Digital communication trends in the tourism industry 🌏 🧳
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
It will come as no surprise that influencer marketing is indispensable when it comes to tourism promotion. In the current digital age, consumers find travel inspiration on social media, with 86% of them developing interest in a specific destination after seeing content on their Instagram feed (source : Passeport-Photo 2022).
Whether you’re a travel destination, a hotel chain or an airline, content creators will know how best to make you shine on their social networks and how to inspire and convince their followers.
What are the most effective ways for the tourism industry to communicate on social media in 2023? In this article, Anorak sheds light on the topic, from consumer trends and influencer formats, to the most appropriate platforms for your communication plan.
1 - What will travellers look for in 2023
#1 Nostalgia and pop culture
Booking.com declared in its latest study that “ travel would be reinvented” in 2023. Out with their same old habits, travellers want excitement. They want to be blown away, to feel transported to totally new environments. This goes hand in hand with the growing role of nostalgia and pop-culture in travel planning. A huge 86% of French travellers yearn for nostalgic trips, from visiting iconic locations seen in films, to traveling unconventionally by bus or train, on the Orient Express for example (Source : Booking.com - 2022 Study). Travellers want to explore locations seen in their favourite films or TV series and walk in the footsteps of their favourite characters - the likes of Gossip Girl, Sex and the City or even Emily in Paris.
#2: Slowtourism, or the art of taking your time
A hot topic for the past few months already, slow tourism is one of the major consequences of the pandemic on traveller behaviour. Keen to make up for lost time, to make the most of each passing second and to escape from the daily grind, in 2023 tourists will, once again, look for more meaningful experiences through slower, more immersive trips. Finding time to wind down and take things easy is seen as an integral part of any holiday, allowing them to better enjoy their trip and truly immerse themselves in local culture.
This global tendency naturally encompasses sub-trends such as longer stays, staycations (traveling closer to home to discover all hometowns and surrounding areas have to offer), workations (working from wherever you have traveled to), or even prioritizing slower modes of transport (trains, buses, cycles etc).
This current climate makes it the perfect time to promote longer trips, with slower modes of transport and a sense of total immersion, as well
as local trips. For consumers, now really is the time to
take their time.
#3 Conscientious travel
The previous trend goes hand in hand with this next one. Wanting to take things slow and to make the most of a trip means traveling more responsibly, more locally and more authentically. 56% of French travellers want to “live more authentic experiences that truly represent the culture of their destination” (Source : booking.com study), which also translates to more responsible or local travel. Travellers will either want to explore locally (“staycations”), as a way of limiting the impact of their journey, or they will look for destinations allowing them to have a positive impact. The latter means choosing destinations which prioritize short supply chains and local products, or help preserve the environment and local communities.
In a nutshell, it is crucial to promote the positive aspect of a destination (proximity, local businesses etc), to better inspire and resonate with travellers.
2 - Influencer marketing and tourism in 2023
#1 Travel influencers, and more..
Thousands of content creators rise to the status of influencer each year, specializing over time in areas close to their hearts such as food, video games or travel. We have often noted the parallel between advertisers in the tourism industry and influencers with specialized travel profiles. But going forward, it’s key to remember that to promote a destination, a hotel or a mode of transport, any influencer could be relevant. Depending on the brief and on your objectives, translating any influencer’s content to a tourism context is worth considering. Loyal followers want to identify with any aspect of the influencer’s world and project themselves into similar environments or situations. Partnerships with travel influencers are the more obvious choice, and are undeniably effective when it comes to promoting bucket-list destinations and playing a more aspirational role. However “lifestyle” influencers can be perceived as more accessible to their online communities, offering travel inspiration that actually feels achievable. Given the more approachable and daily nature of lifestyle influencers’ content, there is perhaps less of a barrier for followers to project themselves and aspire to similar trips. Which hotel did the influencer stay at? How long did they stay there for? Where would they recommend for a short trip? In essence, both types of influencer profiles can play a complementary role in campaigns.
Lifestyle profiles aren’t the only ones that inspire, foodies too are more than relevant when it comes to promoting destinations, with food-centric messaging a sure way to whet travellers’ appetite. Influencers specializing in outdoor or sport can also promote a destination through the lens of the activities it offers.
Anorak Case study:
For our client TourSpain, we promoted the destination and encouraged Quebecers to discover it through its local cuisine. Foodie influencers promoted the destination through the most traditional of dishes: paella. From their own homes, they were able to bring Spain to life through the intricate values of sharing associated with the dish.
#2 Bringing the destination to you: the impact of experiential
Since the pandemic, we have realized the importance of reinventing the way tourism is promoted. It is no longer feasible or acceptable for content creators to travel the globe each week, promoting destinations without considering the impact of their travel. We are constantly seeking ways of reducing unnecessary travel (although this is inevitable in the tourism industry). This approach has encouraged us to think creatively about how we can immerse consumers and influencers in a destination, without physically traveling there.
This is where experiential truly shines, as events are the perfect way to appeal to guests’ five senses wherever they already are. It’s nothing new that this medium is a great way to help people escape their everyday lives, however with the climate crisis and the urgent need to travel more responsibly, experiential is more relevant than ever to help transform the tourism industry of tomorrow.
Anorak Case Study:
To promote artisanal agro-food industries from the Emilia Romagna region, the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Anorak (Clark) organized an immersive event. The concept was to invite influencers for an escape to the Emilia Romagna region, featuring music, authentic decoration, workshops and tasting sessions. Every detail was intended to totally immerse guests in the Italian region, but from Montreal.
#3 A key format which confirms its vital position: video
This may seem obvious, but the point can never be emphasized enough: video is king of formats, and particularly so for the tourism industry. It conveys past moments and memorable trip souvenirs in a seamlessly immersive way, with the combination of audio and visual adding an emotive and inspirational dimension to content.
In addition, online users have a growing appetite for video content generally, particularly from brands. 86% of internet users want to see more video content from brands they follow. Video conveys information more authentically, so much so that 70% of users prefer this format to text-only content when it comes to discovering a product or service. For 90% of them, video content helps them make a purchasing decision (source : Wyzowl study 2020).
In the below video, @amoureuxdumonde share their trip to the Azores and make full use of this impactful format, favoured by internet users and algorithms alike.
3 - 2023’ most relevant platforms
#1 Instagram confirms its position as top travel influencer platform
Since its inception and still to this day, Instagram has lent itself perfectly to sharing holiday snaps and souvenirs. The platform continues to be the most relevant social medium for stakeholders in the tourism sector (tourism offices, hotels, activities etc). Instagram is and always will be a source of inspiration, and is nowadays the platform which offers the most complete user experience:
Information and inspiration through photo and video content (posts, carousels, reels, stories)
Conversational tool (messaging)
Touristic guide (story highlight, guides)
Instagram is the perfect place to inspire travellers, to prompt purchase, to guide and accompany them on their trip. Instagram therefore should always be part of any strategic comms plan.
#2 TikTok establishes itself as an unfailing source of inspiration
Beyond Instagram, TikTok has undeniably become a regular feature in users’ daily lives. Whilst initially only used by younger audiences without the means to travel, this was no longer the case in 2022. In fact, the highest growth in subscriptions was seen amongst 25-39 year olds, the audience with the highest desire for travel, holidays, and more importantly with the means to do so.
TikTok users spend a huge amount of time on the platform and the majority open the app every day. Travel content is certainly popular, with 30 billion views on #tiktoktravel.
The platform also allows content creators to be particularly creative, and is perfect for out of the box content.
#3 Other noteworthy communication platforms
When building an influencer or social media strategy, we tend to gravitate towards Instagram, TikTok, Youtube or even Twitch. However, strategies can now expand to other types of platforms, such as social media where users interact on specific topics. See below a round-up of our favorite apps for consideration in cross-platform strategies:
MAPSTR: the interactive map which promotes a specific area or the presence of a brand within it. Foodie and lifestyle profiles will love this type of activation.
POLARSTEP: The app which allows you to follow travellers’ road trips, ideal to follow any travel influencer’s adventures.
STRAVA: The location-based sporting app. Leveraging sport influencers on this app is the perfect way to promote trails, hikes, or other outdoor activities in a specific area.