Travel has a great advantage as marketing becomes more visual but they are focusing too much on the transaction and not the inspiration, according the Facebook.
Neasa Costin, EMEA travel vertical lead, global marketing solutions at the social network, told an audience at World Travel Market that travel tends to over-rely on beautiful imagery.
“In terms of the customers’ head space travel is very positive for the end user,” she said. “Travel marketers do not have to try very hard in terms of content.
“Put up a beautiful picture of a beach or hotel room and it will probably do the job for you. However, if you take away the logos you would not be able to distinguish one brand from another.
“We are actively trying to work with as many travel advertisers as we can to change that. What makes a good brand is being descriptive and emotional resonance.”
Costin said there are over 63 million holiday related hashtags relevant to the UK market and travel is seen in a very positive light.
“Yes for a lot of travel marketers it’s very much ‘book now’, it’s very much transactional. They are not trying to be descriptive and emotional, they are very transactional in their approach.
“Travel brands are investing massively in brand and yet translate that into the digital space there is zero investment put in to image and how they are presenting themselves.”
Costin cited Airbnb as an exception to the rule because it was trying to forge a change in customer behaviour – opting for a private rental rather than a hotel – and so could not be transactional.
Facebook is seeing a huge shift towards video as the most potent form of content having moved from text, to images and gifs.
Following its acquisition of photo sharing site Instagram in 2012, advertisers can now use both platforms to target users.
Now 360 degree images and even virtual reality are quickening the pace of the adoption of more immersive experiences along with the move to mobile, Costin said.
“Bite-sized and immersive visual communication is a really quick way of getting information across.
“The more we consume the more the pace picks up, the more bite-sized the communication is becoming.
“I see plenty of opportunity for the travel industry, being such a visual industry in terms of amazing locations.”
Coston said Facebook’s mantra is open and connected communication and it would continue to invest in the future of communication.
Asked about Facebook’s ambitions, she said “getting into travel like Google” was “not on the roadmap”.
“The opportunity for travel clients is it’s direct distribution with people based marketing. Because of that we do not want to ever jeopardise user trust.
“I do not think we want to be in a situation where we want to build products to compete against you.
“We will use data from travel advertisers to create a platform travel marketers should be looking at as an opportunity for direct distribution.
“We offer pinpoint accuracy in terms of marketing because we are a people-based platform as opposed to cookies.”