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Have we reached peak hashtag? More travel marketers need to think about how and why such phrases are used in social media campaigns.

This week, we’re taking a closer look at hashtags.

These strange phrases, originally created to help organize online conversations, have become nearly ubiquitous in social media campaigns for travel brands, showing up at the end of Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram captions, and everywhere in between. But as their popularity has grown, so has the misuse of the tactic.

What actually makes for an effective hashtag? Do brand-generated hashtags actually work, or should marketers instead harness phrases that are already popular with travelers? Read on below for more analysis, along with more of this week’s top marketing news.

Making Sense of Travel Hashtags for Marketers
Hashtags are much-loved by travel marketers, but also one of the most overused and misunderstood of marketing tactics. Too many travel brands try to push their own branded creations on Instagram and Twitter, rather than harnessing phrases already used organically by travelers. A recent explainer on some of the most popular travel themed hashtags related to aviation, hotels and destinations offers some cues to help inform future campaigns. Read more

Southwest Streamlines Mobile App Purchases for Loyalty Members
Loyalty programs are a key component of many travel brands’ marketing efforts. But as customer use of mobile devices for research and purchases has increased, many marketers have struggled with how to make loyalty offerings more mobile friendly. One example of how to use mobile to improve loyalty programs comes from Southwest Airlines. This week the brand released a new version of its iOS app, allowing members of its Rapid Rewards loyalty program to quickly access express checkout features for purchases. Read more

New York Agency Mcgarrybowen Wins Brand USA Duties
Brand USA, the national marketing organization for United States tourism, announced this week it had selected advertising agency mcgarrybowen as its new creative partner. The New York-based agency has travel industry experience working with heavyweights including Marriott and Disney. Brand USA is estimated to spend between $20 and $30 million annually. Read more

Luxury Hoteliers Test In-Room Tech to Power Guest Services
By now it’s no surprise that smartphones are slowly eating the travel world. Today’s latest piece of evidence is the growing number of high-end hotels that are embracing smartphone tech to help power room services. Among the many services high-end hotel marketers are testing are bluetooth-powered beacons, VOIP-powered phones (to avoid the expensive long-distance) new technology to more easily allow streaming of movies and music on customer devices. Read more

Five Marketing Budget Trends for 2016
Knowing how and where to allocate limited marketing dollars can be a tricky task for many travel executives. The proliferation of a range of new digital channels has made the task all the more complicated. However, according to a new infographic released this week, there’s several essential areas to spend your marketing dollars this year, including the .com site, optimizing for mobile, targeting millennials, review sites and digital video. Read more

Starwood’s Founder Says OTA’s, Airbnb, Driving Hotel Merger Activity
There’s been plenty of analysis following the announcement last December of the mega-merger between Marriott and Starwood. More comments made this week by Barry Sternlicht, founder and former CEO of Starwood, suggest recent consolidation activity is largely being driven by two key forces: the continued strength the OTAs and the growth of Airbnb. Read more


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Tags: content marketing, Digital Marketing

Photo credit: Hashtags are ubiquitous in travel marketing campaigns. But questions about the purpose they serve and how to choose an effective phrase are often left unanswered. Alan Levine / Flickr

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