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What: Google Flights, with its dominant search engine positioning, has turned the competition for online airline ticket sales upside down.
Why it matters: Airlines are scrambling to keep up and compete in new ways in response to what Ernesto Echeverri, Director of Marketing for North America, the Caribbean & Asia for LATAM Airlines Group, says is Google Flights’ complete disruption of the business of directing consumers to the best flights online.

It isn’t easy to compete with Google. In fact, Google’s owner, Alphabet, Inc., finds itself under intense scrutiny by governments and regulators. In these instances, Institutions have accused Google and in some cases won court judgments for antitrust violations. Now, airlines are discovering Google’s entry into the online ticket advertising and sales market has both good and bad consequences.

First launched in 2011, Google’s airfare search tool has become a dominant player among travel booking sites. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Thrifty Traveler columnist Jared Kamrowski says Google Flights is “leaps and bounds better than any other flight searching tool.”Google Flights

“Google Flights is the most powerful flight search tool,” Kamrowski wrote in a recent column. “[It] should be your go-to flight search engine.”

A Matter of SEO

But the tool’s success is turning out to be a double-edged sword for airlines. Since it directs users to the best fares, brands have to compete harder —and spend more— for first-page search-engine results.

“No one else has as much access to online flights information as Google. That means Google can outperform any other online flight aggregator,” Ernesto Echeverri, director of marketing for North America, the Caribbean & Asia for LATAM Airlines Group, and a member of Portada’s Travel Marketing Board, told Portada. “It makes it a little bit uneven because they have a tremendous advantage.”

Google Flights is the most powerful flight search tool. It should be your go-to flight search engine.
Ernesto Echeverri

As a result, it makes it more difficult for brands like LATAM to ensure top positioning on search engine results, especially on mobile platforms where appearing on the first page is even harder due to the smaller screens on mobile.

To compete with Google Flights’ dominant positioning in search results, LATAM will have to spend more money on purchasing first-page positioning, increasing its digital advertising costs, Echeverry said.

Competing with Google

Portada typed the words “flight to Paris from Boston” into Google recently and the following results popped up:

The first four search engine results were paid positioning by companies including Expedia, Cheap Flights, and Opodo.com. Google Flights took the fifth spot, the first unpaid position.

“We see players like Kayak and Priceline or Expedia who are also struggling to remain relevant with Google Flights,” shared Echeverri. Competing with Google for first-page search results is going to cost LATAM more. “What I think is going to start happening is that this will start increasing my costs.

A Silver Lining

The consequences of Google Flights’ entry into online flight search haven’t been all bad, however.

Echeverri declared that LATAM ticket sales tied to searches on Google have increased as a result of Google Flights directing consumers to LATAM flights. “Google Fights is increasing our sales. The multiple is probably ten-fold per year in the category of metasearch.”

Google Flights’ dominance on Google search has also forced LATAM to compete harder for other ways to win customers, including making improvements to its mobile application, frequent flyer program, and CRM.

We see players like Kayak and Priceline or Expedia who are also struggling to remain relevant with Google Flights.

A Better Deal for Consumers

Another consequence of Google’s disruption of flight search has been the possibility to break down the geographic barriers that allow airlines to sell tickets on the same routes at different prices, based on the market where the ticket is purchased.

According to Echeverri, the same round trip ticket between Mexico and Chile may cost more or less, depending on whether the purchase is made, in Chile or Mexico.

LATAM faces tough competition against Google flightsGoogle’s massive database of online information means Google Flights looks at fares from all over the world, so consumers can find a cheaper price on the same route, depending on where they choose to pay. It’s great for the consumer, but it will force airlines to adopt single pricing. “It’s hard on the airlines that used to have geographic barriers to manage their markets,” Echeverri asserted.

As a company you can do two things: start crying right now, or start doing stuff. LATAM has started doing stuff.

Here to Stay

“As a company, you can do two things: start crying right now, or start doing stuff. LATAM has started doing stuff. You don’t want all your eggs in one basket,” Echeverri warns.

Google Flights is “dominant and they are leveraging that dominance, which is good in the short term,” but could produce consequences that will have to be examined over the long term, according to Echeverri. “Google Flights is here to stay.”

 

What: Smart Alliance is a new company that specializes in airport advertising space, with a focus on travel retail and luxury.
Why it matters: Smart Alliance is the largest airport alliance in Latin America, reaching 40% of the passengers that move through the top 10 airports of the region.

 

Smart Alliance, a new company that specializes in the commercialization of advertising space and special airport activations with a focus on travel retail and luxury, is the largest airport alliance in Latin America. With an exclusive network in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, it reaches about 90 million or 40% of passengers that move through the top 10 airports of the region. Global reach allows this airport network to be a point of contact between companies and passengers of the rest of the airports of the continent.

Smart Alliance’s communication services are based on the needs and interests of passengers, which they gather through a combination of technology, big data, and innovation. Rodrigo Manceñido, General Director of Smart Alliance, has over 18 years of experience in the travel retail and luxury industries throughout the Americas and Europe.

The company and its team were present at the latest edition of the TFWA Exhibition and Conference, the largest annual event for the Duty Free and Travel Retail industry worldwide, with Cannes as the epicenter of networking and business development for the company.

Another important milestone was its participation in the Festival of Media Latam (FOMLA) Miami, where Manceñido talked about “How to Use OOH in Airports Effectively in Travel Retail and Luxury.” During his presentation, he focused on Smart Alliance’s integral communication services.

Smart Alliance foresees 2019 will be an ambitious year. It will be attending the Duty Free & Travel Retail Summit of the Americas next March in Orlando, and again the TFWA in September, with a novel exhibition proposal in the Digital Village, with one2one dating service, presentation of new services, exclusive tools and expansion of its airport portfolio.

What: Accenture has published a report on the new travel trends to keep an eye on as 2018 unfolds.
Why it matters: As the world changes and technology advances at an accelerated rate, travel-industry players need to be aware of the new customers’ needs and be ready for some fierce competition.

For the third consecutive year, Accenture has shared its report on the main themes that will become a trend in the travel industry as 2018 unfolds. Experts at Accenture Interactive for Travel have analyzed what’s next in the industry and, as it happened in previous years, they have found interesting and disrupting new trends to watch, which even if we could have expected, we surely need to be ready for. The key takeaways from the report further examined below, touch the foundations of travel: customers ask for improved experiences, brands need to declare their alliances in order to provide those experiences (without losing the human factor from sight), and we need to bear in mind that the world is changing.

Travel Experiences are Becoming Modular

The first trend explored by this year’s Accenture travel report speaks of how consumers have higher expectations than ever. As tools and resources get better, consumers don’t see why their travel experience couldn’t be as flexible as the world is. Airport lounges, hotel rooms…, they are stages of their trip, or as Accenture calls them, “modules” that help create a personalized experience. The challenge is that, as the concept of luxe evolves and adapts to each individual consumer, brands need to accommodate to personal expectations in order to provide a really satisfying travel experience.

The way to make it happen, according to the report, is using new technologies such as biometrics, which can help analyze customer’s sentiments: “Smart rooms, for example, detect the guests’ mood to provide the service they need in real time, not based on past data. And with virtual reality, a person can travel without leaving their room.”

Brands Have to Decide Whether to Become Allies or Enemies

“Travel has become a kind of battlefield where brands either attract or repel each other”, says Accenture. “They must identify which position they hold so they can define a strategy and survive the battle.” Consumer expectations, the new modular architecture, and the new trend of “superbrands” are three forces shaping a new travel ecosystem, similar to a magnetic field where brands need to “come together to meet the growing demands of travelers.” According to each brand’s strategies, firms can either get together or get ready for battle, but they should all keep in mind that the travelers should be the top priority and design a strategy according to today’s realities.

Travel Firms Need to Be Destination Management Companies

As the world goes increasingly crazier, travel-industry players need to adapt to the series of circumstances that play a part in the consumer’s minds when they prepare to choose a destination. Things like terrorism and tourism-phobia are factors that make it necessary for travel companies to recur to a new way of measuring destinations: the Traveler Risk Tolerance Index. To quote the report, “They would essentially become destination management companies (DMC), responding to tourists’ new need to become familiar with a variety of options, allowing them to make the best destination choice.” By interpreting the external factors travelers are concerned with, companies can actually earn the consumer’s trust.

When Quantifying Customers, Keep the Human Factor in Mind

Today’s obsession with measuring everything is leading to a tendency to transform customers into rough numbers. However, says Accenture, travelers’ expectations point clearly toward the human factor. As technology’s command over private lives increases, so does the need for transparency between brands and customers. The future is technological, but it should also be more human precisely for that reason. Thus, in using new technologies, brands are forced to fulfill the expectations that come with this use of technology. “We, as travelers, still demand love,” says Accenture. “Even if interactions happen via technology. Create tech with soul.”

To overcome 2018’s trends, Accenture summarizes what needs to be done:

  • Design an experience package based on relevant modules throughout the customer’s journey.
  • Look for alliances with other brands to win the battle.
  • Adapt to each traveler’s Risk Tolerance Index.
  • Don’t lose sight of the human factor when getting lost in all that data.

The world is changing, why shouldn’t we?

What: Our guest columnist Montserrat Santaella, a hospitality expert with many years of experience in the industry, explains the challenges hotel chains will be facing in 2018.
Why it matters: We all have resolutions and goals we’d like to achieve in the New Year, and the hotel industry is no exception: hotels closed out 2017 with very aggressive budgets, there are several players in the game and no one should get too confident.

Leer en español

1. Good upgrades justify rate increases

On the one hand, we have large hotel chains or independent hotels that will try to raise their rates this year. In Mexico, the large international hotel chains are putting the price pressure on local hotels. The risk for Mexican hotel chains is that they may be tempted to raise their rates without just cause, only because the competition has jacked up theirs. If they don’t want to be stuck with empty rooms, they will really need to improve their facilities, service, food, and/or spaces to justify the price increase.

Similarly, the groups and conventions business will have to offer amenities, high-end service and facilities that justify their rates if they don’t want to be left out in the cold. In this highly competitive sector, many hotels significantly lower their rates in order to win group business.

2. It’s easy to make mistakes when marketing to millennials

Since millennials make up a large percentage of the population, some hotels feel the need to change their communication strategy to target them exclusively. However, it’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to marketing to younger generations. Hotels often forget that the vast majority of guests who fill their rooms are from other age brackets, or they feel that they already do enough targeting to millennials and put technology aside. The worst thing they can do is forget the importance of using technology for numerous processes that go beyond communication, such as reservations or website speed, to name a few. Instead of getting carried away by “trends”, the hotel industry really needs to listen to its customers.

3. Travel agencies are still in the game

The role of travel agencies should not be overlooked, especially the traditional ones. While it is true that OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) are increasingly getting more traffic, there is a part of the market that still always prefers to go to traditional travel agencies, which means they still have much to offer.

How can a hotel chain compete against a large OTA? In my opinion, they must work together. OTAs are almost exclusively sales channels―as such, hotels should view these online agencies as partners and not as competitors. Taking advantage of their large scope is something that hotels should really take into consideration.

4. Airbnb keeps getting stronger

Some hotels do not fear competition from Airbnb, but its presence is a reality. The number of people who prefer staying at an Airbnb over a traditional hotel grows more and more each day. Airbnb is a very attractive alternative, especially for millennials, because it offers experiences. Airbnb attracts travelers of all ages and socioeconomic status, so hotels should keep an eye on the trend.

5. Excellent service is essential

At the end of the day, the main challenge remains the same: offering an exceptional level of service. The hotels that manage to beat their competitors are those that know the market and translate it into exceptional service, which is what guests are looking for. While not everyone can invest in technological improvements, the ticket to success is offering a great guest experience to both local and international clients.

This year, everyone has to size up the competition and not take things for granted. The most important thing is to listen to your guests from the very beginning of their trip―from the moment they start surfing the net for rooms until the end of their hotel stay, and to everything that happens afterwards. Hotels must take advantage of technology, be in the right media to optimize their marketing budget, and justify their rates by providing the best service, facilities and excellent customer service. They should consider targeting different market segments and demographics. But the most important thing is to have an in-depth knowledge of their customers’ preferences― improving the experience of each of their guests will be their best publicity.

Montserrat Santaella was born in Mexico City. She earned her degree in Business Administration at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), where she majored in marketing. With more than 16 years of experience in marketing and strategic alliances, Santaella has held positions in strategic planning, business intelligence, advertising, public relations, promotions, sponsorships, and digital marketing in local and international markets. She has worked in the hotel industry for many years and given conferences at different marketing events in Mexico and the United States. monsantaella@gmail.com

During the 9th annual PortadaLat convention in Miami, which started yesterday, the winners to the Top Travel Marketing Campaign and “Viajero Inteligentewere revealed.

Determined by readers and an award jury of brand marketers of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), Portada revealed the winner to its Top Travel Marketing Campaign Award:

Mastercard Priceless Cities/ Universal Mccann

Mastercard looked to develop an exclusive user Journey to drive card usage and preference by leveraging Priceless Cities and inspiring cardholders to experience travel in a different way, the Priceless way.

Also, the “Viajero Inteligente Award winner was revealed, who, in addition to the award, received a trip to Mexico.

Sandra Cires Art, YouTube Influencer

Doing collaborations with other influencers in Mexico helped Sandra Cires to grow her Youtube channel and learn a more human and successful approach to business partners.

We congratulate the winners for their awards.

Join us at PORTADA Mexico!

Although the Tourism Promotion Council of Mexico (CPTM) has slashed its budget by almost 35% this year, the country’s spending on tourism promotion abroad will increase by 41% to 1,125 million pesos. Eighty percent of it will be allocated to “priority markets” such as the US, where it appears to have opted to strengthen its ad spending during 2017.

In 2016, Mexico sought to attract visitors with its Live it to Believe it campaign, which helped to increase the influx of international tourists by 10%. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of tourists increased from 29.3 million to 32.1 million, with economic revenue rising from $16.2 billion to $17.5 billion.

In the second quarter of this year, the name of the campaign was changed to A world of its own, and will continue to target men and women (47% and 53%, respectively), with annual revenues of more than $314,000, according to information obtained via official transparency data.

Of all foreign visitors to Mexico, 60% come from the United States and 10% from Canada. The main states that receive travelers are Mexico City, Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Baja California, Jalisco, Nayarit, Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Guanajuato, said Juan Alberto Muciño Abrego, CPTM’s Marketing Coordinator.

The Mexican government also promoted campaigns aimed at different niche markets, such as romance tourism, with México, Yes I do; and nostalgia tourism, targeting the Latin market, with Mi México. Promotion has also extended to business meetings, with water sports and golf also used as a travel hook at high-impact events such as the OHL Classic at Mayakoba on the Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo; the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico City; and the Mexico Regatta Cup 2014 in Nayarit.

Mexico currently ranks third as best Latin America country brand, after Argentina and Brazil, according to Future Brand Global’s Latin America Country Brand Report 2015-2016.

Mexico currently ranks third as best Latin America country brand, after Argentina and Brazil, according to Future Brand Global’s Latin America Country Brand Report 2015-2016.

The table below shows which platforms Mexico advertises on to promote the country in the U.S., along with the amount invested in each media outlet.

From 2015 to 2016, there was a strong drop in ad spending on traditional media. Investment in TV advertising fell from $4.9 million to only $443,902. However, it seems that tourism promotion spending will see an upswing in 2017. For this year, the amount has already climbed to $1.5 million and we are barely halfway through the year.

Investment in TV advertising fell from $4.9 million in 2015, to only $443,902 in 2016.

As for digital platforms, CPTM seems to have diversified less in 2016, distributing its spending among only a few sites such as YouTube, Teads, Nurun, IMS, Golf Digest, and Facebook. Will it set its sights once again on the OTAs in 2017, as it did in 2015 with Expedia, Price Travel and Despegar.com?

TV spending in the U.S.

TELEVISION (in USD)
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017**
Pati’s Mexican Table 184,615.20 100,000.00 250,000.00
Azteca America 243,902.34 909,090.91
Telemundo 900,525.00 100,000.00 363,636.37
TNT 55,300.00
Travel Channel 59,175.00
BBC/IFC/Sundance 349,500.00
National Geographic 200,000.00 499,999.49
Momentum 81,000.00
SM Hispanic LLC 1,389,041.45 2,499,975.00
CNN 1,673,044.00 300,000.00
Cable News Network 97,313.00
CBS Broadcasting 999,999.00
Discovery Channel 3,275,226.10 1,724,773.90
Entravision 925,460.00 4,877,100.08
NBC 529,210.00
NCC 576,215.00 597,404.00
NGC 437,200.00
Univision 1,505,160.00 166,000.00
Turner 255,111.00
Fox Sports 150,000.00
Golf Channel 525,000.00
NBA 1,660,289.00
TOTAL 10,490,394.10 11,073,152.43 4,930,089.69 443,902.34 1,522,727.28

Source: CPTM.
** As of March 2017, there has been no spending in online media for the US market

Spending in U.S. digital platforms

TRADITIONAL WITH ONLINE PLATFORM (in USD)
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017**
Travalliance 60,000.00
Northstar Marketing Solutions 157,500.00
Alar.com 205,000.00
Ng.com 102,500.00
TOTALS 465,000.00 60,000.00
DIGITAL PLATFORMS
Adara 54,196.72 85,989.14 160,000.00
Adjust 75,000.00
Adman 29,412.68
Adobe Social 67,745.90
Adsparent 367,098.02 950,000.00
ADTZ 117,750.59 1,942.39
Advance Magazine Publishers 40,176.96
AFAR 54,196.72 15,295.75
Amadeus 7,910.10
AOD 220,807.30
AOL 6,118.30
B Grande 6,000.00
Batanga 61,402.06
BBC 20,741.00
Capital Online 214,140.51 450,000.00
CBS 450,000.00
CondeNast 33,872.95 30,000.00
Conteno 750,000.00
Crerry Media 775,000.00
Despegar.com 19,775.22
Diambo 777,073.17
Egroup 1,004.93
EIKON 21,851.08 480,000.00
Expedia 338,729.50 200,124.71
Facebook 270,983.60 322,548.06 686,684.51 77,797.92
Foriades (Hunt) 21,851.51
Full Screen 128,000.00
Gannett (USA Today) 46,336.38
Golf Digest 6,362.87
Google 338,729.50 372,358.56
Guvera 70,000.00
Hawaii World (Journese) 9,177.45
IMM Internet 182,305.86
IMS 105,094.39 121,930.76
KAYAK 30,549.01
Latitudes 294,117.65
Lonely Planet 44,034.84
Mas Comunicación (NBC) 34,804.39
Matador 180,000.00
Media 8 117,365.80 50,000.00
Mediamind 55,185.67
National Geographic 61,183.00
Nurun 169,690.65
Orange 60,000.00
Orbitz 270,983.60
Others 456,471.89
Outbrain 305,915.01
Price Travel 27,532.35
Priceline 135,491.80 19,149.71
Prodigy 40,000.00
Pulpo media 450,000.00
Quancast 14,408.71
Questex 25,000.00
Read Speaker 9,032.79 5,339.31
Red Pineapple 21,851.06
Rock Activist 29,412.00
Run 180,000.00
Shermans Travel 24,473.20
Sismek 45,129.38
Sojern 74,162.33
Spotify 18,830.75
Starm 9,177.45
Teads 1,050,000.00 7,537.60
Tic Tac 244,732.01
Travalliance 16,825.33 25,000.00
Travel & Leisure 72,948.25 30,000.00
Travelocity 203,237.70
Tripadvisor 81,295.08 115,294.30
Tubemogul 29,662.83
US Media 200,000.00
Vice 26,696.55 163,500.00
Viva The Woodlands 277,071.34
Weborama 66,401.70 270.18
Wired 50,000.00
Yahoo 94,844.26 81,022.11
YouTube 5,072.53
Yume 29,662.74
Totals 2,453,846.85 3,909,685.26 9,019,746.92 390,604.90

Source: CPTM
** As of March 2017, there has been no spending in online media for the US market

 

By Gabriela Gutiérrez M.

Images: @WeVisitMexico

Travel Marketing will play an important role on Day 1 of PortadaLat this Wednesday. We have added new Ticket Types to Meet Your Needs!

DAY 1: SPORTS AND TRAVEL MARKETING DAY (June 7): The first day of PortadaLat will focus on how technological innovation is impacting key segments of business and marketing with emphasis on Travel and Sports. All sessions, keynotes, and marketing-tech showcases are included as well as light food, sandwiches and beverages. (US $199)
GENERAL PASS: Attend the overall PortadaLat event on June 7 and June 8. All sessions, keynotes, networking, food and beverage included! (US$549).
DAY 2: BRAND INNOVATION DAY (June 8)
The second day at PortadaLat will celebrate Brand Innovation and showcase how leading companies are boosting brand equity and increasing their relevance in a disruptive environment in Latin America and the U.S. Breakfast, Lunch and Evening Reception Food and Beverages included. (US$ 449!)
VIP ATTENDEE: Meet up to 5 high-level brand, agency or media executives of your choice attending or speaking PortadaLat. These 10-minute meetings will take place in a separate room during the first and second day of PortadaLat and are designed to help you build valuable relationships. General Pass offering is included. (US $ 1,999).
Secure your spot and start the PortadaLat journey!

Which sites do Hispanic users use for their travel planning? How important is each platform, depending on the content offered? On which sites do they decide to make their purchases? Read on for the answers to these questions, drawn from comScore’s April 2017 ranking.

It seems that US Hispanics are very interested in travel, with 74% of all users checking out travel-related sites in April of this year.

Source: comScore MMX Multi-Platform, Travel, U.S., Hispanic All, April 2017, Desktop 2+ and Mobile 18+ Total Unique Viewers (000)
Total Digital Population
   Total Internet: Hispanic All 35,703
   Travel 26,554
1    TripAdvisor Inc. 11,971
2    Expedia Inc. 7,297
3    Uber 6,359
4    Priceline.com Incorporated 3,703
5    Lyft, Inc. 3,005
6    USA TODAY Travel 1,722
7    Southwest Airlines Co. 1,571
8    American Airlines 1,538
9    CNN Travel 1,460
10    Airbnb Sites 1,386

The ranking shows that when it comes to travel, Hispanic users like to be well-informed. This could explain why TripAdvisor is in first place, with almost 12 million unique visits in April.

The next step for users is to access and purchase the trips they have chosen. This explains why  OTA Expedia came in second, with 7.2 million visits.

Uber claimed the third spot in this month’s ranking, a sign that the start-up’s efforts to remain a market leader in local transport services have born fruit, with 23.7% of Hispanics who consume travel-related content visiting the Uber site.

But the competition isn’t far behind. Lyft gained territory to claim fifth place, with 3 million unique visits.

Meanwhile, two airlines managed to carve out a spot in the ranking: Southwest Airlines ranked seventh, with 1.57 million visits; and American Airlines, eighth, with 1.53 million. It seems that American’s series of travel altercations did not affect its market presence too much.

Finally, it is worth noting that no hotel chain made the ranking this month. While Hispanic users are interested in lodging, they may prefer new alternatives such as Airbnb, whose usage policies continue to be adjusted in accordance with the local laws of each of the locations where service is provided. Even so, the platform received 1.4 million hits.

PortadaLat is next week! Registration: We have added new Ticket Types to Meet Your Needs!

GENERAL PASS: Attend the overall PortadaLat event on June 7 and June 8. All sessions, keynotes, networking, food and beverage included! (US$549)
VIP ATTENDEE: Meet up to 5 high-level brand, agency or media executives of your choice attending or speaking PortadaLat. These 10 minute meetings will take place in a separate room during the first and second day of PortadaLat and are designed to help you build valuable relationships. General Pass offering is included. (US $ 1,999).
DAY 1: SPORTS AND TRAVEL MARKETING DAY (June 7):
The first day of PortadaLat will focus on how technological innovation is impacting key segments of business and marketing with emphasis on Travel and Sports. All sessions, keynotes and marketing-tech showcases are included as well as light food, sandwiches and beverages. (US $199)
DAY 2: BRAND INNOVATION DAY (June 8)
The second day at PortadaLat will celebrate Brand Innovation and showcase how leading companies are boosting brand equity and increasing their relevance in a disruptive environment in Latin America and the U.S. Breakfast, Lunch and Evening Reception Food and Beverages included. (US$ 549!)
Secure your spot and start the PortadaLat journey!

More than 650 readers cast their votes to choose this year’s Top Travel Marketing Campaign finalists. Find out who they are, and discover who the winner is, determined by award jury of brand marketers of the the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) on June 7, during the Award Ceremony at PortadaLat. Join us as we announce the winners, register now!

Top Travel Marketing Campaign

Nominees are brands and their agencies (Brand/Agency) who have done campaigns promoting travel and hospitality related services. The campaign should have targeted audiences in the U.S. and/or audiences in Latin America over the last 12 months.

Total votes cast: 659

  •         Mastercard Priceless Cities/ Universal Mccann (166 votes)
  •         “discover Your Aloha” Hawaii Tourism / Expedia (129 votes)
  •         Visit Orlando/ Ariadna (109 Votes)

Find out who have been voted finalists for our other award categories HERE!

What: To investigate shifts in global travel behavior for the most recent quarter, travel audience engagement platform Sojern analyzed search and booking data from October to December 2016. The final report revealed interesting insight about how Latin Americans are planning to spend their Semana Santa vacations, and how US marketers can entice them.
Why It Matters: LATAM travelers are researching and planning very early for a holiday that is tailor-made for families, but there are still last-minute bookings taking place. Travel marketers should address last-minute deals while offering incentives for early bookings, and find ways to offer tangible services and variations on discounts for increasingly budget-conscious travelers.

Semana Santa ‘Tailor-Made’ for LATAM Family Travel 

Traveler audience engagement platform Sojern analyzed trends in April travel among LATAM travelers, revealing valuable insight into shifts in consumer preferences and the effect of current political and economic conditions on people’s ability to travel.

Andres Franklin, Commercial Director for Latin America, Sojern
Andres Franklin, Commercial Director for Latin America, Sojern

In LATAM, the week of Easter, Semana Santa, takes the place of Spring Break for children, and schools close the week that follows Easter Sunday. “Families see it as a ‘must-travel’ time of the year because there is so much time off, so many look to take longer getaways,” said Andres Franklin, Sojern’s Commercial Director for Latin America.

And as employees in the region — especially in Mexico — tend to get less time off than they do in the United States, people are likely to take advantage of the vacation days that this entire week affords them. Some are even taking an additional week off so that they can have a rare, full two-week vacation: The study revealed that April 1, 7, and 8 are the top departure dates in April.

Franklin commented that trip durations searched for Semana Santa also reflect this trend: “43% of those looking for long-haul travel are planning trips of 12 or more days, and nearly a third of short-haul travel is also for 12 or more days,” Franklin said. The study also suggested that while people plan in advance for this holiday, last-minute bookings are still taking place. Marketers would be wise to address those who are making reservations late through last-minute deals.

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LATAM Travelers Budget-Conscious but Seeking New Experiences

While each country in the region has its own idiosyncrasies, they are generally sensitive to prices as exchange rates and their purchasing power does not always favor international power. But currency exchange across the region is at a 10-year high, and “Latin Americans still travel, but they are more budget conscious than before, so variations on a discount resonate a lot better with Latin American travelers than, say, offers of free wifi or additional features,” Franklin explained. “Tangible services, like airport pickup and free breakfast resonate well, too, as does quoting room rates in local currency instead of the US dollar.”

There are also ways to acknowledge the fluctuating economic conditions and turn them into an enticing deal: “If you really want to be smart and hit home with Latin American travelers, you may want to offer, instead of a 20% discount, an offer to ‘pay for it in 2010 currency exchange,” Franklin suggested. While a deal like this is essentially a monetary discount, he assured that it “strikes a different chord” with consumers in Latin America.

Creating short videos that welcome Latin American travelers, especially in Spanish, would be a great way to get your brands in front of new travelers and inspire them to visit your destination.

It is also important to recognize that while LATAM travelers are budget-conscious, they are on the lookout for novel experiences when they travel. “They might scale back on ‘retail therapy,’ but events like a concert, a broadway show, or a major sports game all are still appealing to the Latin American traveler to the US,” Franklin said.

Marketers Should Go Out of Way to Welcome LATAM Travelers 

And it’s not just economic conditions that are shaping LATAM travel decisions. LATAM travelers — especially Mexicans — follow the news in the United States closely, and understandably do not feel particularly welcome in the country. To alleviate LATAM travelers’ worries, marketers should focus on “warm and inviting” messages that are heavy on video. “Creating short videos that welcome Latin American travelers, especially in Spanish, would be a great way to get your brands in front of new travelers and inspire them to visit your destination,” Franklin noted.

Another way to assuage travelers’ worries about how welcome they are in the US is to focus on the type of American experience that LATAM travelers want. “When Latin American travelers come here, they seek that ‘Americana’ that is not accessible in their home countries, with respect to both brands and the experiences,” Franklin said. Marketers that can give LATAM travelers the customer experience that they expect from their trip — full of American culture, food and nostalgia — will be well positioned for success.

Semana Santa a Unique Opportunity to Solidify Relationships with LATAM Travelers

Marketers wondering whether Semana Santa is a good opportunity to attract LATAM travelers should rest assured: it is most likely the busiest time of year for traveling, since many people stay in their countries for Christmas so they can be close to family and friends. Plus, since North Americans escaping the cold tend to drive up prices over the holidays, “Christmas is not a great time for Latin Americans to travel, at least not to beach resorts or most of the USA, where it’s winter,” Franklin said.

And since the North American summer months have no family-centric holidays, Franklin added, “kids are usually enrolled in some form of Summer program or camp, so it is family travel time, whether parents in LATAM want it to be or not!”

We spoke with agency and brand executives to learn about their travel marketing plans for 2017.

This is what we asked them:

  1. On which platforms will you invest/implement your campaigns in 2017?
  2. What travel marketing trends do you expect to see in 2017?
  3. In terms of marketing in general, what would you like to see more of in 2017?

luis-perillo-1Luis Perillo, VP of Sales and Marketing, Hilton Latin America Latina and the Caribbean

  1. We are increasing our online and social media investments, along with the permanent use of print media and PR.
  2. We expect to see greater investment in digital channels and social media.
  3. We would like to see more holistic campaigns that include different types of media, to generate greater awareness among key audiences through campaigns that include social actions, PR, online advertising, print, TV, radio, etc.

Copy of Portada-online.com - Events - Internal - SpeakersMaría Aguayo, Marketing Manager, Expedia LatAm and Mexico

  1. It always depends on the campaign, but digital media and television are a must.
  2. Travelers today are looking for more authentic experiences, which means they also expect travel companies to interact in a much more personal way and also add technology to their offerings.
  3. We hope that people in Mexico will take more vacations. We are very behind in balancing our work and personal life when it comes to paid vacation metrics. Mexicans receive an average of 15 days of paid vacation a year, but take only 12 days of vacation leave. Those three lost days means that Mexicans waste millions of pesos in paid vacation annually. We would like to see tourism continue to gain ground, see more advertisers in this industry, and see consumers being encouraged to travel more.

Christopher Arjona CastroChristopher Arjona, Senior Director of digital marketing, distribution, CRM, and loyalty programs at Meliá

  1. We’ll be focusing mainly on digital platforms (display, PMP, programmatic, social ads, etc.)
  2. We want the industry to place a greater emphasis on programmatic marketing as a means of prospecting.
  3. It will be interesting to know the general trends of the American traveler market that travels outside of the United States.

erica-doyneErica Doyne, VP of Marketing, AM Resorts

  1. AM Resorts’ campaigns are fully integrated, including extensions in social networks and online video, among others.
  2. Marketers no longer trust a single traditional platform, but rather seek to engage consumers with new strategies including online video, digital advertising, mobile strategies, public relations and social networking. In addition, industry marketers now seek to target specific markets, such as wedding destinations, the LGBT market, and the Hispanic market.
  3. The focus on experiences is gaining a lot of attention. Many travelers want to add something to their rest and relaxation, so the industry needs to offer more options.

What: Luis Perillo, VP of Sales & Marketing, Caribbean & Latin America at Hilton Worldwide, explains why the hotel line is making a significant effort to continue its expansion into the Latin American market with new hotel openings and brands.
Why it matters: Hilton Worldwide is a leading global hospitality company with 13 distinct brands spanning more than 4,660 properties in more than 100 countries and territories around the world.

Portada: Why are you focusing on Latin America?

LP: Latin America is a dynamic region that continues to afford great opportunities for the travel industry, thanks to stable and growing economies, increase in foreign investments, improvements in infrastructure and actions to promote tourism in many countries.

Hilton Worldwide currently has a portfolio of more than 90 hotels and resorts open and welcoming travelers in Latin America. The company is actively pursuing additional Latin American growth opportunities and currently has a robust pipeline of more than 50 hotel projects throughout the region, including developments in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, among others.

Portada: How do you introduce a new brand to the Latin American market?

LP: Introducing a new brand to a new market is always exciting, and in Latin America it is no different. With brands to fit every lifestyle and occasion, we have experienced brand and commercial leaders that help drive the strategy for this effort by creating the right mix of commercial activities to establish a new brand in a new market.

In our case, the introduction of a new brand in a specific market often coincides with the introduction of a new hotel.

With any new hotel opening, we have The Hilton Performance Advantage – services that combine the power of scale, access, reputation and innovation designed to enhance our competitive lead, including everything from activating a global Hilton Worldwide sales force and educating our Hilton Reservations and Customer Care teams to developing leading-edge websites and leveraging our Hilton Honors guest loyalty program and its more than 50 million members worldwide.

Portada: What is your marketing strategy when introducing a new brand?

LP: In terms of marketing tactics, we employ a mix of sales and marketing activities including print and online advertising, as well as significant focus on social media and a strong public relations campaign to successfully position the brand, generate awareness for our new hotel and create interest from the travel community, all while keeping in mind the local culture and nuances of the destination.

A summary of the most exciting recent news in travel marketing and media in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

U.S./U.S.-HISPANIC MARKET

Silver Airways announced regular flights to Cuba’s nine destinations. With this announcement, the airline becomes the first in the U.S. to sell regularly scheduled flights to Cuba in the past 50 years. The inaugural flight departing from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Cuba will be on September 1, 2016.

According to MMGY Global’s annual Portrait of American Travelers survey, Americans’ intent to travel is up 14 percentage points over 2015, with intent to spend on transportation, lodging and entertainment to increase by nine points. The integrated travel and hospitality marketing firm findings show that travel intentions have not only recovered from the Great Recession, but have gone above pre-recessionary levels. The report also revealed a role reversal between travel suppliers and online travel agents in consumers’ preferences for travel purchase.

Alaska Airlines

Brett Keller, Interim Chief Executive Officer of priceline.com

 started its daily non-stop service connecting San Jose, California with Orange County/Santa Ana and San Diego. With the new flights, which are operated by SkyWest Airlines, Alaska now operates a total of 28 peak-day departures to 14 destinations.

The Priceline Group announced Brett Keller as Interim Chief Executive Officer of priceline.com, a subsidiary business of The Priceline Group. Keller will report to Jeffery H. Boyd, Interim CEO and Chairman of the Board for The Priceline Group.

LATIN AMERICAN MARKET

Hilton Worldwide announced the opening of The Resort at Mahogany Bay Village, part of the Curio Collection and its first hotel in Belice, as the first global brand luxury resort to open in this country. The 205 chalet-style rooms are located in Ambergris Caye, just 10 minutes from San Pedro’s airport.

Euromic, the Leading global provider of DMC services, has expansion plans for Mexico. After Costa Rica and Cuba joined earlier this year, Euromic continues its expansion in Latin America, resulting in a robust and increasing amount of members in the region.

Luxury travel operator Belmond has plans to launch South America’s first luxury sleeper train, the Belmond Andean Explorer in Peru. The train, expected to begin operations in May 2017, will traverse the Peruvian Andes from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa.

Belmond already provides train travel services in South America on the Belmond Hiram Bingham in Peru, but it doesn’t offer overnight accommodations.

A summary of the most exciting recent news in travel marketing and media in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

U.S./U.S.-HISPANIC MARKET

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) signed an agreement to acquire SMT, a travel management company (TMC) based in Finland and a subsidiary of Finnair. SMT has been an important partner within the GBT network for the past 27 years. When the transaction is completed later this year, the company and its staff will formally join the GBT family.

Airlines for America (A4A) released its summer 2016 air travel forecast, which projects passenger volumes. Approximately 231.1 million passengers (2.51 million per day) are expected to fly in scheduled service on U.S. airlines from June 1 – Aug. 31 compared to 222.3 million passengers over the same time period in 2015: a 95,500 passengers-per-day increase. This includes 30.5 million travelers (331,000 per day) on international flights. To accommodate the record volumes, airlines will be offering 2.78 million seats per day to meet demand, which equates to an increase of 109,400 seats year-over-year.

Amadeus published its report Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel, which revealed how global consumers are increasingly spending their disposable income on experiences rather than material goods as well as opportunities that the luxury travel market will face over the next decade. Some key findings from the report include:

  • That North America and Western Europe account for 64% of global outbound luxury trips, despite only making up 18% of the world’s population.
  • That a human desire for more rewarding experiences provides an essential catalyst to evolve and improve travel industry quality and service standards
  • That a hierarchy of luxury travel needs must be identified, ranging from 5-star quality and service standards to exclusive VIP privacy and security

The report was developed with data from Tourism Economics and with dozens of expert interviews with global luxury travel experts across specialist travel concierge agencies, airlines, hoteliers as well as intermediary suppliers through Connections, a global networking event organizer for luxury travel providers.

The Travel Marketing Forum, part of #PortadaLat on June 8-9 in Miami’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, is going to bring together all the big players in travel marketing from the Americas, including Volaris, Grupo Posadas, Best Western, Royal Caribbean, Hyatt, Sojern and many more. Get your early bird tix!

LATIN AMERICAN MARKET

GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes, the largest low-cost and best-fare airline in Latin America, showed a decrease in its preliminary numbers regarding air traffic for April 2016, as well as the accumulated traffic for 2016. The number of departures and seats in the total system decreased by 21.9% and 11.5%, in the month and year-to-date, respectively.

InterContinental Hotels Group signed two new-build properties in Peru: one in Lima, the country’s capital city, and a second in Piura, a strategic business center in the northern part of the country. Both properties are expected to open in 2019 and will be developed through a joint-venture between Grupo Centenario and Grupo Agrisal.

Expedia and Amadeus IT Group announced a new global, long-term agreement that enables Expedia to offer air, car, rail, cruise, and hotel products through the Amadeus global distribution system, and adds Orbitz Worldwide brands in addition to the Expedia, Hotwire, Travelocity, Wotif Group, Expedia Affiliate Network and Egencia brands covered by the previous agreement.