Yes, you’re too busy to read 50 pages about 2018 travel trends. But if you want to make sense of what might be coming up this year, it might be worth your while to read “From the Front Line: Luxury Vacation Trends,” written by Jack Ezon, president of Ovation Vacations, a luxury travel agency. There’s a lot for marketers to chew on from this keen observer of the industry and if you want the whole deal email Ezon at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
But while you’re waiting to get the time to read the whole thing, here are some tidbits that might be of particular interest to marketers.
1. Sell your people, not your product. As the world continues to make products commodities, whether from a retail transaction standpoint or Airbnb competing on pretty rooms, invest in relationships, which is something a robot could never replace. The human connection is going to be the key to survival. Every frontline staff member, whether a housekeeper, a concierge or a general manager, should strive to build relationships and continue those relationships after the client leaves. Each staff member should continue engagement on a personal level. You can get all the big data and invest in all the marketing programs you want, but at the end of the day, clients will come back to reunite with “Jane” or “Jerome” over another beautiful pool or room.
2. Consistent messaging. The greatest opportunity in the travel space is to band together with colleagues, competitors, trade, and press to create more consistent and accurate messaging relating to world events. Regional CVBs need to be more aggressive to work with their local authorities to secure and communicate up-to-date and accurate information. The industry needs to step up and be proactive, creating a strong network of leaders who will take responsibility for gathering and disseminating information and utilizing all PR engines in tandem. If we don’t tell the story, someone else will, and it usually will not be favorable to us.
3. Make it easy. Make the travel experience easy. Whether you are a travel advisor, a cruise line, an airline or hotelier, make it easy for people to research, book, travel and stay. Use technology to make things simpler for people and not more complicated.
4. Let new destinations shine. The window is now to grab new visitors who are more open than ever to consider new destinations. This presents an amazing opportunity for destinations to reinvent and market themselves and attract new visitors. It also drives people to secondary experiences within prime markets — to see London as a typical tourist would not. To explore the hoods and not even bother with the Abbey.
5. Profile your clients. Prepare for the dawn of artificial intelligence. Create meaningful, detailed profiles for your clients using technology to package the data in executable (and marketable) nuggets. Keep your profiles robust and deep, confidentially sharing them with your partners. Invest in a CRM that can be shared between travel providers and retailers. This is an opportunity to rise above the noise with clear added value and a wow factor.
Ezon offers a cluster of predictions for 2018 as well. Teaser: number one prediction is: “Facebook and Instagram are going to start phasing out.”
Agree or not, Ezon has lots to say that’s worth thinking about.
Check it out.