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How do you like to spend your vacation? By the beach with a cocktail or in a bustling city with new places to explore? However you like to relax and unwind, the options are limitless and tourism boards are vying for attention. Post-pandemic, the travel industry has noticed leisure travel booming, with consumers keen to explore places they’ve always dreamed of.
So, how are consumers approaching their vacation plans in 2023? Let’s take a look at some of the key trends and statistics shaping the industry:
It’s all to play for in the travel industry. Despite the cost-of-living crisis gripping some countries, consumers are not willing to compromise on how they spend their vacation days. This is reflected in industry growth, with global tourism revenues expected to exceed $8.6 trillion dollars this year.
In this month’s spotlight, we’ll be taking a look at how destination marketing teams are upping the ante. Whether you’re in the business yourself or just looking to shake up your own strategy, we’ve got a little inspiration for everyone.
We know there’s an opportunity to reach these travel-hungry consumers, but we wanted to know two specific things: who makes up the travel market? And what destinations or priorities are top of their list for 2023 and beyond?
To help us dig deeper into these questions and analyse how brands can effectively tailor their marketing strategies to reach this audience, we ran an affinity report built on biography keywords such as ‘adventure’, ‘travel’ and ‘outdoor’, as well as followers of big travel brands such as airlines, hotels and travel booking sites. We applied this criteria across our wide range of available platforms, including Meta through SOPRISM our recent acquisition, and we were able to pull an audience of around 250,000 people worldwide.
Looking broadly at our travel audience, our audience is split nearly 50/50 men and women, with men making up a slightly higher proportion. While about a quarter is based in the US, we can see that travel is a universal interest, with the UK, India, Canada and Mexico all appearing in our top five countries. Interestingly, it seems that the younger demographics are leading the conversation around travel, with 18- to 24-year-olds making up 35% of our total audience – gap years? – but of course, we also see decent engagement in the 25- to 54-year-old age bracket as well.
In the tourism sector, a correct management strategy and analysis of the presence in social media allows us not only to get to know our target audience better, but also to correctly define our insights, that is, sales opportunities or customer acquisition. We can adapt KPIs to a specific target, analyze their response to certain content and thus define, for example, the specific moment to launch a campaign, the offer of a certain resource or complementary product, or support our presence in a face-to-face sales event (for example a fair of the sector).” Mayte Vañó Sempere, communication and marketing consultant
While we can make some general assumptions about who they are based on this broad data, as our regular readers know, your audience is not a monolith. So, we’ve broken down this audience into five bite-size segments to help us drill down into individual interests. Let’s see where they take us this time.
Now we’ve analysed the massive potential audience for the travel industry, let’s take a look at some of the most creative travel campaigns from the last few years. We’ve searched across the world and highlighted campaigns from Iceland, Greece, Spain, Sweden and Austria. Pack your bags and let’s go!
Nothing ruins a vacation like work. That’s why we absolutely love this campaign from Visit Iceland, which brings a playful twist to standard tourism marketing. This campaign was inspired by a global survey conducted by their team, which found that 55% of people check their work emails daily while on vacation (guilty as charged).
With this campaign, Visit Iceland encourage you to say ‘nay’ to work emails and spend some time enjoying their beautiful scenery. All you have to do is visit their website, choose a horse to look after your inbox while you’re away, and switch off. The campaign is supported by a big social push and extra video content, including how they taught the horses to reply to work emails.
This delightfully silly campaign also takes the time to highlight reasons why you should visit Iceland, i.e., things to read while horses deal with your inbox. You might recognise scenes from The Witcher and Game of Thrones from their promotional materials, which perfectly ties into the current trend for visiting countries from your favourite TV shows.
Since the pandemic, Greece has been focused on tempting tourists back to their gorgeous beaches and idyllic islands. This culminated in the creation of their new overarching campaign, ‘All You Want is Greece’. When it first launched, it consisted of several 30-second videos which highlighted the country’s myriad attractions and rich cultural heritage.
In 2022, they took things to the next level with ‘You Will Want To Stay Forever’. This charming campaign puts storytelling at the heart of their campaign, with Otto, an Austrian tourist who came for a taste of Greek summertime and ended up staying forever. The dream. Even better? This campaign is based on a true story.
It also ties in beautifully with the general perception of Greece as an idyllic getaway for many tourists. The #AllYouWantIsGreece hashtag has been adopted with enthusiasm by both travellers and locals, sharing breath-taking vistas and world heritage sites.
Tourism Minister for Greece Vassilis Kikilias said: ‘“As Greece is one of the five strongest tourism brands in the world, with famous attractions, we chose, this year, to focus on the feelings generated by visits to our country. A true story inspired the new promotional campaign projecting Greece abroad. It tells, through narration, the story of a traveller who originally visited our country on a holiday, but, driven by the serenity, simplicity and beauty experienced, ended up staying for good, to work, have a family in Greece, and, ultimately, change his life forever.”
Next up on our list of brilliant tourism marketing campaigns is a trip to our home country, Spain. ‘No Joy in Life is Small’ by Turismo de Andalucía was crowned winner of the Grand Prix at the Terres Travel Festival, the tourism and travel film competition.
The campaign centres around a musical, featuring mega-star Antonio Bandera, which tells the story of Andalusia - a region of Spain - and aims to attract travellers of all ages and walks of life. It focuses on the idea of finding joy in your life, which is particularly powerful in the wake of the pandemic when most people experienced lockdowns and the inability to spend time doing things they once loved.
¡Bienvenido febrero! Andalucía te espera para celebrar un mes a todo color, con música y risas como banda sonora.— Vive Andalucía (@viveandalucia) February 1, 2023
¡Date esta alegría! #ViveAndalucia #DateUnaAlegria #Andalucía #turismo #viajes #carnaval #diadeandalucia pic.twitter.com/ToQq6xyPiP
Desde Córdoba a Granada, recorre Andalucía a través de la ruta del Califato árabe en España ➡️ https://t.co/1VyO9Pl4Fm via @cronistacom#ViveAndalucia #DateUnaAlegria #Andalucía pic.twitter.com/5Re0j17QoA— Vive Andalucía (@viveandalucia) December 16, 2022
Uno de los tesoros más preciados de Andalucía es su Costa Tropical ☀️— Vive Andalucía (@viveandalucia) September 9, 2022
A los pies de Granada, encontramos este enclave privilegiado de sol y mar.
¡Ven a disfrutarla! 🥑
#ViveAndalucia #DateUnaAlegria #Granada pic.twitter.com/QkQHOqS11v
By focusing on the joy of the destination, this campaign successfully puts Andalusia at the heart of the message. Combine that with Turismo de Andalucía’s impressive social media presence and commitment to promoting their region, including monthly updates on what you can do in Andalusia at different times of the year, and you have an always-on campaign that celebrates the beauty of your destination on a 365-day basis.
From sun kissed beaches to exquisite cuisine, our final campaign takes us to Vienna, the capital city of Austria. This surreal campaign by the Vienna Tourism Board taps into one of the most enjoyable aspects of vacations – the opportunity to try new cuisines.
In ‘The Way To Your Heart Is Through Your Stomach’, Vienna uses the old cliché of a way to a person’s heart is through their stomach to give tourists permission to indulge their appetites, literally and metaphorically. This allows them to put the city’s culinary reputation – plus some of their most beautiful museums and landmarks – at the heart of their message.
The campaign hinges on a six-minute short film, in which a stomach leaves his gym-obsessed human to wander the streets of Vienna. He visits many iconic destinations and tries many delicious foods, including a Sacher torte in his hotel room, before finally reuniting with his human on a delightful date in a Viennese restaurant. The final message? "The most beautiful way to love yourself is to indulge”.
Talking about the campaign, director Nobert Kettner said: “Real moments of indulgence are becoming increasingly scarce these days as we get lost in endlessly discussing self-love, acceptance and body-positivity. Viennese culture has been questioning body ideals for hundreds of years. We thought it was time to embrace the consequences of self-love. The belly is a heroic figure that in the end arrives at a realisation: only if you love yourself, you can truly indulge. Without shame. Without judgement.”
With some weird and wonderful campaigns to guide our thinking, what have we learned and how can you apply these lessons to your own marketing in 2023? Let’s recap.
Ready to take the next step in audience intelligence this year? With tools like Audiense, conducting in-depth audience analysis and discovering actionable takeaways makes creating tailored marketing strategies easier than ever.
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