The Future of Travel: Takeaways from The Phocuswright Conference 2019

Last month, I attended the Phocuswright Conference in Florida. This year’s theme, Are We There Yet?, was particularly relevant to our own work and ambitions here at Media Solutions. The conference explored the continuing innovation in the travel industry, but also asked, “As we move toward 2020, closing out another decade of chasing the horizon, where are we in the journey?”

This question was examined through an array of sessions and speakers. I had the opportunity to speak at the conference and share our own insights on multi-generational travel trends and how they’re shaping the future of travel.

Creating a successful marketing campaign will become even more complex in 2020 because travel shoppers are increasingly seeking out more authentic messaging that resonates with their values and interests. In my presentation, I dove into our custom research on the crucial differences—and similarities—between travel shoppers across generations. By understanding the ins and outs of target audiences, and by being aware of generational differences across Gen Z, Gen X, millennial, and baby boomer travelers, travel marketers can effectively plan ahead and authentically engage these unique groups.

By combining an understanding of what motivates and inspires travel shoppers across generations with other key points from Phocuswright 2019, such as the pivotal role frictionless travel will continue to play in 2020, travel marketers will be able to create even more impactful campaigns that capture the attention of their target audiences.

Below are three themes that rose to the top at Phocuswright 2019 and how they’re shaping the future of travel.

1. Frictionless travel and the connected trip

The connected trip and providing a seamless, frictionless experience for the traveler, is a crucial part of the future of travel.

This concept will require a reworking of processes and technologies by the global travel market to be successful throughout all phases of the traveler journey. However, travel marketers can help secure more effective campaigns by keeping the importance of frictionless travel in mind when developing campaign strategies and creative

Campaigns that have integrated booking capabilities and highlight various trip elements—from destinations to flights and accommodations to activity and restaurant reservations—can help travel marketers captivate audiences that are seeking out frictionless travel experiences.

2. Personalization and relevance

Personalization continues to be a hot topic in the travel industry—and for good reason. It improves the customer experience, the travel shopping journey, and ultimately, the trip itself.

Travel marketers looking to set themselves apart can use data and technology by informing and inspiring travelers at the right time and place with personalized advertising. For example, Generation Z travelers are mobile-first, frequent travelers who use devices to research and book their trips. Travel marketers can use this knowledge about their audience to better connect with their audience. This type of meaningful engagement ultimately improves the entire travel shopping experience.

3. Mobile and digital content consumption

As mobile device usage and digital content consumption continues to rise, travel marketers can gain competitive edge by maintaining their multi-platform and cross-device strategies to get in front of their target audiences.

By understanding traveler interests and behaviors—including across generations and geographies—and applying those insights to their strategy, marketers can better engage and inspire potential travelers. Mobile and social media, especially those that incorporate images and video, will remain especially important to engage younger generations and digital natives, including Gen Z and in years to come, Gen Alpha.

Looking to stand apart from the competition by understanding what motivates and inspires your target audience? Our original research on travel and tourism trends provides further insight into what drives the decisions of travel shoppers across generations during the travel shopping journey.

Jennifer Andre

Vice President, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions

As vice president of business development at Expedia Group Media Solutions, Jennifer Andre oversees the global partner-facing team that connects advertisers with the hundreds of millions of travelers across the Expedia Group travel brands. Jennifer and her team specialize in developing strategic marketing programs for destinations, accommodations, transportation, attractions and activities, financial services, retail and more. With more than 20 years of experience working in the online travel industry, Jennifer previously managed travel marketing partnerships at Orbitz, and spent over a decade at Travelocity where she held a variety of media and partner marketing roles in San Francisco, New York, London and Paris. Jennifer is frequently traveling around the world, though she calls Connecticut home.

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