The Evolution of Media and How it is Changing Tourism Marketing

by Patrick Murphy

September 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Recently, Off Madison Ave Media Director Patrick Murphy participated in a panel discussion at the Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Moderated by Melissa Leubbe, publisher of Midwest Living and Meredith Travel Marketing, below is a summary of Patrick’s take on the evolution of media.

The iPhone was released over 10 years ago, at a time when not too many people had or wanted a smartphone. Now there are more cell phones then there are people on the planet. How has the rise of mobile played a part in travelers planning habits.

Ten years ago, I don’t think anyone (except Steve Jobs) had envisioned that smartphones would run our day-to-day lives. However, we are surprisingly or maybe not so surprisingly seeing huge adoption of smartphone usage in travel planning, even with older demographics we thought would have been harder to shift.  

For example, my phone has completely taken place (or maybe about 95%) of any other travel planning tool I use. I book my flights through the American or Southwest app, I reserve my car with the Silvercar app and get last minute hotel reservations on Hotel Tonight. Not to mention the social sharing component for recommendations on restaurants and bars, attractions and hiking trails. I am now, for lack of a better word, conditioned to go straight to my phone for answers and not just for travel, for everything.

So, there is a saying that “trends” are rarely “trendy.” Trends are the sign posts that help us understand where we are headed. What current trends are you focusing on for your clients, and how are these trends going to most likely change the travel marketing landscape?

A big focus for us right now is one-to-one marketing. We have developed our own platform called Lighthouse PE, which provides individualized recommendations based on a consumer’s implicit and explicit behavior. It leverages proximity and time within geo fences or near beacon technology to inform its core engine, which also serves as the artificial intelligence engine that feeds one-to-one recommendations. Forrester research is predicting that by 2020, a company’s ability to deliver authentically personal experiences at scale will be the only way brands consistently outperform their competitors. I couldn’t agree more.

AR also is going to quickly take place of VR. We saw a lot of travel marketers invest in VR in the last year and personally, this is the year of AR. A combination of proximity engagement and AR is where I think we bridge the relevance a DMO can have in the mobile app space. Apple just recently released an AR developer kit that allows for a scale of this type of technology. We have only started to scratch the surface of this space.

Digital media technology is full of interesting cross-platform tracking strategies.  Tell me about some examples you’ve seen, or perhaps tactics you’ve used that demonstrate the power of these new capabilities.

The most interesting play on media targeting is using audio device listening to target someone based on conversations or voice-activated search. In July, there was a great article on Google and Amazon Voice Activated search on DigitalTrends.com. In it they share some initial findings in terms of frequency of use as well as how these voice-activated assistants are being used to connect the home. This offers huge opportunity for advertisers to tap into and integrate with voice- activated assistants like Alexa or Google Home. The implications for the consumer package goods industry is huge, especially with Alexa’s quick purchase feature with Amazon. This space will only continue to grow.

The power of data and algorithms is important, as you can monitor people on past behavior. I would love to hear how you are working with data and algorithms?

We are leveraging AI to make recommendations based on explicit and implicit data. We have found that when triggered in the right way consumers are opting (at about a 90% success rate) in to location services as long as they know that it will be utilized to give them more unique and personalized recommendations.

And a favorite topic of conversation – looking into the future:  What’s the next big thing in media/advertising/marketing – and in particular how will this affect travel marketers and consumers’ behaviors?

Leveraging more implicit data (such as where and how long people are staying in a location to infer preferences) in our marketing mix will be a huge shakeup to the traditional targeting methods of the past. We are already seeing the use of mobile, IP and location-based services informing media opportunities to trigger the right person at the exact right time. About six years ago, Google released a great study called ZMOT. In it Google talked about marketers needing to be there at the zero moment of truth or at the decision point. Technology has only advanced in a way to make that even more feasible.

September 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Patrick Murphy