What’s New in Marketing for Travel and Tourism: ESTO 2015

Posted by: Cody Sanger in: Consumer Lifestyle - Tourism & Hospitality -


Last month the Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) 2015 took the stage here in Portland, drawing a range of travel companies and tourism bureaus from across the country. LANE’s travel and tourism experts attended ESTO seminars and came away with four key marketing trends:

  1. Authenticity pays in social media interaction: Millennials use social media for interaction and education. Genuine posts are more valued than ones perceived as ads or that contain marketing-speak. Given the competitiveness of social media, the goal is to tell the most compelling and honest story to engage and gain followers.
  1. Use influencers to create brand awareness: Influencers are those who have an effect on potential customers (for example, a popular blogger). Engage influencers by simply hosting them and allowing them to explore the destination marketing organization (DMO). A key element to working with influencers is to guide them and not limit them. If too many regulations are put in place for the influencer, the quality of the campaign will suffer. This relates back to the first trend and the importance of genuine social media interactions. The fear of missing out on something is a real phenomenon and social media can fuel this feeling. Leverage this mentality by using influencers to create an experience that no one wants to miss out on.
  1. However, use influencers carefully. Be selective: Working with an influencer can be affordable, but it is still important to be choosy. Define the value, reach and ROI in working with influencers. It’s important to understand who your audience is and who has influence over your audience. Just because someone has a lot of followers, doesn’t mean they’re relevant. Ten solid, relevant, engaged followers could mean 100 times more than 10 million unengaged and disinterested followers.
  1. Media relations is evolving: Understand how the media wants to hear from you. According to a survey of media professionals conducted for ESTO, 95% of media prefer personal email as the main point of communication from PR contacts. Journalists are rarely available via phone, and dislike group emails. Media prefer to be pitched at least three months in advance if possible, and when it comes to group press trips, 36% of media love them, while 55% feel lukewarm about them and 9% do not care for them.

As these four trends demonstrate, one overarching trend is for certain:  both social media marketing and media relations for the tourism industry are transforming in conjunction with the digital media landscape.

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