Sunday, 3 January 2010

eTourism Trends for 2010

Happy New Year and welcome to 2010!

The end of the old and beginning of the new year is not only the time for many well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions but also for prognoses which technologies and developments will play an important role and hopefully also will become profitable in the coming months. I have tried to summarise key predictions and trends in eTourism for the year 2010 from various sources.

  • The online travel market share in Europe will grow despite the economic crisis. Whereas the total European travel market faces a double-digit decline through 2009 and 2010, the online market share for leisure and unmanaged business travel will increase from 28% in 2008 to 34% in 2010 (PhoCusWright, 21 Dec 2009). It seems like a side effect of the recession that customers are increasingly searching online for budget travel deals (Scene Advisor, cited on NewMedia TrendWatch, Nov 2009). Especially Germany will gain more online market share (see illustration below, click on chart to enlarge). Morever, emerging markets in the east such as Poland or Romania will also increase their shares in the European online travel landscape.

  • Travel metasearch websites such as Checkfelix or Kayak will become increasingly popular among European Internet users due to the highly fragmented European online travel market and the price-sensitivity of the customers (PhoCusWright, 21 Dec 2009). This new breed of online “meta-mediaries” aggregate offerings from suppliers and intermediaries likewise and could have the potential to change the travel distribution landscape fundamentally. The benefits for the consumers are that they get access to a wide range of suppliers and that they can compare their offers immediately.

  • Online media consumption will continue to grow due to increasing consumer empowerment and technology advances (eMarketer, 14 December 2009). Online content will become more distributed (i.e. the same content will appear in multiple channels and formats), personalised and contextualised (i.e. content and format is geared to the location and social situation of the users). Therefore a more precise targeting will be essential to reach the target audience.

  • Social media marketing and social commerce will become an integral part in the online marketing mix and the marketing spending will continue to shift from traditional to online media. Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter will certainly remain the most attractive social networks for marketers also in 2010 (see graphic below, click on chart to enlarge).

  • However, it is necessary to find better ways for managing and measuring the impact of “earned media” (eMarketer, 31st Dec 2009). Earned media means the additional unpaid exposure that a brand receives when users share information about the brand online. “Social marketing works best when it’s earned, not paid for.” (eMarketer, 14 Dec 2009)

  • The need foradvanced analytics” is also identified by Gartner’s analysts for whom “the new step is to provide simulation, prediction, optimization and other analytics, not simply information, to empower even more decision flexibility at the time and place of every business process action.” This will be particularly important for the question whether a large fan base on a social network can eventually generate sales or increase brand loyalty. Furthermore, real-time content from social networking platforms (e.g. Facebook) and temporal search (e.g. Twitter) will increasingly be considered by search engines and integrated into the search results.

  • Mobile is moving into the mainstream. The convergence of location-based and social-aware mobile applications will engage consumers en-route and will make mobile services an integral tool for travel planning and management. By the end of 2010, 1.2 billion people will have smart phones with mobile Internet access capable of rich content and user experiences (Gartner). As a result of this mobile advertising spending will also gain a bigger share in the marketing mix (eMarketer, 31 Dec 2009). The fusion of different technologies (e.g. internet, telephony, television) and applications will lead to new forms of media consumption and new marketing opportunities. Google’s $ 750 million purchase of AdMob can maybe also seen as an indicator that 2010 can turn in to the “year of mobile” (eMarketer, 8 Dec 2009)

  • Video conferencing will gain momentum as an alternative to business travel and is seen as a lead trend in 2010 by some analysts (Scene Advisor, cited on NewMedia TrendWatch, Nov 2009). This trend is further supported by the economic backdrop and the often rather tight budgets for business travels in many companies. I personally doubt that video conferencing will be booming among representatives of the travel industry but this trend could have a negative impact on the airline and hospitality industry.

  • Whole body scanners will become the standard on many airports due to increased threat of terroristic attacks (Scene Advisor, cited on NewMedia TrendWatch, Nov 2009). The failed bomb attack on a Delta Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in December 2009 has weakened the arguments of privacy defenders against the usage of full body scanners which will show not only hidden weapons but also very intimate body details. The Netherlands and also airports in Germany will start using whole body scanners (Focus Online, 2 Jan 2010).
The year 2010 will bring significant changes in terms of online media usage, advertising formats and e-commerce, m-commerce and social commerce activities. Monitoring those developments and reacting quickly if necessary means that you will be better prepared to capitalise on those changes.

I wish all readers and followers of my blog an exciting and successful happy New Year 2010!

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