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The State of Content Marketing in Travel 2017

by Jeremy Kressmann + Skift Team
Digital Marketing
Digital Media
Social Media

Skift Research Take

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?

Report Overview

The entire discipline of marketing is in the midst of a sea change. Changing consumer attitudes toward advertising, combined with the growing importance of social media, are forcing marketers to adapt to a new reality. For the travel industry, this means focusing on the creation and promotion of content, a discipline that is seeing huge increases in budgets, interest, and attention. Marketers say the inspirational appeal of such content, combined with its increased credibility, helps it succeed with travel customers.

But even as content marketing becomes the travel industry’s dominant approach, lots of concerns remain about how to make and measure great content. Figuring out what type of content to create remains an open question, even as images and video continue to grow in popularity. Finding great content creators is another key challenge. Many travel marketers say they are spending more time partnering with so-called “influencers,” though doubts remain about how to measure their effectiveness and ensure high-quality results. There are also larger questions about how to measure the ROI of content marketing and where it should sit along the traditional marketing funnel, plus a growing need to localize content for new audiences in places like Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Because of the growing popularity of content marketing, there are nearly as many approaches to executing such programs as there are companies in the travel space. That said, several new approaches and trends in content marketing are gaining widespread appeal in 2017. Among those trends, more brands are bringing their content creation efforts in-house, more traditional travel media firms are becoming hybrid content marketing agencies, and travel brands are experimenting with old-school media formats like TV advertorials and magazines to cut through the digital clutter.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • Why is content marketing gaining popularity with marketers in contrast to more traditional forms of advertising?
  • Why does the growth of social media make content marketing more important than ever for travel brands?
  • What types of content should travel brands think about creating, and how should they create it?
  • What are the best ways for travel firms to partner with influencers on content creation?
  • How should travel marketers measure the ROI on content marketing campaigns?
  • How should travel brands think about localizing content for international audiences in regions like Asia-Pacific?

Executives Interviewed

  • Kate Appleton, director of branded content, AFAR Magazine
  • Ali Daniels, vice president, marketing, Visit Seattle
  • Joe Diaz, co-founder, AFAR Magazine
  • Jeremy Jauncey, founder, Beautiful Destinations
  • Amar Lalvani, CEO and managing partner, Standard International
  • Joe Slattery, senior vice president of global marketing and sales, Holland America
  • Karin Timpone, global marketing officer, Marriott International

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