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Skift Research Reports are twice-monthly reports written by Skift’s world-class travel industry research team. Get the deep actionable insights into the trends and companies now defining the future of travel.
Europe has traditionally been a very active player in travel. Yet lack of funding, market fragmentation and other factors have held it back from producing global corporations. Nevertheless, Europe is finally warming up to the American-style, risk big and risk early venture investment culture that has given birth to so many tech megabrands out of Silicon Valley.
Content marketing has evolved from a novelty into the mainstream of the travel industry. Not only are more travel marketers creating content as part of their broader advertising strategies, they’re also spending more to produce it. But as more travel brands ramp up content marketing initiatives, there are challenges, including how to measure the ROI of such programs, dealing with influencers, and determining how to create content in a cost-efficient manner. Which content strategies are gaining traction with travel brands in 2017 as they look to evolve their efforts in the year to come?
Facebook has transformed itself from a social media site into a powerful digital media platform that is now spreading its footprint across the travel industry. Facebook’s ability to dynamically retarget consumers combined with the ads being visual, aspirational, cost-effective, and largely in-app for Facebook’s massive and highly-engaged user base will make the platform an increasingly important tool for the travel industry.
Airbnb popularized a new type of rental product - i.e. the primary-residence urban rental, but now professionally managed properties are coming online with fury. Looking forward ten years, the landscape will likely look quite different. Consolidation is in the air; vacation rentals have gone mainstream with the consumer but inventory remains fragmented. Property managers, marketplaces, SaaS platforms and a host of other add-on services are evolving their strategies to capture greater scale and efficiencies.
The tours and activities segment is a two-sided race, with the big online aggregators clamoring to bring both suppliers and travelers into the digital age. The category has a relatively short booking window compared to accommodations and flights, leaving little room to use the latest in digital marketing and retargeting tech. Average booking values are also significantly lower than other categories. Yet, despite the challenges, the opportunities remain significant; the category is very much the next (if not final) frontier in online travel.
Disney’s success with its theme parks, hotels and cruise products is directly attributable to a highly-sophisticated marketing program that leverages cross-monetization of its different media businesses. It’s a case study for travel and hospitality companies on how to think and look outside of travel, when building globally successful businesses and brands.
There are over 77.5 million family households in America, with an average size of 3.26 people, and an average annual vacation spend of $3,340. It's a sizeable market and most travel memories are made with life partners, family, friends, or children when taking into account trip composition, but also during the decision-making process on where to go and what to do once there. Travel and tourism professionals should have a keen sense of modern family dynamics.
The mechanics of metasearch technology and how travel brands use it to effectively bring attractive products to market are extremely complex. While many have tried, very few are now doing it in a meaningful way that produces attractive scale and profits. Those that succeed long term will ultimately need the right mix of technology, connectivity, user experience, market strategy, and budget. This definitive report outlines the competitive landscape along all five of these essential benchmarks.
The very nature of investment in the travel startup space remains complicated. A lot of hype but also plenty of opportunity and big payouts for those who can bring together the right tech, the right user experience, for the right market segments. This report delves into what has worked and what investors should be paying attention to as we move into 2017.
Instagram and Snapchat have exploded in recent years; the user base is certainly there but at the same time, they leave something to be desired for advertisers. Visual content is also a challenge on the production side. How travel brands leverage both branded and user generated content to engage potential customers will vary. One certainty is that travel should continue to experiment with visual content and the platforms that attract millions.
Travel search and booking looks completely different today than it did just years ago. But the value-add that agents can bring to the travel experience will be difficult to obviate completely, either through disintermediation or automation. The intersection between high-tech and high-touch is now a key battle ground for travel brands the world over. Those with the customer care infrastructure to deliver could stand to gain, if they can get their digital house in order.
Expedia has a lot going for it in the short to mid term but shifts in technology and consumer tastes have disrupted the travel space before, and will do so again. Dara and team will need to stay vigilant in addressing numerous vulnerabilities, especially as they go up against the big platforms including Google, Facebook, Amazon and others.