Learn to Fly Without a Pilot's License
Travel has been on my mind a lot lately. On Sunday, I'm flying out to sunny LA to attend DMA's &THEN Conference, then coming home for about 48 hours before hitting the road to visit one of my best friends just outside of Buffalo for a long weekend.
So that's over 5,400 miles flown, then an additional 750 miles driven round trip. Woof.
Two weeks later, I board a plane for a red-eye flight to Madrid, Spain for a quick layover, then to my final destination of Lisbon, Portugal so I can attend the 2016 Web Summit as a speaker (more on that exciting news later!)
My round-trip travel for that will be over 6,800 miles ... so in less than 30 days time I will have traveled more than 13,000 miles, stayed in two hotels, one AirBNB rental, had countless meals out, taken taxis, Ubers, subways ... now can you see what travel's been on my mind so much? (I think I need a nap just thinking about it all.)
The savvy traveler of the 21st century expects more of everything when planning trips, from the booking experience to the transportation options, from the destination to dining. The overall experience must deliver, and travelers are not afraid to vote with their dollars. I know I'm sure not afraid to do so — I do a ton of research ahead of a trip to ensure I get the best experience for my investment, whether it's for business or personal.
In late July, we hosted our annual Integrated Marketing Virtual Show, and I had the opportunity to bring together a stellar panel with moderator Kae Lani Kennedy, social media manager for Matador Network, as well as the following panelists:
- Jennifer Andre, Director of Sales, Media Solutions, Expedia
- Christy Ciambor, Destination Marketing Manager, Travel Juneau
- David Naczycz, Founder, Urban Oyster/NYC Urban Adventures
The focus of the panel was to look at travel marketing in the Internet Age, and as I rewatched the presentation, a few things came to mind:
We All Can Learn From the Travel Industry
Actually, all marketers can learn from every industry outside their own. I think that's a given and something we all need to do a little more of. But what I believe the travel and hospitality industry really caters to customer desire. Sure, the automotive industry caters to my desire of driving a wickedly sweet car (I'm looking at you, Dodge Challenger), but it's not a desire that can be met easily ... but an $900 vacation to Paris? A $350 long weekend in Washington DC? A $40 walking tour of Brooklyn? These are all more quickly attainable than a $27,000 car.
The travel and hospitality industry can let consumers itch a desire now. But I think it could teach other marketers how to do this, too.
Mobile Is Here to Stay ALWAYS
That subhead says it all. Mobile was one of the big issues our panelists discussed during the travel roundtable, and it's such a big issue that we're hosting the All About Mobile virtual show in December (shameless plug, yes yes I know!).
As a marketer, if you don't have a seamless marketing experience, you're going to lose consumer confidence and customer share. Pure and simple.
User-Generated Content Builds Trust
Fun fact: Loyal customers and fans want to contribute! So let them! You can do this in so many ways, from running regular Instagram photo contests to sharing thoughtful reviews. In the end, the marketer gets wonderful content to share with the wider audience and the user gets to share his or her voice.
Anyway, I highly recommend taking 30 minutes to listen (or watch!) the travel roundtable (no registration necessary) so you can take a look at what the industry is doing, and see if you can "steal smart" and incorporate a few ideas into your next strategy meeting. You know ... learn to fly without a pilot's license (yes ... yes I am a Foo Fighters fan).
Now if a marketer could just figure out how to deal with the email/travel issue so that we wouldn't have to come back to an over-stuffed inbox ... there's a billion dollar idea.