Well, I’m headed to the bush. The Down Under! The land of animals that start with K! You know: Australia. And I’ll be in the Croc Hunter’s homeland for just under two weeks.

A trip of this magnitude takes a whole lot of planning. Like most travellers these days, my husband and I spent months online looking for the best options to spend less while still having the time of our lives. And we aren’t alone—according to Expedia Media Solutions, today’s traveller will browse an average of 38 websites before making a purchase decision. That’s a lot of choices, and not a lot of brand loyalty.

So while I glide to another continent, let’s make a quick excursion to trends that are changing the travel marketing airspace.

1. Virtual Reality

While Marriott and Lufthansa airline are among the first to employ a try before you buy VR experience, the strategy is becoming more common. In fact, if you want to come Down Under with me, all you have to do is download an app. (See what I did there?) In an interview with CMO, Tourism Australia’s managing director, John O’Sullivan, said their VR investment has more than paid for itself in markets like China, where VR is becoming more mainstream.

2. Wearables

According to Adobe Digital Insights, social mentions about travel-related wearables have increased 44% YoY. A considerable amount of that buzz was from the much-anticipated Princess Cruises Ocean Medallion, which is launching next month and will give guests a tailored, on-demand experience via alerts from a quarter-sized medallion.

“Who wouldn’t want to feel like they had a constant personal concierge with them every second, from the time they started planning a trip until they got back from the trip,” asked CEO Arnold Donald.

Another product rolling out the easy train for your travels? Google’s new translating ear buds. With Gen Z’s growing demand for unique travel destinations and immersive cultural experiences, having a real-time translator at your disposal is invaluable.

3. Influencers

The rapidly increasing power of influencers is being seen across all markets. But in an industry known for selling dream vacations and picture-perfect sunsets, consumers are searching for real experiences from real people now more than ever.

“It starts with shifting the mindset from only thinking about what we as marketers want to tell consumers to what we can offer consumers that they really want to hear,” Andy Kauffman, VP of digital marketing for Marriott International, told CMO.

One way brands have been harnessing the power of those individual, trusted voices is through live video, as Royal Caribbean did through a series of live broadcasts with influencers via digital billboards in NYC. “Engagement was through the roof,” according to Royal Caribbean CMO Jim Berra.

In TBWA’s current campaign for Helsinki Airport, #LifeinHEL, influencer Ryan Zhu was challenged to live in the airport for 30 days. A video is posted each day with different challenges for Zhu to accomplish that align the benefits found throughout the airport. TBWA describes it as “a mix of reality TV, game shows and social media.”

So whether you’re on a journey to “Straya” or just looking to make some marketing headway, don’t forget to pack your favorite travel trends.

Have a crikey weekend, everyone!

– Your mates at Brokaw.

The rapidly increasing power of influencers is being seen across all markets.

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