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Top marketing trends to be observed in the travel industry in 2020

Brands are venturing into every possible space occupied by an average consumer.

By Eshan Joshi
It's a well-known fact in the marketing industry that advertisement is everywhere. The industry has evolved tremendously and creatively beyond restrictive platforms such as newspapers or billboards, and even websites and social media. Now, brands are venturing into every possible space occupied by an average consumer. As we begin a new decade, here's a list of marketing strategies that will rule the travel industry this year:

Mobile marketing

Content consumption on mobile is higher than ever while sales conversions on e-commerce websites and booking platforms are peaking. Consumers are increasingly preferring to conduct their tasks-including research, check-ins, receiving itinerary updates of their trips, etc.-in real-time. With information such as travel dates and bookings on hand, it is easier to deliver a personalised customer experience over smartphones, besides retargeted ads in case of a drop in the booking funnel. Mobile optimisation of your digital brand presence is vital in today's day and age. If you do not have an application, the brand must at least have a smartphone-optimized website. Besides following a tight SEO strategy, content should also take into account the growth of voice search; it needs to be more conversational and specific in terms of location to support the tech.

Travel Influencers

Today, being a full-time traveler is a legitimate career option. Pioneers like Mumbiker Nikhil and Tanya Khanijow have not only laid out a passion-to-profession blueprint for travel enthusiasts but have also given brands an opportunity to engage with their ever-growing communities both on Instagram and YouTube. More of storytellers, travel influencers share valuable information about the places they visit. On account of high trust and relatability quotients built over time, their audiences engage with them with an almost religious fervor. Brands are increasingly introducing new products, services, and even launch campaigns through such influencers. Last year, the success of this strategy was underscored when multiple state tourism boards tapped this resource to promote tourism in their region.

Art Getaways

The formation and proliferation of art collectives across the country are rooted in artists' search for inspiration through travel. Such groups host online and offline exhibitions, workshops, and getaways for artists to connect and collaborate in an off-beat environment. Brands can engage with and facilitate the growth of such art collectives. A tactful as well as seamless product integration can deliver an amplified experience to artists while creating lasting brand recall and loyalty.

Community Oriented Music Festivals

Inspired by NH7 Weekender, various culture-driven and genre-focused music festivals have emerged to dominate the country's entertainment landscape over the past few years. Featuring a confluence of various artists, such events attract a popular following from across the country and the world. Local government authorities have long recognized the potential of such events in promoting regional tourism. Festivals such as Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh and Magnetic Fields in Rajasthan are prime examples.

These events offer immense potential for product and brand integration with multiple branding and sponsorship opportunities for stages and pop-ups. Budding brands can also select festivals in sync with their budget and market affinity across geographies.

Experiential Marketing

Such events are mostly exclusive, invite-based, or ticketed on a premium price that markers can tap to engage with a very receptive audience, especially for sampling and product launches. Brands can even organize such events to provide a platform to local talent while curating a branded event experience for relevant target audiences as well as their loyal customers. Beer brands have pioneered this strategy by coming on board as exclusive beverage partners. They are thus able to introduce products to new consumers on minimal marketing spend while complying with relevant regulations.

As we can see, new-age brands are having more fun with marketing today. From being a key ingredient in optimizing the relevance and effectiveness of a product or service offering, innovation has now entered the realm of marketing with equal gusto. As one of the most dynamic spaces in the modern world, there is still room for disruption in the global market-and innovators are more than happy to take on the challenge.

The author is the marketing head of Zostel.

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