Jan 3, 2022
Is your marketing ready for 2022? The team at Madden Media has rounded up some industry predictions for the new year as travelers continue to crave community and connectedness. From responsible & sustainable practices to the importance of the creator economy, here are 7 points to consider as you review your strategies for the new year.
This year, we have seen substantial shifts throughout the world. In 2021, people revisited everything from spending to working habits as they decided how to become a better, healthier version of themselves. We also saw consumers craving community and connectedness. They came together to support local businesses and check in on vulnerable family and friends. And as they became more confident in their safety, they sought out travel, events, and engagement — especially new and novel experiences.
The good news for tourism is travel is seen as both essential and healthy. Consumers are researching travel options like never before, as evidenced by growing organic visitation on destination marketing websites. We know the marketing landscape is constantly evolving, and it is why your team at Madden Media always stays two steps ahead, as we embrace emerging trends that will best benefit our partners.
Over the next two months, we will share our predictions for destination marketing in 2022, starting with this blog. We will dive into each of these predictions in-depth in the new year. Be sure to follow our Facebook and LinkedIn as well, where you can find additional insights and predictions from our Madden team.
Responsibility in destination marketing has never been as crucial as it is today. We are working in a more conscientious consumer environment. Privacy and consumer control will continue to dominate investments made by the major brands and news cycles. We predict there will also be a continued focus around diversity and inclusion, with consideration expanding beyond race and gender to include those with accessibility challenges.
Additionally, outdoor recreation is seeing the greatest YOY increase in interest in the history of its measurement. We predict there will be an increasing call for sustainable and regenerative tourism from residents and visitors alike. Using your marketing funnels and tools can help ensure your sustainability message is shared while welcoming and educating your future visitors on being good environmental stewards of your community.
Online communities and social influencers were a $13.8 billion industry in 2021. While the industry has long seen this group as a channel for marketing, they have quietly become the most powerful and trusted publishers and organizers. Whether it is social change, commerce, or the latest trends, their collective voices are leading us into a future that will be known as the “creator economy." Attracting social influencers to your destination is no longer a transaction. We need to broaden how we think about engagement across all platforms and the evolution of metrics and engagement as social influencers provide higher-quality content. These creators will usher in the next evolution of the web.
We know the need to capture insights to learn, evolve, and advocate for destination marketers is essential to their overall success. Destination marketing organizations continue to make the evolutionary leap to destination management organizations. As they do so, our partners need data-driven tools to inform decision-making, measure impact, and fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities. Emerging from the pandemic, we know consumer behavior has changed, and you need the tools to uncover insights on new and future travelers. Understanding travelers' patterns should inform your media and creative strategy.
Search as we know it is gone, with voice, video, and visual searches now defining the landscape. Consumers seek greater sensory experiences in their search approach and expect both their results and their tactile interactions with websites to evolve. Future search performance will be a balance of showing your deep expertise surrounding your destination, referential authority through user engagement and trusted links, and technical performance and compliance. Look to create exceptional SEO-friendly content experiences that integrate text, images, video, gamification, and other interactive content. The content should be focused on your ideal audience and the experience they are seeking, not just on the facts of your destination.
There was nothing more important than video in 2021 — with more than a double-digit increase in hours watched by consumers across all platforms. The key to success with video in 2022 will be appealing to short attention spans. You want videos that are easy to consume, highly informative, and are as entertaining as possible. These videos will be vitally important in both organic and paid media efforts.
The user experience is important across all marketing landscapes. The best organizations focus strategies on fewer channels to do fewer things to better connect with their audiences. We think experiential marketing will make a big comeback in 2022, with audiences looking to participate in live, immersive experiences. This will come in many forms, whether physical, live-stream, or virtual—including VR/AR platforms. Destinations should balance in-destination and target market origin locations, especially if there is an opportunity to engage the creator economy.
It's essential you find your voice, where you want to choose to play, and how you want to win. All brands and destinations are unique and shaped differently by their individual goals. Be different, and your own kind of weird—do not try to look like everyone else.
Have we got you thinking? Do you have questions? Let's discuss how MADDEN can make a difference for your destination!
Kaitie joined the Madden team in July 2020 after spending 8 years on the DMO side in Pennsylvania as the Content & Communications Manager for Discover Lehigh Valley. During her time in this role, she served on the board of directors for the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance, including a term as chair of the nonprofit organization. Kaitie holds a BA in Media & Communications from Muhlenberg College where she remains an active volunteer and serves on the Alumni Board and on the executive committee of the Young Alumni Council.