This series has spotlighted the demographic shift reshaping 21st century travel as masses of first-time international travelers pour out of emerging markets. To capture their business, brands must globalize marketing content, planning and booking tools, and the guest experience itself. Looking forward, globalization will bring several key challenges:
1. Localizing video: Video is the new language of brand communication, as Skift outlined in its travel megatrends for 2016. With travel particularly well-matched for this format, the opportunity is exciting — consider that JW Marriott’s “Two Bellmen” video has garnered over 5 million views on YouTube, and this year’s sequel is approaching 8 million views. But while businesses are getting more sophisticated in translating and localizing written content, video presents different challenges, like adopting new SEO strategies.
Subtitles are essential for opening up video to broader audiences. According to YouTube, which operates local versions in more than 88 countries, 80% of views on the platform are from outside the U.S. Search engines tend to prioritize content that is more universally accessible, and with the way YouTube rewards watch time, using subtitles is one of the simplest ways to increase views.
More broadly, says Dan O’Sullivan, VP of travel solutions, EMEA, for Translations.com, “How do you tell stories that translate across cultures? Brands need to bake that into their approach from the get-go.”
2. Globalizing at scale: “Most of our clients are grappling with how to do all this content at scale,” says Kevin Carl, global managing director of Digital at Accenture Travel. “To reduce the compounding cost of scaling content across platforms and geographies, Accenture’s recommendations include limiting the use of free-form content where possible, considering machine translation for large volumes of content that don’t require perfection, selecting a global-ready CMS and using a translation management system.
Carl also suggests using style guides and ensuring adherence throughout the content ideation, creation and translation process, as small issues become magnified at scale. Additionally it is important to look for partners that can provide quality content services cost effectively in the source language.
3. Understanding the local user experience: As companies operate more digital properties in markets where they may not have trusted or full-time staff, they may lack an objective sense of the user experience in-market. Brands must strive to better understand how they are resonating globally and where they can improve. (Translations.com’s Brand Ambassador program, for example, finds consumers who represent the client’s target demographic and has them navigate key user journeys, giving feedback on the experience.)
As more people from around the world travel internationally, new challenges and opportunities will continue to make themselves present. Here are three more articles on the emerging market traveler to keep travel brands ahead of the curve:
- How Travel Brands Are Dropping the Ball When It Comes to Chinese Travelers
- The Rise of the Emerging Market Traveler
- Why Booking Needs to be Made Easier for Emerging Market Travelers