Earlier this week we launched our new Skift Trends report, “Content Marketing Trends in the Travel Industry“, which defines the trends in content marketing in the travel industry, and puts them in context. Below is a short extract, get the report for the full understanding of the content market trends.

Visuals are the new language of the digital era. The rise of Instagram and photo sharing on Facebook speak to this, as do the surfeit of photo sharing startups that have come since.

PhoCusWright’s U.S. Consumer Travel Report found that visual content, especially interactive maps, were most helpful to consumers. In a 2012 survey, 66 percent of respondents said that they use interactive maps that display lodging and attraction information for at least some trips. Traveler-submitted ratings and reviews were second, with 64 percent use.

Generally, visual content draws the customer’s gaze. To some extent, the emphasis on visual media is driven by evolving technology. Where a tiny video once took huge server and client resources, you can now watch a high-definition video on the go on a large smartphone screen. Especially for destinations, good photography and video are powerful tools for getting into a traveler’s bucket list. Travel is uniquely suited to visual media, and the industry has extensive experience in its production.

“There’s a reason why you don’t hear travel ads on the radio because it doesn’t give people that sense of place,” says Troy Thompson of Travel 2.0, a management consulting group for tourism organizations. “Especially for tourism and travel, the visual aspects can’t be overlooked. People naturally start planning their trips based on what looks interesting or exciting.”

Sarah Fazendin, who advises boutique travel companies in Africa, and heads Globa.li, a hotel booking platform, says that if a small operator can invest in one strategy for marketing, it should be visuals.

“Any sort of exotic destination truly is brought to life through compelling photos and video,” she says. “We rarely do media buy advertising, but always get the best possible photographers and videographers, even for a six-room safari lodge.”

The newest report in our Skift Trends Report series defines the trends in content marketing in the travel industry, and puts them in context. The report also discusses what types of content and platforms marketers have at their disposal. We showcase examples of content marketing for travel brands and destinations and use them to provide actionable insights for producing and deploying original content.

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