We’ve all been through a lot over the last few years — working in travel throughout a global pandemic — so what better way to start the new year than with a dose of optimism?
Recently at Arival, I sat down to talk travel marketing trends for 2023 with Jeremiah Calvino, founder of Blend Travel Marketing and self-described “endless optimist.”
“The creativity, the ingenuity, the diversity and the kindness of people just blows me away,” shares Calvino about the inspiration for his optimism. “There’s of course a lot of really hard things in the world… but I think the human spirit is just incredible.”
Calvino then goes on to share what he sees as some of the top digital marketing trends operators need to be aware of going into 2023.
Top Five Considerations for Experiences Marketing in 2023
Jeremiah Calvino of Blend Travel Marketing speaks with Arival Editor Janelle Visser about marketing in 2023 at Arival 360 | Las Vegas
1. Don’t Forget the Basics
Rather than starting off with the newest, flashiest trend in marketing, Calvino begins with a reminder to focus on having a solid foundation.
“A lot of the basics stay the same,” says Calvino, “you need to have a good website, you need to be visible if people are searching for you.”
For operators of tours, activities and attractions, one of the keys to a solid website is good tour description pages.
2. Embrace Video
Video has been important for a long time, shares Calvino, but TikTok, YouTube and Instagram Reels are driving the impact of short-form video forward. “Every platform is embracing video and people are consuming video in a different way,” says Calvino.
While video can seem daunting, especially for operators on a budget, Calvino explains that these days video doesn’t have to mean a high end production. “There’s a place for that but there’s also the go-pro, cell phone footage, in the moment video, vertical video obviously.”
3. Own Your Own Data
First party data — or data you own — is becoming more important, especially as cookies “continue to die a slow death,” says Calvino.
“A lot of digital marketing has really hinged on the cookie, and so marketing is having to get a lot smarter,” explains Calvino. “Owning your own data, like having a customer list, having an email list, having a media following, ways to have permission marketing that’s not just dependent upon these third party cookies is becoming really important.”
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4. Know Your Numbers
“A lot of people don’t know how many people are coming to their website or what their conversion rate is or what their cost of acquisition is,” says Calvino. “If you don’t know your numbers, if you’re not tracking things carefully, things are going up or going down [and] you don’t know why.”
The reason knowing your numbers is so important, explains Calvino, is that “as a business owner you want to be in control of your destiny and the market’s always changing, global macroeconomic trends, consumer preferences… we live in a dynamic world, and you need to be able to adapt to what the market is doing. If you don’t know what’s working, what’s not working, where your numbers are going, it just makes it really hard.”
5. Consider Influencer Marketing For Authentic Content
While influencer marketing may work well for some people in some contexts, it may not be useful for others. Calvino observes that influencer marketing can really shine when you want to create high quality, authentic content without a high production cost.
“One of the things I like about influencers is some of them are really good at creating high quality content and they’ll do it inexpensively,” shares Calvino. “They’ll create a really high quality piece of content and that gives you a piece of content that you can amplify… using influencers to tell authentic stories is a really good idea.”
However, sometimes the tendency can be to use an influencer with a lot of followers simply for “reach.” According to Calvino, this often doesn’t work as well for companies particularly in the tours and activities space.
“Kim Kardashian might have a billion followers but how many of them are looking to go kayaking in your city next week? The match rate is kind of low.”
Learn More About Marketing
If you’re considering working with a marketing agency, check out our curated list of 10 Marketing Agencies for Tour Operators and Attractions.
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