MOCALTRAVELERMobile and social media have now become
inseparable. Smart hospitality and travel
marketers c...
The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 1Share this e-book!
Table of Contents
Introduction. ....
The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 2Share this e-book!
What we refer to singly as mobile...
The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 3Share this e-book!
But it’s not just a matter of add...
The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 4Share this e-book!
comments and photos of their own ...
The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 5Share this e-book!
media platform. Many travel brand...
The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 6Share this e-book!
Google+ Communities, in particula...
The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 7Share this e-book!
Marriott International Plays Game...
The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 8Share this e-book!
Holiday Inn Express Gets Edgy wit...
The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 9Share this e-book!
There are many ways to increase b...
The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 10Share this e-book!
We’ve already touched on some of...
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E-book: The Year of the Mocal Traveler


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Copy the link to learn more on our site: - If you haven’t heard of mocal yet, you soon will. This latest digital technology trend has quickly turned into a formidable force for anyone involved in the travel industry. The Year of the Mocal Traveler, a complimentary new e-book from MDG Advertising, explains that mobile devices now account for 20% of all travel sales, and that 40% of all stories shared on Facebook are travel-related. Fuse these two statistics together and you get mocal.

Simply put, mocal is what happens when people access social media through their mobile devices. More than just a buzzword, mocal is exerting a major influence on a growing number of travel-related purchases. And no, it’s not enough to utilize mobile and social media separately. Those who catch on and treat this powerful combination as a single marketing force will gain a decided advantage over their competitors.

In this informative new e-book, MDG details how the collision of social media and mobile usage has created an explosion of opportunities in the travel industry, and why treating these two trends as a single marketing force can have a major impact on ROI. Readers will gain valuable tips and strategies for using mocal to increase bookings, build brand awareness, manage their online reputations, and more.

Here’s a sampling of some of the critical insights shared in The Year of the Mocal Traveler:

- Why it’s more important than ever to create share-worthy ads
- How effective use of mocal can improve your discoverability and search rankings
- Tactics for cultivating positive online reviews and why they’re so vital to your brand’s success
- The power of mocal to boost last-minute bookings
- How to turn online complaints into a competitive advantage
- Examples of how other successful travel businesses have utilized mocal to achieve a diverse set of marketing objective
- Helpful tips and suggestions for creating your own mocal campaigns

As The Year of the Mocal Traveler explains: “Think of mocal as sticking a microphone (aka smartphone or tablet) into the hands of the public and asking them to broadcast their thoughts about your brand. It’s word-of-mouth advertising at its most powerful.”

With this highly detailed e-book, travel marketers will gain valuable insight and easy-to-employ tools to help them better understand and more effectively market to this lucrative new breed, the mocal traveler. Download The Year of the Mocal Traveler now, and feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues.

For more strategies on how to capture the mocal traveler for your brand, contact MDG Advertising today at 561-338-7797, or visit

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E-book: The Year of the Mocal Traveler

  1. 1. THE YEAR OF THE MOCALTRAVELERMobile and social media have now become inseparable. Smart hospitality and travel marketers can capitalize on this trend to effectively increase sales. Share this e-book!
  2. 2. The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 1Share this e-book! Table of Contents Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Impact of Mobile on Travel-Related Decisions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 The Impact of Social Media on Travel Bookings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The Impact of Mocal on Travel Bookings. . . . 6 Developing a Mocal Strategy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Some Helpful Tips for Creating Your Own Mocal Campaigns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 But What About Local? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Making Mocal Pay Off as Part of an Integrated Strategy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 First we had the mobile traveler, and the way we market travel changed. Then we had the social traveler, and our marketing tactics changed again. This year is all about the mocal traveler. And yes, you guessed it­—the way we market travel is changing once more. This new trend will have major implications for all travel-related decisions, from hotel and airline bookings to sightseeing activities to restaurant reservations, even local transportation. For those who haven’t yet encountered the term, mocal (sometimes referred to as mocial or so-lo-mo) denotes the convergence of mobile device usage with social media— specifically, accessing social media from a mobile device. While both mobile and social media have individually influenced travel decisions over the past decade, this will be the year the two trends converge to become a single, highly powerful motivator. Used appropriately, this anytime, anywhere access to social media via smartphones and tablets can have far-reaching consequences for your travel business. To truly understand the impact of the fusion of these two trends, let’s first look at each one separately.
  3. 3. The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 2Share this e-book! What we refer to singly as mobile actually includes multiple devices, with most travelers moving between screens during the booking process. Ericsson estimates there will be more than 50 billion connected devices in circulation by the year 2020. This includes laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones— and it means marketers must optimize their messages for all these different formats. But according to Ericsson, the really big news happens in 2014. In North America, this year will mark a major shift when more online access takes place via mobile devices than traditional desktops and laptops. This shift is particularly notable to the travel industry, as these mobile travelers represent a highly desirable market. All consumers who use mobile devices for travel services tend to have higher-than-average incomes, and 32% of all business travelers have booked travel on mobile. In addition, mobile plays a particularly strong role in last-minute bookings, with more than 70% of reservations through smartphones coming within a day of check-in. Here’s what you need to know about each mobile device in order to effectively target its users: The Smartphone Smartphones have revolutionized the world, but nowhere more so than in the area of travel. Smartphones and their apps are now regularly used to search for and book transportation and hotel accommodations, substitute for traditional paper boarding passes, replace paper maps for navigating a new destination, make dinner reservations, and translate foreign words. But perhaps most important to travel marketers, apps on smartphones can help them hone their marketing strategies by collecting valuable location-based data on users. The Tablet Tablet adoption among travelers has skyrocketed in the past few years, with more than 44% of the population currently owning one, and another 40% planning to purchase one sometime during 2014 (PhoCusWright Innovation Edition report). As a result, travelers now split their travel planning between both smartphones and tablets. The Impact of Mobile on Travel-Related Decisions MOBILETRAVEL 20% 37% 25% Now that it accounts for 20% of all travel sales, hospitality marketers can no longer afford to ignore mobile. In fact, 37% of consumers worldwide access the Internet via their smartphones for travel purposes. And in 2013, a quarter of all travelers used mobile to search, research, and purchase travel.
  4. 4. The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 3Share this e-book! But it’s not just a matter of adding another device into the marketing mix. It’s the way travelers use tablets that has marketers rethinking their strategies. Mobile Web usage nearly doubles with the use of tablets, suggesting that less travel planning is now taking place on a desktop. In addition, travelers are choosing tablets over smartphones for destination selection, shopping, and booking. In conclusion, JiWire reports that all devices are heavily used for booking travel with the process typically beginning on one device and concluding on another. While smartphones and tablets are frequently used for research, the device most often used for the actual booking is still the laptop. This means laptops will continue to play an important role in the marketing process, and that marketers need to consider all three screens when assessing their strategies. For those who hope to use social media successfully, it’s important to understand the dynamics involved in the traveler’s decision- making process. Social media gives people immediate access to an entire network of friends, making it easy to seek trusted advice on travel purchase decisions. After all, these friends already know their likes and dislikes, and are more likely to provide honest feedback than marketers with an underlying motive of trying to sell them something. In addition, messages relayed from friends are more likely to be remembered. Recent research shows that ads shared through social media generate 50% greater recall. There’s also something particularly comforting about having friends to consult when confronting the unfamiliar aspects of travel. Travel is an expensive and emotional decision. Social media helps overcome a traveler’s fear of the unknown. Even before the decision of where to go is made, would- be travelers are influenced by others posting The Impact of Social Media on Travel Bookings SOCIALTRAVEL 44% 75% 4/5 Compared to mobile, social media is a relative newcomer. Nonetheless, it has become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives in a very short time. Penetration has now reached 44% of the developed world. A recent survey of travel technology professionals suggests that 75% consider establishing a presence on social media networks “essential” to their business, and four out of five cite social media as their most successful tool in attracting new clients.
  5. 5. The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 4Share this e-book! comments and photos of their own travels. They see something they like and think, “I want to go there, too.” It’s immensely reassuring to know that someone familiar to them has been there before. Instant dialogue via social media also makes it possible to stand out from your competitors by quickly addressing complaints before they spiral out of control. Recent findings by Edison Research show that 42% of consumers posting a complaint on social media expect a response within 60 minutes. To avoid negative publicity, marketers must stay on top of posts about their properties, and respond quickly and appropriately to criticism. Expedia keeps a multi-lingual team available 24/7 to handle its customer queries and complaints in real-time. Another key trend in social media has been the shift toward more visual content. This seems to be true regardless of the platform, but may explain the rapid rise of sites like Pinterest and Instagram. In general, how you use social media to promote your property depends upon your brand, your audience, and the message you hope to convey. Here’s a look at some popular social media channels with tips on how to best utilize them for your purposes. Although the proliferation of new social networks has increased competition, Facebook still reigns supreme in the social media universe. According to the 2012 Social Media Report from Nielsen, Facebook received 152.2 million visitors via PC, 78.4 million via mobile apps, and 74.3 million via mobile web. Even more important, 42% of the stories shared on Facebook were about travel. This site’s high level of engagement and overall market penetration make it a particularly powerful medium for conveying inspirational and aspirational content. Twitter is all about immediacy and real-time responsiveness. You can learn a lot about your market by listening to travel-related conversations and by monitoring mentions of your brand. Consider the example of a diner at a London Halkin Hotel who tweeted a picture of her main course along with a positive comment. Just minutes later, the hotel’s manager came into the dining room to personally thank her. This kind of spontaneous interaction is where Twitter excels. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube and over 6 billion hours of video are watched every month. As a travel marketer, you can put this popularity to work by posting high- quality video content that showcases your property or travel-related business. Consider giving viewers a tour of your destination’s most interesting aspects and encourage them to post their own videos by offering incentives or rewards. Pinterest has rapidly gained a loyal following since its public debut in 2010—making it well worth a marketer’s time and investment to capitalize on this visually dominant social Facebook Twitter YouTube Pinterest
  6. 6. The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 5Share this e-book! media platform. Many travel brands now use Pinterest for marketing tactics like posting offer boards, encouraging customers to share photos from their trips, and aiding future guests in their trip-planning activities. To make it easy for travel planners, businesses need to ensure that their website content is pinnable and create travel boards that maximize the aspirational aspects of travel. The use of photography has always played an essential role in travel marketing. So it’s no surprise that an app that focuses on photo sharing would soon earn a place in the travel marketer’s portfolio. What is surprising is the phenomenal growth of Instagram. New figures published by GlobalWebIndex show that Instagram is the fastest-growing social media site worldwide. Purchased by Facebook, it has now followed in its owner’s footsteps and begun selling ads through sponsored content. To make the most of the visual nature of Instagram, brands should focus on high-quality, compelling photo content. For those targeting businesspeople, LinkedIn remains the obvious choice. This social network is geared to business professionals and one of the few social networking sites favored more by men than women. UK-based East Coast Trains took advantage of the business nature of LinkedIn to target commuters along its mainline. As a result, it quickly increased the number of followers from 700 to 4,000. There’s no question that customer reviews influence consumer buying behavior. In fact, recent research suggests that consumers overwhelmingly prefer reviews over aggregate ratings when forming an opinion about a potential purchase. The uncertainty associated with travel makes hotel reviews particularly influential. Favorable reviews can go a long way in swaying potential guests. Even bad reviews can be mitigated with a quick and appropriate response, thus demonstrating a high level of customer care. Equally important, by monitoring reviews of your competitors’ properties, you can glean valuable information to help you successfully market against them. As of January 2014, 45 million people use the mobile app, Foursquare, to “check in” to businesses around the world. But Foursquare goes well beyond the simple check-in feature. It also provides personalized travel tips based on other user recommendations. These user recommendations are particularly helpful because they’re provided by others, including personal friends, who’ve actually been to the same destination. One way businesses can utilize Foursquare is by posting offers which are buzzed to a user’s phone whenever they check in to your location. Although Google+ was slow to take off, the network has quickly gained momentum. Instagram LinkedIn Yelp Foursquare Google+
  7. 7. The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 6Share this e-book! Google+ Communities, in particular, has garnered a great deal of interest, with key implications for the travel industry. Communities are groups of G+ users with similar interests. Many of the G+ Communities trending in 2014 are travel themed. They range from general topics like Places to See Before You Die to niche categories like Family Travel and Budget Travel, as well as geographic topics like Travel South Africa and Miami and South Florida Events. This well-defined segmentation makes it easy for travel marketers to match communities to their target demographic and develop outreach efforts to effectively address these communities. Although TripAdvisor is more of a review site than a true social media platform, it’s worth mentioning here in terms of monitoring. Online reputation management is an essential element in any mocal strategy to make sure negative reviews don’t derail your well- planned marketing efforts. TripAdvisor The Impact of Mocal on Travel Bookings MOCALTRAVEL Now that we’ve explored these two powerhouses separately, let’s look at how they work together. Mobile-originated content dominates social media. This content is then shared by other mobile users, multiplying its reach exponentially. Any shared content that mentions, tags, or hashtags the brand name becomes linked to that brand’s identity, positively impacting conversation around the brand as well as its discoverability and search rankings. Think of mocal as sticking a microphone (aka smartphone or tablet) into the hands of the public and asking them to broadcast their thoughts about your brand. It’s word-of- mouth advertising at its most powerful. Every comment has the potential to be broadcast and heard around the globe—impacting a brand either positively or negatively. Your goal is to control the conversation and make sure the broadcast has the desired consequences. Whether a post is in the form of video, photography, or micro-blogging, these broadcasts need to be channeled into your pre-approved marketing plan.
  8. 8. The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 7Share this e-book! Marriott International Plays Games with Guests To engage customers and attract a younger audience, Marriott International has developed a mobile travel game for iOS devices. Xplor takes players on an adventure through five major global cities as they attempt to track down their missing Aunt Sophia. In the process, they solve puzzles, interact with characters, and explore each city’s sights. “Social gaming is part of our innovation strategy to engage customers and attract the next generation of social, mobile travelers and employees to Marriott,” says David Rodriguez, chief human resources officer for Marriott International. British Airways Conquers Rome in a Day British Airways recently capitalized on the instant interaction of mocal when it sent a travel blogger to Rome for a day. The blogger, armed with a smartphone, explored the city using only tips from followers on Twitter. According to Kim Willis, British Airways’ content strategy advisor, “Twelve hours, 1,600 tweets and 13 locations later, we’d found and shared parts of Rome that most guidebooks never talk about, with many followers contacting us to say it inspired them to book.” Four Seasons Melts Hearts with a Mobile Ice Cream Social Last July, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts hosted a digital ice cream social titled, “The Summer of Ice Cream Love.” Hotel guests and local residents were invited to events at 17 properties worldwide. The “Insta-Meets” showcased the luxury chain’s culinary prowess by featuring mouthwatering content and encouraging guests to post photos via Instagram. Felicia Yukich, manager of social media marketing at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Toronto, says, “This initiative serves as another way to create significant culinary buzz for the brand within the social media realm, keeping us in the ongoing food conversation.” Developing a Mocal Strategy TRAVELSTRATEGY While both mobile and social media have reached the radar of most travel marketers, few have learned to harness the powerful combination of mocal. By integrating the two, and treating them as one entity, brands can explore the full range of possibilities inherent in this new medium. How your destination utilizes mocal will largely depend on your marketing goals and your budget. But here are some examples of how other travel brands have successfully employed mocal to achieve a wide range of objectives.
  9. 9. The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 8Share this e-book! Holiday Inn Express Gets Edgy with Smart Thinking Campaign Many formerly conservative brands are now looking to social media to establish their brands among a younger, edgier audience. As part of its “Smart Thinking” campaign, Holiday Inn Express invites young travelers to show how smart they are by posting humorous advice on any topic via Vine, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. The chain chose Daily Show comedian Jason Jones as the spokesman for the campaign and enlists websites such as CollegeHumor and Buzzfeed to spread the content. KLM Finds Mocal just the Ticket for Bookings and More With more than 5 million Facebook fans, it’s not surprising that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is now allowing passengers to use mocal for everything from booking flights to seat selection, to arranging for extra baggage. Now the airline has added payments to the list. The airline sends a link to customers through a private message on Facebook or Twitter. The customer then selects the preferred payment method to complete the transaction. The airline also has 130 social media agents working around the clock to answer the approximately 35,000 queries each week that arrive via Facebook and Twitter. East Coast Trains Employs Mocal to do Damage Control In addition to its use of LinkedIn to attract commuters, East Coast Trains harnessed the power of mocal to assuage passengers during recent transportation delays. When angry passengers posted complaints on Twitter, the UK-based railway responded by posting images of affected areas. Social media manager Nick Wood explains, “People are a lot more sympathetic to delays if they can see what’s happening.”
  10. 10. The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 9Share this e-book! There are many ways to increase bookings by using mocal. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Target travelers within a 50-mile radius of your property to increase last-minute bookings. Share exclusive content, behind-the-scenes information, and news about your property specifically targeted to mobile behaviors and situations. Provide incentives to encourage user- generated content (UGC) and the sharing of content with others. Use social networks to post updates to your rewards and loyalty programs. Urge guests to post live tweets while staying at your property and to post about their positive experiences on Facebook. Invite guests to share photos of their visits on Instagram using a campaign-specific hashtag. Consider offering a prize, such as a free room night, for the most intriguing photo. This tactic also works well with posts and tweets. Enlist guests in a scavenger hunt for “treasures” around your property, and ask them to post their findings on various social media sites. The most important thing to remember is to engage your audience in a two-way communication. Social media should promote dialogue, not simply serve as a soapbox to deliver your message. Encouraging a conversation will be easy to do if you mine the real-time location data you gain, and use it to market to the specific tastes, needs, and preferences of your audience. For example, if a prospective customer is discovered at a 4-star restaurant, consider promoting your hotel’s own gourmet menu. Social media sites like Foursquare are ideal for this purpose. Hotels can monitor when a guest checks in via the app, and then review the guest’s social media profile. By learning more about guests, hotel staff can tailor the guest experience to personal preferences. Some Helpful Tips for Creating Your Own Mocal Campaign TRAVELCAMPAIGN As with any form of social media, it’s important to not focus on the short-term direct sell. Instead, use mocal to create a loyal following and encourage user- generated content (UGC). The goal is to keep your brand top-of-mind when travel decisions are made. And remember, it’s equally important to listen, too. By monitoring what people are saying about your brand, you’ll gain valuable insight into how to better market your property to them.
  11. 11. The Year of the Mocal Traveler | Page 10Share this e-book! We’ve already touched on some of the ways this location-based data can help you hone your marketing strategy in our infographic, The Future of Proximity & Micro-Location Marketing. For example, many forward- thinking marketers are already providing customized suggestions and targeted ads based on a customer’s location and buying habits. You’ll no doubt discover more ways as you consider the specific needs of your business or property. Just be sure to make location-based data an integral part of your planning process. But What About Local? LOCALTRAVEL Although we’ve mostly focused on the social media and mobile aspects of mocal, there’s a third component of the mix that shouldn’t be overlooked, and that’s the “local” aspect. Thanks to GPS-enabled devices and apps like Foursquare, brands can now use real-time location data to refine their communications. A recent article in Inc. magazine suggests that companies will soon provide relevant information personalized to what a customer needs, when they need it, wherever they are, and without asking. Making Mocal Pay Off as Part of an Integrated Strategy Given how powerful mocal has become, you may be tempted to forgo paid advertising altogether. In a word, don’t. The best results are obtained from a coordinated effort using both paid and non-paid mocal efforts. Most advertisers seem to understand this. Facebook passed a major milestone, with 53% of its ad revenue now generated from paid mobile advertising. Regardless of the ratio you assign to paid vs. non-paid efforts, mocal has earned a prominent place in a travel marketer’s overall strategy. Look for creative ways to incorporate this dynamic medium that are unique to your brand. A knowledgeable marketing partner can provide valuable guidance. Most of all, don’t wait. The first to recognize the potential of this powerful new trend will move leaps and bounds ahead of their competitors who choose to ignore it.
  12. 12. 3500 NW Boca Raton Blvd. | Suite 601 | Boca Raton, FL 33431 | 561 338 7797 275 Madison Ave. | 14th Floor | New York, NY 10016 | 917 969 5370 Share this e-book! If you would like to receive future MDG e-books, subscribe to the MDG blog, or contact MDG Advertising for a consultation on how you can implement a mocal strategy, visit us at or call 561 338 7797. Travel marketing goes social 14 digital marketing trends to watch for in 2014 Top 10 Hospitality Trends for 2014 5 Travel Marketing Trends for 2014 The Smart Hotelier’s Guide to 2014 Digital Marketing Budget Planning Top 4 Travel Marketing Trends to Take Action in 2014 The Mobile Tourist: How Smartphones Are Shaking Up The Travel Market Price, reviews and ratings: How consumers evaluate a hotel room purchase in a social world Social media revealed as a top priority for travel technology professionals Laptop Computers now Roughly as Popular as Desktops Travel Research and Booking Seen A Multi-Device Process Social Media Report 2012: Social Media Comes of Age 10 Ways Travel Brands Can Use Pinterest So Much For Facebook Ruining Instagram – It Just Hit 150 Million Monthly Active Users How ‘Mocial’ Selling Will Transform Your Business Marriott launches virtual traveling game Xplor of iOS Holiday Inn Express, Marriott eye the younger traveler Four Seasons unites consumers via mobile ice cream social TTG Asia, Ask the Expert: Simrat Sawhney, client partner, global marketing solutions at Facebook (February 2014) By The Numbers: 116 Amazing Twitter Statistics Instagram Is the Fastest-Growing Social Site Globally, Mobile Devices Rule Over PCs For Access No Check In Required: Foursquare Starts Rolling Out ‘Proactive’ Push Recommendations on Android KLM introduces payment via Twitter and Facebook YouTube Statistics Source Articles (Article titles are clickable and will navigate to the Internet)