Tourism trends 2013: a mid-year update

Chinese lanterns (courtesy Newtown grafitti on Flickr CC)

Chinese lanterns (courtesy Newtown grafitti on Flickr CC)

What new things are happening in the worlds of tourism, travel, social media and technology, and how can you prepare to meet the changes ahead?

In our December 2012 newsletter, we talked about 4 tourism trends for 2013photography, the need to integrate social media across your communications strategy, storytelling and why  to crowdsource and curate the content that people are already creating about your destination, attraction, business or lodging.

Here is a mid-year update, based on Sheila’s recent presentation in India at the ICTT (International Conference on Travel Technology) in the seaside town of Kovalam in Kerala.

Four trends that she discussed:

1)  Visuals:  in the coming months, you’re only going to see more images, graphics and video in online content. Visuals get more engagement, they tell a story in one glance, they can be re-used across different platforms and imagery gets around any language barriers.

***  One way for you to meet this trend is to learn basic photography (lighting, photo composition, how your camera works) and video.

2)  Mobile:  is there any question that the meteoric rise in smartphone and tablet usage means that you MUST have a mobile-friendly website and blog?  Mobile devices mean that the internet is in the pockets and purses of each of your visitors and customers. Combine that with their mobile access to all of their social networks, and you have a game-changer in how people travel.

***  Think mobile first. Assume that people are accessing your information on mobile devices, and adjust accordingly.

3)  Integration:  we are still seeing too many organizations that treat social media as an afterthought to be farmed out to the youngest person in the office, because, “Hey, they’re young. They understand that stuff.” Sure, go right ahead and give the most powerful communications tools since the printing press to the least experienced person on your team. Don’t integrate social media into your overall strategy. Don’t cross-train your entire team (even the boss.) It’s just a fad, right?

***  Make plans to train your entire organization plus members/partners in at least the basics of social communication. Break down your silos before they are broken down for you from the outside. Yes, we can help you with such training.

4)  China:  the extraordinary wave of millions of Chinese travelers is already underway, across a variety of income levels. Are you aware of COTTM (the annual Chinese Outbound Travel & Tourism Market trade show in Beijing) or COTRI (the Chinese Outbound Tourism Research Institute?) They’ll help you keep up with what’s happening in Chinese outbound travel.

***  There is a whole world of search engines like Baidu and social media platforms like Sina Weibo, Tencent, Qzone and Renren where you might want to think about establishing a foothold, plus the important basics like teaching your members and partners how to welcome and help Chinese guests.

Here are Sheila’s slides from ICTT India 2013; if you click through the direct link below the box, there are Notes on many of the slides….

(direct link to the slides on SlideShare) Trends in Travel, Tourism and Technology 2013 from Sheila Scarborough

At Tourism Currents, we’re constantly updating our online course in social media for tourism to reflect trends, changes and updates in social media for destination marketing.

We’re happy to help you, so drop us a line!

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