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17 Jan 2019

Meet the judges of the Travel Marketing Awards

Ahead of this year’s Travel Marketing Awards, taking place on March 11, Abra Dunsby catches up with four of the judges to hear about their marketing predictions and trends for 2019


TTG catches up with four of the judges from this year's prestigious Travel Marketing Awards to hear their predictions for 2019

Bruce Martin, social media consultant, Ginger Juice

Bruce Martin, social media consultant, Ginger Juice

How has the climate changed for marketers since you first started out in travel?
Two words: The internet. It has created so many new ways to market to people – web, e-marketing, social and everything in between. Traditional marketing methods are still here – print, out-of-home, radio, TV and cinema – but brands simply have more choice, and return on investment reporting is far more precise.


What have you learned?
Everyone is competing for attention, and you have to continually ask yourself what on earth you are going to publish that will grab people’s attention. With social media we are constantly striving for “scroll-stoppers” – something to make people stop, look and act.


What are set to be the key trends in social media marketing in 2019?
Three things to watch are Facebook Groups (expect to see more functions and new advertising options); Instagram stories (they are already a huge success and brands will double down on them); and TikTok – a social media app for creating and sharing videos as well as live broadcasting that’s currently really popular among young teens.


Any challenges that social media marketing will face next year?
The fallout from the Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica scandal will continue to cause issues both in terms of consumer trust and marketers’ targeting options. For travel agents, the challenge is keeping up. I see more and more agents using social media effectively. Newer agents are especially good at social media simply because they need to be. The challenge for more established agencies is to use social media to pull in new customers to really drive growth.


What are your social media marketing tips for agencies in 2019?
1. Be more human – show more of your personality via video content and stop hiding behind logos and sunsets.
2. Get better at Facebook and Instagram advertising to overcome poor organic reach.
3. Respond better – convert online interest into sales.

Suzanne Korff, director, UK marketing communications, Princess Cruises

Suzanne Korff, director, UK marketing communications, Princess Cruises

Where do you draw inspiration from as a marketer?
For some projects, drawing inspiration from our loyal guests is great, as well as keeping a close eye on competitors and seeing what other brands are doing outside travel.


How has the climate changed for marketers since you first started out in travel?
The growth of digital marketing and e-commerce in travel has been significant over the last 12 years. Targeted communications have, in particular, become so sophisticated, with the ability to personalise to a granular level across many platforms. Cruise has followed a similar path with the growth of digital marketing investment and web bookings.


What have you learned along the way?
That you have to be adaptable. Marketing is a profession that continuously evolves with the expansion of new channels and communication platforms.


What are set to be the key trends in marketing in 2019?
Efficiency is everything, so the importance of automation and personalisation across communications will continue to grow. Voice will start to have more of an impact as a channel in terms of search, and although it’s nothing new, video content looks to play even more of an important part – whether it is to inspire, inform or enhance a customer’s experience.


What are your tips for agencies marketing cruise in 2019?
1. Know your audience – every cruise brand is different and offers a unique experience.
2. Cruise is an exciting sector within travel – tell those stories well.
3. You are marketing an experience, so great content is key.


What are the key things for any budding marketers to consider?
Build a great understanding of business but don’t lose sight of being creative and innovative, as these are skills that sit within marketing teams.

Keith Cartwright, senior account director, Accord Group

Keith Cartwright, senior account director, Accord Group

Where do you draw inspiration from as a marketer?
Marketing at its core is about understanding your customers and knowing how to communicate to them, to showcase the very best of what your brand has to offer. The increased capability to understand customers, markets and media along with better industry research are the foundation and can be powerful, but my inspiration comes from relationships with clients and the common desire to help their business to grow.


Any challenges that marketers will face next year?
Brexit, which most companies I speak to have made provisions for as far as is possible. A decision and firm direction would help the whole travel sector. GDPR, security and further legislative focus are also set to grow in weight for businesses, which will bring challenges. The effectiveness of marketing spend continues to be a challenge as brands increase media touchpoints and attempt to understand both the short and longer-term effects of each media channel.


What are your top travel marketing trends for 2019?
Experiential travel has been a buzz phrase for a while now but shows no sign of abating as more and more consumers are driven by their desire to find experiences that deliver cherished memories. This is further fuelled by social media and consumers’ desire to share those amazing experiences and captivating moments.


There continues to be a rise in the number of holidaymakers choosing to travel solo, greater emphasis on sustainable travel, and the ongoing importance of the over-50s traveller – particularly important in this unsteady economic period. A trend towards people taking shorter breaks is also set to increase.

Katie McAlister, chief marketing officer, Tui

Katie McAlister, chief marketing officer, Tui

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Our job is to provide customers with amazing holidays, so I’ve got a whole world of destinations and experiences to be inspired by. I genuinely get excited about connecting holidaymakers with their perfect holiday.


What have you learned since you first started out as a marketer?
Put the customer at the heart of everything and create stories that live, breathe and connect them with your brand at every single stage of the customer journey.


What are set to be the key trends in marketing in 2019?
Understanding individual needs and precisely targeting communications will only become more important in 2019. People’s holiday requirements are varied and complex, so it is really important they are served content that’s relevant to them and their needs and interests.


What are your top marketing tips for travel companies and agencies in 2019?
1. Understand your customer.
2. Personalise communication.
3. Be clear about what you stand for.

What’s your view? Email feedback@ttgmedia.com and let us know your thoughts or leave a comment below.

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