Skift Take

There's billions of location-specific insights hidden inside travelers' Instagram photos, Tweets and TripAdvisor reviews. All travel marketers need to do is "connect the dots."

Location marketing is having a moment in the travel industry.

A feature that was once considered a “gimmick,” associated with check-ins and finding hipster coffee shops, is finally getting some respect as marketers realize the power of location data as a way to understand and capitalize on travel behavior. Just this week travel industry titan TripAdvisor acquired location company Citymaps to help improve its own place-based recommendation system. And, as many in-the-know travelers have already realized, the “Place Page” feature on Instagram offers an incredible wealth of data that helps them build their own impromptu, real-time, travel guides.

What kinds location-focused marketing activities are some companies already using to reach travelers? And how might travel marketers take advantage of location data moving forward? Read on for details, plus the rest of this week’s top marketing news.

How Instagram is Turning Into a Real-Time Travel Guide
Most marketers think of Instagram as a photo-sharing service. But did you know that some travelers increasingly use it to plan their trips? Instagram’s popular “Place Pages,” a feature which displays the most popular images for a given location, are being used by some travelers to get a real-time sense of whether a given site is worth visiting. Apparently glossy PR images are no match for the power of real-time social media feedback. Read more

New App Offers Travelers Frequent Flyer Miles in Exchange for Location Data
As more brands get wise to the powerful stream of data gathered from consumers’ location details, some companies are trying to encourage travelers to share more. A company called Placed has launched a new app called “Frequent Flyer,” offering travelers free airline miles on American, United, Hawaiian and Alaska Airlines in exchange for sharing info on their whereabouts. Read more

When Digital Customization Goes Wrong: One Travel Story
The travel industry media is full of stories these days about the importance of using digital data to personalize interactions with travelers. But delivering on the promise of digital customization is sometimes easier said than done, as illustrated by this traveler’s tale of woe when his Delta flight was cancelled. Read more

Why Business Travelers Are Flocking to Upscale Hostels
Airbnb isn’t the only “non-traditional” accommodations provider that’s seeing more spending from business travelers. According to a new article, many business travelers are increasingly flocking to design-focused hostel properties, which are seeing more stays from older travelers over 40 and young professionals. Many traditional hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton are following suit by opening properties design to appeal to the segment.  Read more

Chinese Travelers Crave Local Experiences While Abroad
When it comes to international travel, Chinese tourists are no different than their peers around the world: they want local experiences. According to new research, “experiencing local culture” was the most important reason they traveled abroad. Read more

Marriott Offers Real-time Rewards on Social Media to Delight Customers
Many travel brands encourage their customers to mention them on social media if they’ve had a positive experience. But getting travelers to take the next step isn’t always easy without some incentive. Marriott is testing a new program to encourage its Marriott Rewards loyalty members to post more positive feedback by offering social media users reward points that are instantly added to their accounts. Read more

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Tags: content marketing, Digital Marketing

Photo credit: Location data is getting more important as a source for marketers to gather insights about travelers. Skift

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