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November 23, 2010

Travel sites will invest in social media, content

Survey offers insight into 2011 digital priorities

Social media, web content, and mobile will be the areas seeing biggest increases in travel organizations’ digital marketing activity in 2011, according to a new global survey released today by digital travel online content specialists Frommer’s® Unlimited, the business-to-business division of Frommers®, a branded imprint of Wiley.

The survey of 325 travel organizations was undertaken with global digital travel news service, Tnooz and respondents included airlines, agents, tour operators and consolidators, hoteliers, tourist boards, car rental, rail, travel insurance, publishing and cruise companies. 70% of the survey said they planned to increase digital marketing budgets for the year ahead compared to 54% who predicted increases one year ago. Social media will see the greatest increase – 68% said they’d invest additional money, but content will also see a 63% increase in focus and mobile will see a 50% increase in activity.

Although only 7% of digital marketers said their budgets would decrease in 2011, the areas where investment is most likely to decrease is in paid activity. 13% of respondents are planning to decrease display advertising, 12% intend to reduce paid search budgets and 8% will reduce paid SEO.

Giles Longhurst, Frommer’s Unlimited director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa said: “This is the third year we’ve undertaken this survey of digital marketing intentions and it’s clear that marketers are looking at how content creation and new applications can reach wider audiences, over and above traditional advertising. When we then drilled down and asked organizations what content was most important to them this year, search engine optimization was still by far and away the top priority, followed by high quality destination content and unique content to compliment the SEO strategy. We were also impressed to see the rapid shift in interest in mobile web and mobile apps – increasing in importance by 100 % year-on-year. Video is also seen as important by two thirds more respondents this year than last.”

Kevin May, editor of Tnooz, said: "It's quite apparent that global content and digital marketing is changing rapidly as marketers trial and develop new services and digital solutions to deliver best impact on their bottom line. This survey clearly shows what marketers feel is delivering best return on investment in 2011."

There is also evidence that companies are looking to more international markets this year with the number planning to invest in multi-lingual content up from 34% to 48%. Only 13% of the poll indicated they currently use Asian languages, but respondents also indicate that this will double to 26% in the future.

For the second year in a row, organizations say the top three priorities for adding content to their websites is to attract search traffic, increase conversions and build the brand. However, the problems organizations face in managing content are also similar year-on-year. The overwhelming problem facing six out of ten respondents is still keeping content up to date. Creating content which is consistent with brand values was highlighted by almost five out of ten of the survey sample and integrating content with products was a problem for four out of ten surveyed.

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