Brief #57: How travel marketing has changed ✈️

This content originally appeared on April 8, 2021 as part of the Future of Marketing weekly email series. Subscribe here

Welcome to Future of Marketing.

Each week, we send you the most relevant trends, resources, and strategies in social and user-generated content (UGC) from leading marketers and brands around the globe. 

Today, we’re discussing…

  • Increasing consumer confidence in travel and hospitality 
  • How customer experience impacts revenue 
  • #BrandCrush: Delta Airlines

Better experiences, more testimonials

As the world positions for recovery, people want to see other people enjoying their experiences with your brand – and considering 72% of respondents said their social media consumption surged, there’s no better time to reach your audience online.

Across social media, you’ll find hospitality brands, including Hyatt, Loews Hotels, and Airbnb, balancing their content with guest testimonials, stunning locations, and messages of safety.

A screenshot of Loews Hotels Instagram grid featuring a mix or user-generated content (their hotel lobby, a dog, city skylines, food, flowers, a couple getting married)

Highlighting these stories – and the frontline employees who are ensuring safety – through guest user-generated content in traditional advertising, digital efforts, and social media will be key in revitalizing consumer confidence in the hospitality industry.

Hospitality Marketing in a post-COVID World, TINT

TIP: By creating great experiences, your fans, guests, customers, and employees are more likely to tell others about your brand. Try sending engaged fans a complimentary gift, highlighting employees in your content, or asking customers to share photos of their experience. 

People have been anxiously waiting over a year to get out and travel. Ask yourself: What are the unique aspects or experiences of our brand we can highlight to stand out?

HINT: your customers and guests are already sharing the clues…

Intentional interactions matter

Eighty-four (84%) percent of companies that work to improve their customer experience reported an increase in revenue. This means every interaction with your experience should be intentional and planned

Curiocity Brisbane, a 17-day celebration that transforms the city with science, art, and tech, engages website visitors with creative activations, experiences, and thought-provoking conversations featuring creators, scientists, and engineers. 

Scroll through Curiocity Brisbane’s homepage, and you’ll find a beautiful web gallery featuring images and testimonials (or UGC) collected from social media – specifically from fans who tagged the brand and shared their experience. 

A screenshot of Curiocity Brisbane's Instagram feed. Nine images highlight attendees, kids, or dogs surrounded by creative outdoor activations like giant holographic bubbles.

By re-sharing captivating UGC experiences on their website and social media feeds, Curiocity Brisbane not only engages attendees across different channels, but builds on social proof for potential visitors in the future – highlighting their city as a fun and desirable destination.

What we’re learning

#BrandCrush: Delta 💘

Each week in #brandcrush, we highlight exceptional brands that are channeling their customers’ voice to connect more authentically with their audience.

Delta is doing a lot right

In fact, they haven’t even posted on TikTok, and Delta already has nearly 245 million views under #Delta (which they should totally re-purpose). On Instagram and Twitter, Delta is already doing a beautiful job at building community, engaging, and elevating the voice of their fans using the same hashtag. 

And they offer social distanced seating.

They also partnered with the State of Georgia to turn their flight museum into a mass vaccination site, and are re-sharing testimonials from fans to build trust and get more people to participate.

A screenshot of an Instagram post on Delta's feed. It shows a photo submitted by a person holding a sticker that says they got vaccinated – with a testimonial and Delta's airplane in the background

Our customers have always been the voices that guide us at Delta, and that was amplified during the pandemic.

During the past year, we transformed our service to ensure their health, safety, convenience, and comfort during their travels. Now, with vaccinations becoming more widespread and confidence in travel rising, we’re ready to help customers reclaim their lives.  

Ed Bastian, Delta CEO

HOMEWORK: Study Delta’s Instagram and Twitter profiles. Notice how they engage their customers, credit their content, and balance UGC with branded content – visuals, stories, fun polls, company updates. It feels authentic

No wonder Delta was named the World’s Most Admired Airline by Fortune for the 10th time in the past 11 years. 🤷🏻‍♀️