Not only did travel marketing have to contend with the sector’s slow emergence from the credit crunch, but the sector has also had to deal with Google’s most recent algorithm change. Released in September 2013, Google’s Hummingbird update is aimed at promoting ‘conversational search’ by paying more attention to the user intent behind a query whilst processing each word in a sentence or conversation. The aim is to provide results that are better tailored to the intent rather than a select few keywords.

Google now takes more of the query into consideration when providing search results, providing us with even more opportunity to gain coverage by utilising more semantic, conversational search terms within our content.

New and improving technologies are also playing a large role in the world of the travel marketer. Mobile marketing is becoming increasingly important – a recent report from the IAB found that out of the top 50 travel companies, 48% have a mobile optimised site and only 6% are enabled for location based search. This clearly illustrates that many companies have a long way to go, especially as there have been many pieces of research which have found that people are increasingly using smartphones and tablets to research and book their holidays.

2014 Predictions for Travel Marketing

Based on the current Average Order Value for our clients and the tours that convert well for them, we predict that customers are going to continue to lower the amount they spend on their holidays and tours. However, based on trend, we think that spend whilst on vacation will most likely increase. We believe there are a number of reasons behind this:

  1. There has been a sharp increase in budget travel options.
  2. The emergence of smart phones and tablets has meant that social and online media are now more accessible to people to enable them to research and plan their ideal trip.
  3. People are generally more experience-focused and more willing to engage with countries and tradition rather than “all inclusive type deals” which are expected to remain popular with families. This can also be seen with the dramatic increases in Gap Year and Activity type holidays.

Semantic content is key for SEO. Marketers must ensure that landing pages meet popular demand rather than single keywords. There must be a strategy in place aimed at answering traveller’s questions rather than just working to rank for individual keywords. Hummingbird has enabled Google to be smarter in the way that they crawl websites. For this reason the more semantic a piece of copy, the more rewarding the work will be in terms of bringing targeted traffic to your website which will be more likely to convert.

We also predict that video content will play an important role in travel marketing in 2014. As Google adapts it will be able to better understand the concept of video and the intent behind search queries for video. Video content is also richly rewarding and when done correctly by fitting in with the conversation related content on landing pages. We will then be able to provide the user with actionable content.

4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how SEO and content are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in the travel market, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels.