2018 Content Marketing Trends for the Travel Industry

Amber Dunlap| February 6, 2018

The key to a successful content marketing strategy in 2018 will not be how your content can drive sales but what your content can do for your audience.”

The travel industry, more than most, understands the power of high quality, thought-provoking, and relevant content to connect with today’s travel consumers. Staying on top of the trends is crucial in keeping up with the ever-evolving content marketing landscape. To save you some time, we’ve pulled together 2018 marketing trends that matter most to the travel industry. While 2017 was a year of all things nontraditional in content marketing, 2018 is shaping up to be an extension and evolution of some of 2017’s most successful content marketing trends, from more integrated influencer marketing strategies to brand-second, purpose-first content and more.


1. Video-First Social Media Strategies

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Video will continue to be a hot topic in 2018 as nearly every social media platform prioritizes video in news feeds. Live video will become increasingly more accessible, Instagram Stories will likely overtake Snapchat as the ephemeral content platform, and compelling short-form social video content will continue to garner the greatest reach. Also, expect to see more vertical and square video content as marketers seek to capitalize on mobile social media real estate.

GLP’s Take: While there is a marked shift towards live video on all social channels, we predict an eventual oversaturation of low-quality live video content in social media feeds by year’s end. Before jumping on the bandwagon, consider the value of high-quality video content in your content marketing and social media strategy. Quickly capturing viewer’s attention PLUS quality will remain the winning recipe for the greatest consumer engagement.


2. Integrated Influencer Marketing Strategies

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In 2018, it is predicted that brands will look to a combination of micro, macro, and mega-influencers to reach consumers at every point in the customer journey, from inspirational content posted by macro and mega-influencers that elevates your brand image to promotional content posted by micro-influencers that entices their fans to take specific actions. Demand for influencers of all sizes will grow in 2018, as will the value and cost of their services. Influencers are also likely to become more selective about who they work with.

GLP’s Take: Though the actual ROI of influencer marketing has been muddied by the likes of bots and fake likes, there is no doubt that influencers are an effective way to reach a highly targeted and engaged audience through a trusted voice. Travel brands should only target influencers with highly engaged communities who share a similar mission and set of values with your brand. Brands should build long-term relationships with influencers that are mutually beneficial. Authentic growth over time is key, and oftentimes overnight social growth is too good to be true.


3. Emotionally-Charged, Purpose-Driven Content

PATA's video "Why Do You Travel?" hits high on emotions and inspiration to connect with both trade and consumer audiences. 

Today’s consumer yearns for brands that stick by their mission and values, and show something for it.  Brands need to take a stand, work on solving an issue, or focus time and money toward making a difference. In 2018, emotionally compelling storytelling will light the way forward for brands who have a strong why and who behind what they do. Without compelling storytelling, your brand may flounder in the 2018 content landscape.

GLP’s Take: Emotional engagement is proving to be increasingly critical in achieving marketing goals as consumers tune out traditional advertising. Effective storytelling and strong digital marketing channels for distribution need to be at the heart of your 2018 content marketing strategy.



4. Marketing that Targets Beyond the Millennial

For 2017, video content will account for 69% of all internet traffic. By 2019, 85% of all internet traffic (Cisco VNI Forecast and Methodology, 2015-2020).

Millennials were a popular topic of conversation in 2017, but this year we will see a shift towards marketing that targets everyone from the digital savvy, experience-driven Generation Z to the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. These groups have time on their hands and a hankering for meaningful adventure.

GLP’s Take: The truth is everyone is on the hunt for a life-changing travel experience and often there is overlap in what each generation seeks in a travel experience. Position your travel offerings to appeal to a certain lifestyle rather than a specific age group to best capture the blurred generational lines that exist in today’s travel market.



In Summary

The key to a successful content marketing strategy in 2018 will not be how your content can drive sales. Instead, strategy should be driven by what your content can do for your audience and how your content marketing can deliver a digital experience that connects with your audience on an emotional level. Today’s consumers can smell a sales pitch a mile off. Focus your content marketing strategy around creating and distributing content that serves a direct purpose, conveys the core of your brand, and does so in a visually appealing and creative way. Do these things and watch your brand carve a permanent place in the hearts and minds of your travel audience.



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