marketers focus on engaging with communities on a deeper level.

Building communities around content isn’t a new concept, but it is one where brands are seeing positive results. Over the next 12 months, companies will explore how they can be more interactive with their audiences. In the world of travel, there’s nothing quite like creating a community with inclusion and togetherness. It gives travel marketers the chance to tap into the latest insights and trends to bring their audiences together.

6) More user-generated content 🌆

It seems strange talking about user-generated content (UGC) as a trend, especially as it’s been around for years now. But brands are still understanding how to fully utilise the concept, and now is the time to crack the code.

Much like social communities, UGC is the perfect tonic for making customers feel more included in branded output. It takes a typical A to B interaction and adds another layer, asking the customer to contribute directly.

From customer reviews to the content of people interacting with your product or service, UGC creates more trust between consumer and brand. 90% of US shoppers say that UGC is the most influential part of their purchase decisions. And social media is the perfect platform to champion UGC, as the majority of your target audience already operates there.

Bonus: Virtual reality 🤖

Looking beyond this year, virtual reality has the potential to make big waves in the world of travel social media. Initially, it failed to meet lofty expectations, but it looks like that could all change. VR is particularly popular with Generation Z and Millennials, and with prices for the tech decreasing, its popularity looks set to grow.

Virtual reality advertising hasn’t yet been fully utilised, but that could all change within the next few years. As more people adopt VR, marketers will need to look at how they can take advantage of the tech to interact with audiences.

One of the obvious ways is by inserting advertising within the social worlds that are created. Another could be by curating social media communities where people get together to discuss products and other aspects of a brand. Whichever form it ends up taking, the possibilities should get marketers excited.

The future is now

Travel brands can use the latest social media marketing trends to build audiences and win more customers. Travel is one of the most popular topics across social media, and tapping into what’s hot at the moment offers you a great chance to build a robust marketing strategy that increases your business profile, gets people to enjoy holidays and helps you drive up bottom lines.