Travel Industry Marketing Conversations

by the folks at ITI Marketing, Inc.

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Posts Tagged ‘travel industry’

Best Practices for Mobile Marketing In The Tourism Industry

Posted by TeamITI on November 24, 2009

What is the one device that people have with them at all times, whether they are at work, on vacation or at home watching television? More than 70% of the world’s population are mobile users and around the world more people use their mobile phones than PCs to access the Web. Mobile phones have evolved into much more than just communication devices. The mobile Internet is a reality. 

Tourism is an ever-evolving industry and this article provides an overview on one of the newest top trends – mobile marketing. Mobile marketing is the only media that allows direct, personalized, interactive and targeted dialogue between brands and consumers. This article takes a common-sense approach to explaining more about the key components of mobile marketing, how they can be used and what they mean to the tourism industry.

How Big is the Mobile Marketplace?

Worldwide mobile communications usage has increased dramatically since 2001. A significant number of cell phone subscribers now have access to the mobile Internet and use some kind of data service such as texting, email, Web browsing, etc. Mobile users expect instant access to information as well as an Internet experience that rivals the one via traditional PC’s and laptops.

Mobile is changing the way your customers search for, buy and enjoy your travel product!

  • Mobile phones technology advancements, economic cost and small size have made them a constant companion for people worldwide
  • Of the 6.7 billion inhabitants of Earth, 4 billion were cell phone subscribers worldwide at the end of 2008 – compare this to than 1 billion in 2002
  • Around the world more people are now using their mobile phones instead of their PCs to access the Web.
  • 26.3% of mobile phone subscribers will log on to the mobile Web at least once per month in 2009, for a total of 73.7 million mobile Internet users.
  • 67% percent of travelers and 77% of frequent business travelers with Web-enabled mobile devices have already used their devices to find local services (e.g. lodging) and attractions.
  • Over a third of travel companies will be investing in mobile this year

               Source: EyeforTravel, PhocusWright
Ways in which Mobile Marketing can be Used

Mobile Advertising

Mobile Websites, App’s and Text Messaging allow businesses to promote and market products and services. All businesses have a message to send. By utilizing mobile technology and text messaging you can market your message, product and/or service to the world’s 4 billion cell phone users. Mobile puts your message in the hands of your audience and by utilizing mobile strategies such as building a list of text message opt-in subscribers you will be able to stay in front of your audience consistently. GoChoice.mobi utilizes an informational on-the-go format in combination with SMS text messaging and money saving mobile coupons to provide travelers with a valuable tool which even facilitates mobile booking.

 Customer Relations Services

Finding ways to strengthen your customer relationship is crucial to a business’s success. NTA is using Meetings2Go.mobi to provide mobile info-on-the-go to all attendees during their annual convention via GONTA.mobi. By developing a list of opt-in mobile user numbers, NTA can regularly communicate with all attendees utilizing text messaging. NTA’s SMS alerts notify meeting attendees of upcoming meeting sessions and events; and they can even distribute mobile surveys for instant response.

Viral Marketing

Mobile and text messaging is an ideal viral medium. Creating and deploying a viral mobile strategy can generate a big buzz. America’s Premier Shopping Places utilized a viral component for a national sweepstakes. Sweepstake subscribers were given the opportunity to register via SMS for a chance to win the grand prize. Subscribers could also forward a text to win text message to their friends so that they too could enter for a chance to win the sweepstakes. You can imagine how quickly this campaign spread.

Marketing Support Tool

One of the biggest challenges of advertising is enabling an immediate response to a call-to-action. People are constantly enticed with outdoor and print advertising on-the-go; however, despite their interest they usually forget to act on it later. By including a mobile or text call-to-action response method, organizations can ensure that the interest sparked by print media is translated into action. Recent SMS integration by The Official Interstate Guide into their printed coupon guide is a good example. By including text message information in their publications hotel print ads, travelers are able to text the mobile id for any hotel they are interested in and be sent to a custom hotel page on TheOIG.mobi with descriptive information and photo’s telling the traveler more about the property. Travelers can then click to call their hotel of choice and book in real time on-the-go.

Mobile as Part of your Marketing Strategy

Can you see ways that mobile marketing could be used as part of your marketing strategy? Here are some of the areas you should be aware of.

Simple  

Mobile marketing strategies must be very simple. If the consumer does not get it the first time, they may not use it again. Mobile websites, App’s and text message campaigns need to be intuitive and easy to navigate. This is well demonstrated by the GONTA.mobi example

Targeted

Campaigns must be targeted and tailored to the audience. One of the most valuable components of  mobile websites, App’s and text messaging campaigns is the ability to provide users ‘urgent now’ information that is relevant to them on-the-go. For tourism mobile sites, the emphasis should not be marketing. Instead it should be on rapidly allowing users to navigate to information they are interested in to facilitate an immediate buy decision.

Permission Based 

People consider their mobile phone an important personal accessory and value their privacy. Ensuring that you are targeting users in ways which comply with the Data Protection Act is a must. Unwelcome intrusion into a user’s personal space runs a high risk of eroding your brand. A recent poll shows that when users gave permission to receive mobile marketing messages, 61% identified SMS as their most preferred way to be reached ahead of TV and radio. By using permission-based marketing best practices you can help ensure the success of your mobile marketing strategies.

Interactive

Mobile marketing should engage consumers in a true two-way dialogue. To best take advantage of the mobile medium, give users the opportunity to interact. Mobile website, App’s and text messaging campaigns should create interactive experiences for the user including location based searches, click to call phone numbers, text to win contests, surveys etc. The success of major brands such as GOChoice.mobi was in a large part due to this.

Measurable

Mobile marketing campaigns are very measurable; It is one of the huge benefits of mobile marketing. However mobile is not a medium of isolation and all mobile marketing should be integrated into your overall marketing mix to produce the desired return on investment. In the case of The Official Interstate Guide, one of goals was to drive more hotel bookings utilizing the publications coupons, which it did through close integration with participating hotels’ marketing efforts. In the case of America’s Premier Shopping Places the goal was to increase brand awareness, which it did overwhelmingly. Both examples demonstrate very different return on investment success.

Cost Effective

Mobile marketing is much more cost effective than other marketing channels such as Internet marketing, advertising and direct mail. Cost effective mobile website setup costs can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars depending on the size and complexity. Text messaging credits available for a few pennies each are an economical communication tool to support your mobile marketing efforts. 

Summary

Mobile marketing for the tourism industry is here! It is no longer cutting edge, untested technology. Throughout the last 10 years mobile marketing has benefited from increased technical development and market testing and is now considered a proven and valuable medium. Most importantly, mobile demonstrates an attractive return on investment and is affordable and can be used by small and large business alike.

As you consider your future in mobile marketing, remember, there are many services that need to be brought together and the easiest route is often to contract with a experienced company who specializes in mobile marketing and who can navigate between and manage your various Mobile, App and SMS technologies as well as implement effective mobile strategies.

 

About ITI Marketing

ITI Marketing, Inc. is a leading provider of mobile marketing solutions within the tourism and hospitality industry. As one of the first agencies to apply Mobile Marketing inside a tourism environment, ITI Marketing’s unique experience of being marketers first, technologists second allows us to provide specialized proven mobile marketing solutions. The business model is simple – ITI Marketing helps organizations increase the effectiveness of their advertising, marketing, PR and CRM campaigns utilizing Mobile websites, text messaging and other cell phone features such as Apps and location‐based services, resulting in more successful marketing strategies. Having worked with hundreds of clients of all sizes, including: Choice International, The Official Interstate Guide, America’s Premier Shopping Places, NTA, The State of Georgia and Jacksonville, FL., ITI’s integrated marketing capabilities allow us to stand out among larger agencies, while our intimate size allows for a true marketing partnership. Contact ITI Marketing at (912)267-1558 or Info@ITI-Marketing.com

This article was published in the November E’Newsletter of the Destination Marketing Association International.

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Posted in Articles & Research, Mobile Marketing, Travel Industry News & Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

U.S. Online Travel to Grow 9 Percent in 2009

Posted by TeamITI on January 14, 2009

growth

Although online travel is showing signs of a mature marketplace, its growth will continue to outpace the total travel market through 2010. The market offers significant opportunities—to those who take advantage of them—even amid the current weak economic climate.

Key Findings:

  • U.S. leisure / unmanaged business travel bookings accounted for $89.7 billion in 2007, more than one-third of the total travel market.
  • Despite broad economic turmoil, softening consumer spending and declining travel demand, the U.S. online travel market is projected to grow in the high single digits through 2010, far ahead of the total travel market.
  • Supplier Web sites and online travel agencies are expected to hold a temporary share equilibrium through 2010 at 61% and 39%, respectively, but this equilibrium remains uneasy: intense competition and powerful economic trends are driving turbulent dynamics in online air and hotel sales.
  • Market maturity is sparking significant innovation in consumer marketing, media revenue models and trip planning/destination content products. Supplier sites are trying to get more dollars out of purchasers, while online travel agencies are trying to monetize unconverted visitors.
  • The impact of airline capacity cuts across the industry remains far from clear, as a rapidly deteriorating economic climate may further reduce demand and restrain airlines’ ability to raise fares.
  • Online travel agencies—in particular opaque sites—are getting a mild counter-cyclical lift from weaker demand in the current tough economic climate; travelers are increasingly shopping online for better bargains.
  • Dynamic packaging is experiencing a moderate resurgence as increasingly bargain-hungry consumers respond to the “book together and save” proposition.
  • Spurred largely by rising fuel costs, soaring airfares and growing concern for “green” travel, Amtrak is experiencing record growth in overall ridership and online bookings.

Related article: PhoCusWright US Online Travel Overview 8th Edition.

Posted in Travel Industry News & Trends | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Encouraging Signs for Motorcoach Travel in 2009

Posted by TeamITI on October 14, 2008

Motorcoach travel will be strong in 2009, and charter and tour operators can adjust their offerings in order to attract people traveling closer to home, according to a white paper by American Bus Association (ABA) President and CEO Peter Pantuso.

The paper was submitted to the October 2008 TIA Marketing and Outlook Forum.

Some of the key points in the paper include:

• Consumers in many segments of ABA member companies’ travel offerings took them up on the invitation to try out a bus for the first time in a long time.

• Economic circumstances keeping Americans from outbound foreign travel present enormous opportunities for U.S. coach operators who can invite travelers to see more of what America’s got in store right in our own backyard

• A new generation of non-traditional bus riders in their 20s is not wedded to personal autos. They view “traveling green” on the bus as the coolest thing they can do to earn praise among their peers.

Read the complete white paper here.

Posted in Travel Industry News & Trends | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Welcome to the ITI Blog!

Posted by TeamITI on July 21, 2008

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We are glad you found us, and we invite you to get into a conversation with us!

The travel and tourism industry is evolving ever so fast and makes it a very interesting playground. Yes, a playground we’d like to call it, because in fact travel is a fun activity, and our work in the tourism and travel industry is entertaining and engaging.

ITI Marketing, Inc. is a global destination marketing company with over 25 years of experience in the travel industry. We work with international and domestic destination marketing organizations and help them market their brands on the Internet with the ultimate goal to align online initiatives with  their other more traditional marketing strategies. ITI Marketing, Inc. is at the cutting edge of the new destination marketing paradigm, helping clients imagine, implement and re-invent off- and online strategies and mobile solutions.

The company is lead by CEO Franci Edgerly (connect with Franci at LinkedIn). Other key staff include:

Andy Uhlig, Director of Business Development (connect with Andy at LinkedIn)

Marie Fuehner, Mobile Business Development Manager (connect with Marie at LinkedIn)

Chris O’Flaherty, National Sales Manager (connect with Chris at LinkedIn)


We look forward to sharing and discussing the many facets of our industry.

Posted in About us | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »