The Brave New World of Traveler2.0


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This presentation was part of the Luckie summer of 2009 speaking circuit to tourism groups in the Southeast. It covers the emergence of what we call Traveler2.0 and how they use social media and networking tools to not only plan their own vacations, but how they influence likeminded travelers. The back half of the presentation gives practical tips and examples of how tourism marketers can become involved in a meaningful way in this congested social media world. The presentation of this deck has a joint effort between Luckie’s David Stutts and David Griner.

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The Brave New World of Traveler2.0

  1. 1. Leisure travel planning has changed drastically in the past 15 years
  2. 2. Power has shifted
  3. 3. From the advent of buses, trains and planes, travel agents have really played a big roll in planning and steering travelers to destinations. You walked in, said you wanted a beach vacation and you were off to some island
  4. 4. And even with consumers in control, there has been a rapid evolution (especially in the past couple of years)
  5. 5. But first let‘s go way back to the mid-1990s where the power shift started
  6. 6. It started with getting info about a destination (online brochure) – freedom to get info when they wanted versus when the travel agent wanted
  7. 7. To booking an airline ticket or hotel room
  8. 8. To using travel aggregators to see all options in one place and get a good deal
  9. 9. To using evolved travel aggregators that bundled flights, hotels and rental cars into one package and offered a really good deal with a little destination insight
  10. 10. To using chat rooms to see what other travelers were doing or thinking regarding travel planning
  11. 11. To reading consumer-generated blogs about potential destinations
  12. 12. Then the pipe reached critical mass
  13. 13. Opening the door to easily accessible user-generated content like pictures and videos
  14. 14. Which tells a very different story than just words in a blog and the pretty pictures that marketers show on their Web sites
  15. 15. THEN Early Adopters 36% of U.S. adults had broadband access 17% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video in June 2005 Source: Pew Internet Life Dec. 2005, comScore March 2004
  16. 16. NOW Mainstream 63% of U.S. adults have broadband access 78% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video in April 2009 AND Watched 16.8 BILLION videos Source: Pew Internet Life April2009, and comScore April 2009
  17. 17. This broadband penetration and acceptance of UGC led to an explosion of UGC sites in many categories, especially travel
  18. 18. And a new breed of leisure traveler was born Traveler2.0
  19. 19. Web savvy Broadband connected Social media initiated In control every step of the way
  20. 20. And most importantly … Willing to seek out and share travel information with like-minded travelers
  21. 21. So where online does Traveler2.0 hang out?
  22. 22. Of the thousands of travel/tourism sites out there, these are the slightly more than 50 we think Traveler2.0 will find the most useful, interesting or engaging Travel Aggregators Blogs/Travel Journals Social Networks Reviews Regional Green Travel Trip Planning/Sharing Group Travel Interesting International Traveler
  23. 23. A social networking site that helps users plan their trips by getting tips from other users, by browsing photos and videos. You can look for travel mates and even book hotels or hostels
  24. 24. A blogging site that travelers can use while actually on their trip to keep friends and family up-to-date on what they are doing
  25. 25. Another social networking and planning site that offers information on the people, the culture, how to get around, and how to avoid problems, as well as suggestions for itineraries, accommodations, dining and things to do
  26. 26. A newer site that combines UGC and reviews with professionally generated travel tips.
  27. 27. Not just Web sites Traveler2.0 is becoming highly mobile too
  28. 28. Smart phones are finally giving travelers access to interactive tools when they need them most
  29. 29. iPhone travel tools RoadTrippr – Everyone can find the main attractions, but most of the time the most interesting places to visit are off the beaten path. UrbanSpoon – Randomly select a nearby restaurant based on a few criteria, such as price or cuisine type. Yelp – Find directions and reviews for restaurants, hotels or almost any other business nearby.
  30. 30. 5,000+ Travel Apps Available
  31. 31. Smart phones aside, how many options does Traveler2.0 have?
  32. 32. In the U.S., there are more than 5,000 travel-related Web sites Containing 20,000,000+ opinions On 750,000 or so destinations to visit, things to do and places to stay And this doesn‘t count blogs Source:
  33. 33. Tourist blog posts 4,407 Trip blog posts 19,003 Vacation blog posts 22,791 Travel blog posts 242,478 Source: Technorati, August 28, 2009
  34. 34. There is a whole lot of competition for destination marketers as Traveler2.0 works to select the right vacation
  35. 35. The million dollar question is how do destination marketers connect with Traveler2.0?
  36. 36. The mainstreaming of social media has left tourism marketers with three options: 1. Encourage the conversation 2. Join the conversation 3. Start a conversation
  37. 37. Sometimes it only takes a nudge to get travelers talking about your destination
  38. 38. Encourage the conversation Nashville‘s Hotel Preston sends all guests an e-mail asking them ―to write a review of your stay on a hotel review site, such as TripAdvisor or‖ Result? Hotel Preston has more reviews on TripAdvisor than any other Nashville hotel, and an average rating of 4 stars.
  39. 39. Encourage the conversation When bloggers arrived in droves for PodCamp Pittsburgh 2008, local tourism officials were ready. VisitPittsburgh arranged VIP tours for several of the high-profile writers in attendance.
  40. 40. Encourage the conversation In January 2009, Disney took a select group of influential mom bloggers on a trip to the Bahamas to highlight its new cruise line. Result was dozens of posts and national buzz.
  41. 41. 2. Join the conversation
  42. 42. Facebook is the most popular social network in the world In the past six months, Facebook has grown from 150 million to 250 million users Largest age group: 35–54
  43. 43. Growth since January 2009: Ages 35-54: 190% growth 20.2 million users Ages 55+: 590% growth 5.9 million users Source: “Most Facebook users are older, study finds.”, 7/8/09
  44. 44. Facebook users over 18: Alabama: 687,460 Florida: 3,920,240 Georgia: 2,282,700 Mississippi: 375,460 Tennessee: 1,168,720 Source: Facebook, 8/3/09
  45. 45. acebook Groups
  46. 46. acebook Fan Pages
  47. 47. acebook Groups More members Admins must use personal accounts Less corporate Little control of content
  48. 48. acebook Fan Pages Easy to control Can appear more ‗corporate‘ to users Admin names aren‘t public Must be maintained Dynamic content Analytics
  49. 49. Twitter lets you post brief items, shared with the world In the past year, Twitter has grown nearly 2,000% to 50 million+ users Largest age group: 35–44
  50. 50. Portland‘s ―Twisitor Center‖ Responds quickly to any questions posed by visitors on Twitter. Gives advice, offers tips, solves problems.
  51. 51. 3. Start a conversation
  52. 52. The ―Pomegranate‖ phone does everything, including brew coffee. Well, not really. It‘s a viral campaign for Nova Scotia, where you can ―get everything in one place.‖ Result? Hundreds of thousands of views and hundreds of blog posts.
  53. 53. Orlando‘s 67 Days of Smiles ―One adventurous pair with smiling personalities will land the ultimate assignment: Experiencing every attraction in Orlando over 67 days!‖ 10 sets of finalists also got to spend 67 hours in Orlando. Results: National news coverage 3,500+ blog mentions 478 Facebook fans 167 YouTube videos
  54. 54. World Nomads, a travel insurance company, is hosting this relay-style contest to journey across Australia in their customized van, ―Geoff.‖ Applications came in via YouTube, and participants will post throughout the travels. The group voted ―most entertaining‖ wins $10,000.
  55. 55. 34,000 people worldwide applied to be the caretaker of a tropical island off Queensland, Australia. The contest generated global buzz for this distant destination.
  56. 56. Closing thoughts The social media revolution has made it easier than ever for travelers to be smarter, faster and more informed. But that means it‘s more important than ever for destination marketers to experiment, adapt and connect — or be left in the rear view mirror of Traveler2.0.
  57. 57.