From 2008 to 2009, total travel expenditures in the United States dropped precipitously, from $662 billion to $605 billion. The reason holds no mystery. This country was facing an economic downturn unseen in generations. The good news? A rebound is well under way. Let’s take a look at the reasons why the travel and tourism industry will experience continued growth in the years to come.
2013, A Year in Review
Cities across the country are reporting impressive visitor numbers in 2013. In fact, San Francisco saw an almost 3% increase in tourists to the “City by the Bay” when compared to the previous year, welcoming 16.9 million seekers of fun. This resulted in $9.38 billion being pumped into the local economy. International tourists spent a record-breaking $180.7 billion on U.S. travel in 2013, up from 9% overall. Finally, according to the U.S. Travel Association, leisure trips are expected to rise 2% this year.
Mobile Technology the not-so-new Frontier
So what resources are tourists looking to when planning their next getaway? As with so many other industries, social media plays a huge role in destination marketing. The 2013 State of the American Traveler Survey showed that 44% of tourists used social media for their travel planning, with Facebook accounting for 30% of that number. The picture that emerges from these statistics is two fold. First, technology needs to be a significant part in the effort to showcase your city. Nearly half of those surveyed used a mobile device to access travel information. Secondly, the world of social media can be an unforgiving place, and one bad review can cause of an avalanche of missed opportunities.
Is print media “Dead?”
Cities must position themselves as forward thinking and progressive, embracing the power of technology in all that they do. They must be both proactive and reactive, engaging with past visitors and future friends across all platforms. So with the superhighway of technology speeding people wherever they want to go, is print media dead? Not even close! Nearly ¼ of those surveyed used printed materials to plan excursions during their trips, significantly more than both smartphones and tablet computers. The goal must be to provide quality content that will be effective in use. A great suggestion we recently came across is instead of offering a simple list of local attractions, create custom itineraries based the varying interests of your visitors. This is a great example of a way to provide engaging content that won’t be tossed aside!
What Really Matters for your City?
There were a lot of numbers in this blog, huh? The point we are trying to make is that, as the economy rises, so too do the opportunity to promote your city to a whole new audience. Our best advice on how to promote your city in this technology-heavy market-place:
- Become more aggressive in your efforts and leave no stone unturned in the outlets you use.
- Actively cultivate an online presence that gives visitors a chance to see your city before they even come.
- Create printed materials that leave an impression beyond a token glance.
This is the time to think outside the box and try something new. Make your city into the destination it deserves to be!