The Internet put a lot of travel agents out of work and sometimes I miss them. But streaming video has given a whole new way for travelers to seek and find. And in theory, it is easy to book airlines and hotels online, and it should be easier for consumers to check out a vacation’s selling points.
It’s a wildly uneven task as you may be learning,and half the fun definitely is not in getting there.
It’s not just the number of places a traveler can look for advice and bookings, but as a new report from the SpotX video monetization platform points out, as “the proliferation of devices has grown, consumers now take a longer and more multi-screen journey from initial awareness, through research, and eventually to booking or making a purchase.”
Yes, to take a vacation it takes a journey.
The travel business is a tricky transition phase, it seems. While the industry splits its ad spending just about evenly between desktop (51% or $2.47 billion) and mobile (49%, $2.38 billion), SpotX acknowledges that smartphone viewing is where the consumers are going.
But that’s true only up to a crucial point, because “studies show that today the buying/booking still happens online and likely on a larger screen at home (desktop/laptop).” That may change with millennials.
“Using digital video has proven very successful in converting a travel ‘planner’ into a travel buyer,” SpotX says. At phases of the purchase process--one is called “dreaming”--mobile has a big role. Now the trick is taking that mobile vacationer from that portable screen to the laptop or desktop for the purchase without losing them.
The report says “travel advertisers can still look to tie a consumer’s viewing of an ad on their mobile device to an eventual booking on their desktop at home. Leveraging first, second, and third party data within the ad buying process, travel advertisers are able to recognize consumers across screens as they move along their customer journey from dreaming, to researching, to booking.”
Advertising destinations or package planners usually don’t have a lot of dough to spend, but they have to be mindful of those platforms. Images of a lush countryside or beach have to look as good on a small screen as a big one; on some platforms, vacation pitches will be wordless. How can you say ‘What-a-great-affordable-time!’ with video and graphics alone?
And though the SpotX report doesn’t mention it, TripAdvisor members and I will: Travel and vacation advertising is usually several degrees from being truthful, which is why you may live your whole life without having that super-duper trip of a lifetime.
I love the idea Marriott had last year to give its guests at 17 properties, all in the Caribbean or otherwise in Latin America, GoPro cameras to use while they were there, then sharing their video on its special TravelBrilliantly.com Website.
“In a sea of travel themed stock images of piña coladas and cheesy tourists in tropical beaches, Marriott Hotels needed to stand out in social media among millennials in Latin America,” Marriott’s Website explained. “We had to do this in a way where users would identify themselves with amazing and original content, all while creating a lift and shift of Marriott’s brand perception in the region.”