• Hiking in Northland

    What’s in store for tourism marketers in 2023

Oh hey there, 2023. With a new year comes an exciting new era of travel – and pent-up holiday demand looks to ride the wave of inflation as both Kiwis and international manuhiri explore our shores. Opening their wallets and their minds, visitors are eager to make up for lost time and seek out deeper, more meaningful experiences.

However, the way tourists are researching, planning, booking, and experiencing travel is evolving. So, to help you stay one step ahead, here’s some of the top trends on our radar as we enter a year of digital transformation.

“This year is about travellers doing what they want to do, not what everyone else is doing.”
Expedia

Short-form video reigns supreme

One of the most common questions from clients we received in 2022? “Should I bother with TikTok?” With skyrocketing growth, it might have previously been a nice-to-have, now it’s a must-have.

With over 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, it’s become the most-downloaded social media app amongst younger generations and a vital source of travel inspiration and UGC. In fact, almost half of Gen Z’s use TikTok as a search engine to plan their trips.

Whether it’s capturing behind-the-scenes clips, filming how-to guides, or compiling b-reel to some catchy tunes – we encourage you to give creating 15 or 30 second videos a go and see who engages with your content. Stay original and authentic as you give users a sneak peek at your attraction or destination. Don’t forget those trending sounds, witty captions, and relevant hashtags.

We predict more RTO’s will invest in short-form video content to showcase their itinerary content rather than traditional channels – and we’ll see the TikTok effect rolled out across Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and paid ads.

Searching for spontaneity

If you’ve toned down your search ads over the past few years, it’s time to scale back up! The rise in searches including the keywords ‘near me’ and ‘open today/tomorrow’ are resulting in higher last-minute purchases, while customers are already on the road.

Ensure your booking engine allows for impulsive mobile purchases, even on the same day. Setting up a mix of Dynamic and Responsive search ads will help your product meet intent as potential customers are planning their next adventure. Get in touch with your Account Manager to ensure you’ve got a paid media mix that’s working for you.

Travelling New Zealand

Hands out of the cookie jar – GA4 is here

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that come July, Google Analytics 4 will become the go-to reporting and tracking platform, as Universal Analytics is retired.

GA4 employs a new cookie-less way of monitoring engagement and conversions, with more flexible reporting metrics. An event-based measurement model allows marketers to track the entire user journey, integrating data-driven attribution. Not quite sure how to GA4? Our performance specialists are here to help and answer your questions.

In a world where third-party cookies are increasingly being phased out due to privacy protections, now’s a great time to consider how you’re collecting rich first-party data, like form submissions, database sign-ups, file downloads, online chats, survey completions, and purchases.

GA4

Travel that enriches the soul and the planet

Sustainable travel continues to gain traction, as tourists place more emphasis on genuine, authentic experiences. Booking.com research shows that over 80% of users want to stay in eco-friendly accommodation – reflected in record-high search volumes for campsites, and rising Bookabach searches for wellness stays, retreats, and farmhouses.

Aotearoa’s operators are leading the way in building a sustainable industry, with the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment placing this trend front and centre.

Your task? To promote your sustainability initiatives without greenwashing. Make sure your website and customer touchpoints show, not just tell, how you’re walking the walk. Perhaps you plant a tree for every visitor, use EV’s to transport guests, donate to local conservation causes, or have achieved Carbon Zero (or Climate Positive) certification. Shout about this from the rooftops!

Hiking in Southland

Get Google-savvy

Google My Business and Google Maps are no longer platforms where you can simply set-and-forget. With more features being added into the mix, it’s crucial to elevate your presence and ensure you’re visible with accurate and enticing information.

Take some time to add visuals and images, articles and blog posts, and service lists to enhance your profile. Respond to reviews regularly (whether positive or negative), as your overall star rating is used in Google’s rankings. Lastly, take note of the new ‘Tickets’ functionality, where Google Maps compares admission prices across a variety of OTA’s and reservation platforms, allowing visitors to quickly see if booking direct is really the cheapest. You can manage this through your GMB profile.

And a couple others we’re keeping an eye on…

  • Uber has already disrupted the way we move around cities and satisfy our hunger cravings, and now Uber Travel is beginning to integrate flights, hotels, and restaurants into its app. We’ll stay tuned on its rollout into New Zealand, as Uber seeks to enter the distribution landscape.
  • The Set Effect is nothing new – after all, Tolkienites have been flocking to Aotearoa since the days Lord of the Rings swept the world with Hobbit fever. However streaming series continue to influence travel behaviour – 61% of Kiwis have considered and 21% have booked trips to destinations after seeing them on TV shows or movies.

 

Across the next twelve months, we’re also excited see the return of the Chinese market combined with increased air capacity into New Zealand.

There’s plenty to celebrate as visitor numbers continue to catch up to pre-pandemic numbers, so get in touch if you’d like to discuss your own digital gameplan – and let’s go smash 2023 out of the park!

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