Artificial Intelligence or AI for short has seen a major resurgence back into the forefront of technology in recent years. AI in itself is not a new concept and as early as 1966, the late Joseph Weizenbaum, an MIT professor at the time, was able to write a program that could pass the Turing test, which meant that the program was intelligent enough to fool some people into thinking that it could have been a human.
So what has sparked this newfound interest in AI?
Advancements in computing hardware have made it possible for machine learning to become mainstream. Machine learning has in turn fueled the growth of technologies like facial recognition, natural language processing and video analytics which form the basis for game changing technologies like autonomous vehicles, Virtual Personal Assistants and chatbot technology.
Chatbots in particular have gained a significant level of interest with its wide reach in almost all service industries such as tourism and sales.
Virtual Reality has certainly come a long way since the initial Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift in 2012. With immersive VR technology being readily available on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, what was once confined to a niche market has now made its way to mainstream audiences, giving brands new and innovative ways to engage their target audiences.
VR environments are especially suited for industries like tourism where the level of immersion can seal the deal for customers and to pay to experience the real deal. Such initiatives are already taking place in Wales where the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales were commissioned to create “Dolphin Dive” and “Flight of the Kingfisher” VR experiences in order to promote tourism in the country.
Tour companies can also look to engage influencers to produce 360 degrees VR experiences of tour highlights like safari adventures or a skydiving experience.
In early 2017, Google Algorithm’s Fred update impacted many websites and caused a reduction in traffic for sites that prioritise monetisation over user experience. Other independent research also indicate that sites with poor quality backlinks were also affected.
This change affected backlinks to sites with poor domain authority, outdated or broken links, or downright “unnatural” links – so much so that some SEOs believe link quality to be the defining characteristic of the Fred update.
There are several steps that you can take to minimize the risk that your site will be hit by future algorithmic changes. If you’re worried about the potential impact of Google updates, in 2018, focus on quality of site, user experience, high quality backlinks, quality user-centric content update.
“2018, focus on quality of site, user experience, high quality backlinks, quality user-centric content update.”
Move over Anna Cay and make way for [insert any influencer you want]!
When it comes to the influencers of the world, bigger doesn’t always mean better and marketing professionals are starting to notice. While top influencers have the advantage of reach, micro-influencers (with a following of a hundred thousand or less) can boast higher levels of engagement. Even if fewer people see their ads, they are more likely to take action.
What’s more, micro-influencers tend to place higher value on the opportunity to generate new content, form new partnerships and are less likely to demand large sponsorship payments. It takes a bit more effort to source for multiple micro-influencers but you will soon find that it is well worth the effort. [contact us to find out how we can help you get started with these micro-influencers]
Virtual Personal Assistants
Mobile, in the present day, has undoubtedly become the core of a digital marketing ecosystem, enabling the use of social media, online purchasing, community engagements and location based services. While the world is still reeling from the dizzying speed that mobile has dominated the space, a new wave of transformation is starting to take place.
Enter the AI or Virtual Personal Assistants.
The technology may now only be in the early stages of adoption but pretty soon, systems like Amazon Alexa or Google Echo will be ubiquitous in every modern home, creating yet another touchpoint for marketers to reach consumers.
Whilst monetization options a few at this moment, we expect 2018 to be a year where cross-device sales and marketing becomes mainstream. When the day comes that a voice command in your living room is able to activate your mobile phone to order a take out, just remember that you heard it from us first!
Why Digital Marketing is Crucial for the Tourism Industry
Digital Media SEO
We live in a digital age where almost everything that influences our day to day decisions are derived online.
Combine this with the fact that travelling has become more accessible than ever in the past decade or so, with the rise of low-cost airlines and flexible home-sharing options such as Airbnb. Safe to say that digital marketing is the way of the future — even more influential than in-your-face billboard ads that cost companies tons of money annually.
If you are a new tourism company looking to market your product effectively and efficiently, digital marketing is the way to go! Here’s why:
The inspo nation
A survey by marketing guru, Frederic Gonzalo in 2016 showed that 97% of millennials say that they tend to post photos while travelling, especially on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. In another survey, it was derived that 76% of TripAdvisor users agreed that the travel-submitted photos they come across on social media would influence their decision on booking a trip (TripAdvisor, 2015).
While there are still travel pamphlets and traditional brochures handed out at travel fairs, the best way to make a lasting impression and an impactful presentation is still by having good social media handles with excellent, awe-inspiring photos and great captions.
Smart phones everywhere
As the number of smartphone users increases and internet connectivity improves across the globe, a survey by digitalvidya.com in 2016 revealed that more than 78% business travellers use their smartphones during trip planning. The same survey also revealed that 67% of travellers would do online research before making travel decisions.
As the best form of marketing is still ‘word of mouth’ marketing, having someone share holiday photos with their friends and give good reviews on the packages is a surefire way to get more clients in the future. A 2015 survey by TripAdvisor proved that a whooping 80% of travellers were more likely to book a trip with a company that’s been ‘liked’ by a friend, rather than on a conventional Facebook ad.
As more and more people are accessing the internet on their mobile phones, it is also becoming increasingly important for companies to have responsive websites. According to a survey by TrekkSoft in 2016, overall travel bookings were seen to experience a significant 30-40% hike after the implementation of the online booking system.
“Research shows that 97% of millennials say that they tend to post photos while travelling, especially on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook”
Easy access and reservations
Thanks to the new and improved e-commerce technology, it is also getting simpler than ever to make reservations and payment through websites and online apps. From 2011 to 2015, it was observed that the number of mobile booking in travel have grown by 1700% (Frederic Gonzalo, 2016).
A survey by Statistic Brain in 2015 also concluded that 65% of same day hotel reservations are made from a smartphone app. In 2012, it was found that the revenue from online travel sales had reached US$162.4 billion compared to US$93.8 billion in 2007 — nearly doubled in just five years!
Conclusion With the ongoing progression of the digital marketing world, it is not impossible that traditional travel agent offices may one day become obsolete. Globally, the industry is expected to grow at an annual rate of 3.8% over the next 10 years to become a US$11.4 trillion industry by 2027. Until then, use this time to invest on a well-maintained website, a simple but easy to use mobile app and social media handles!