“Germany, we’re coming for you,” said a speaker at Visit California’s Outlook Forum in San Fransisco this past February. He reminded the audience that if California was a sovereign nation, it would be the world’s 5th largest economy (ahead of the United Kingdom and India, and behind Germany).
I traveled to the Visit California forum to pulse check the travel industry. Here are some of my learnings:
Content creators are re-introducing destination spots
Content creators are taking social media audiences to places they’ve never considered, with new vantage points.
Gone are the days where the Hollywood Sign or the Golden Gate Bridge are the main draw; people are looking for a more localized experience – a dive bar off of Highway 1, or a cliff with a perfect sunset view, perhaps.
(IMO, the GGB is still amazing!)
In contrast to influencers, content creators provide relatable and everyday human viewpoints without being overly produced. This new behavior drives higher engagement and is re-energizing travelers as pandemic regulations and mandates lift and shift.
Social listening is still valuable
With any global footprint or audience, breaking apart and digesting market uniqueness is essential to creating content that attracts your audience.
ICUC’s Director of Strategy Jazmin Griffith spoke at the Forum. She explained, “Social listening helps put your strategy to the test. You can’t create content for your consumers without listening. Consumers want mission-led brands and social listening can be the key to unlock that.”
Safety remains at the forefront for travelers
Visit California’s research revealed most international travelers still say that the safety protocols are an important consideration to them in selecting their destination.
If you’re in the travel sector, or if any part of your content involves mobilizing people to travel, get clear on your destination’s regulations around COVID-19, and provide accurate information all digital touch points.
Tiktok is now a need, not a want
TikTok was mentioned at every. single. talk.
Some of our readers are on the platform. Just make sure to maintain a measurement framework, foster partnerships with creators, and plan for community management. From there, you’re off to the races.
Perhaps you can be like @tk.california, a Forum fan favorite dubbed the “unofficial California advocate.” His method to follower growth? Roasting other states (gently, of course).
Gen Z is in high focus
As Gen Z enters the workforce with money to spend and places to go to, their values and behaviors are making a stronger impact on the hospitality workforce and travel industry.
A disruptive generation born between the 90s and less than a decade ago(!) with an incredible amount of passion, they appreciate advertising and messaging fit their unique needs. They prefer it.
According to JUV Consulting, 31% of Gen Z respondents said they think about cultural appropriation when traveling and 46% said they get most of their travel inspiration from social media.
Some of you may be thinking – ‘That’s still not my target audience.’ Fair. But in our book, understanding a NEW generation provides contrast to understanding former generations.
We often don’t know who WE are until we have someone or something to compare to (Boomers, Gen X & Millennials, we’re talking to you)