2024 Travel & Tourism Conference Insights

March 28, 2024

Step into the exciting world of travel and tourism with our key insights from the recent Visit California Outlook Forum, WACE, and Oregon Tourism Conferences! Industry leaders gathered to unravel the trends steering the future of our journeys. From the ebb and flow of consumer preferences to the technological tidal wave and global shifts, these conferences were a treasure trove of discovery. Embracing and adapting to these changes is vital for crafting marketing strategies that truly make an impact. 

Key Insights

  • Recognize the influence of a good influencer and the power of “play” in the eyes of the consumer.
  • Embrace technology, with all of its many shifts and readjustments, as it creates new formats for  accessing information.
  • Prioritize sustainable travel practices as post-pandemic travel begins to pick up, and consider the impact of over-tourism.
  • Focus on accessibility and inclusivity for all audiences, particularly older audiences who make the decisions on where to travel.

All Play, No Work

All work and no play makes California a dull boy! The conferences placed significant emphasis on the power of play, as well as the importance of speaking to the human need to be, well, human! That means exploring, experiencing, finding and most importantly? Playing. This year, Visit California unveiled their first new campaign in over a decade: “The Ultimate Playground.” At its core, the campaign taps into the idea of “play,” and positions California as the perfect place to do it. Click here to check out their beach ball-filled campaign video.

But wait, what the heck is “play” anyway? According to the “Power of Play” Research Report from the good folks over at California’s National Institute for Play:

“Play is an ancient, voluntary, pleasurable episode or set of events that we (and other species) engage in for its own sake that meanwhile strengthens our muscles, instructs our social skills, tempers aggression, releases stress, deepens our positive emotions, and enables balance.”

That’s science-talk for “the biological urge to have a nice time, because our brains like good chemicals!” But actually though— play is a lot more complicated than you may think. We encourage you to download the report for yourself and dig into some of the fascinating data behind the power of play!

We’re All Techies Here

Tech trends these days go way beyond just keeping us entertained. More than anything, they’re mirroring how we access information; for example, think about how emerging technologies like TikTok, AI and ChatGPT have prompted Google to jump on new vertical video capabilities that capitalize on this shift! Another example is how more and more people are using Tik Tok as a search platform akin to Google. In a world where tech grows more impressive by the day, staying flexible and innovative in the face of (sometimes drastic!) change is more important than ever before.

The Sound of Success

It’s time to tune in, so your marketing can stand out! At the Outlook 2024 panel dedicated to the power of sound in marketing, we learned that perhaps more than ever, sound and music are a safe haven for people all over the world. Music has a curious way of putting listeners in a positive space, with a significant percentage of listeners saying that it improves their mood and makes them feel happy. We know you remember those iTunes/iPod commercials from 2004-2008— instantly iconic, with a healthy dollop of good vibes to go right on top. A more recent example is that Visit California video we mentioned before, which featured the impossible-to-hate song “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra!

Surfing the Influencer Wave

If you still have a stigma against the idea of “influencers,” stop that right now! More than ever before, influencers across every platform are providing higher quality, series-driven content for massive audiences. It helps that there’s a corner of the internet for every topic you could think of— into lockpicking? Cryptozoology? Long walks on the beach? You bet your bottom dollar there’s an influencer in that space. For marketers, it’s important that you’re clear and upfront about your expectations from the get go; and honestly, the fewer restrictions you can give them, the better. Let them provide the unique POV that their audience follows them for, and consider building long-term partnerships with these creatives instead of brief one-offs.

Something else to keep in mind: prioritizing inclusivity and diversity in your social media and influencer partnerships isn’t just encouraged, it’s necessary. While traditional campaigns often focus on the experience of the few, social media creators have the power to reach the massive segments of your audience who may not be seeing themselves in your message. Influencers also have a unique two-way relationship with their audience that classic media campaigns have basically no way of replicating— never forget the power of DMs, interactive social media elements, and the audience knowledge that the creator is genuinely listening to what they have to say.

Extra, Extra! Master the Latest Travel & Tourism Trends

Here at TAA, we like to embark upon deep dives into travel and tourism trends of our own, which is why we decided to make the holy grail of travel and tourism e-books. We won’t spoil anything, but here are just a few of the topics you can expect to find inside: 

  • Upcoming trends shaping the future of travel.
  • In-depth analysis of travel and media habits across different generations.
  • Strategies for navigating the travel industry during economic downturns.
  • How to utilize data and SEO to amplify your marketing impact.
  • Ways of harnessing the power of narrative storytelling and rich content to breathe life into your brand or destination.
  • Exploration of new technological frontiers such as generative AI.
  • How to embrace the growing importance of sustainability and stewardship in travel.
  • A plethora of compelling case studies, articles, posts and reports to support and enrich your understanding.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it’s not! Click here to get your copy and start staying ahead of the curve.

We hope that you gleaned some valuable information and insights from our rundown of the recent Visit California Outlook Forum, WACE, and Oregon Tourism Conferences! 

Interested in learning more about how we embrace travel and tourism trends? Get in touch with our team and start making magic.

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