I'm an Aussie born and raised, so I know all too well how far Australia is from the rest of the world. It's a legitimate reason why we have the constant itch to travel. A huge opportunity for brands to tap into, never more so than this week, with the news that there'll now be Afterpay for holidays (yay but also yikes!).

Last week, I attended the Mumbrella Travel Marketing Summit in Sydney, where Australia’s top travel marketers assembled to discuss such opportunities in the industry.

One panel which particularly stood out was about consumer data advice, and how it often doesn’t work for travel brands in Australia. Unlike other marketers, travel marketers are frequently confronted with a very specific set of behaviours which can make marketing-based data less effective than many other vertical industries. 

This is because travel products are usually costly and purchases either paid for by a third party (such as your employer) or are highly-charged with emotion (such as money saved over a long period of time for an international trip, or a honeymoon, for example).

I was interested to learn that some 70% of hotel rooms are booked within 6 hours of the flight being booked, and it’s this layering of multiple data sets which contributes to data being more effective in travel. The booking of flights and hotels cannot be viewed in isolation, even if they’re done on different sites. The panel advised not to use clicks as metrics, and look at more than just the lower funnel. A lot of the start of the purchase is actually at the top of the funnel.

Something else which stuck out was the need to move away from generic approaches in travel marketing. For example, why is it that so many of the same stock photos are used to advertise places like Fiji, the Philippines, and the Maldives? As much as we all love the idea of a sun-soaked tropical getaway, we still as consumers are seeking bespoke experiences, because we have an auto-preconception of how our holiday is going to be. Industry creatives were advised – and I think rightly so – to be more dynamic in their approach to the visual aspect of travel marketing, and also to activate data to support creative.

Now, all this writing has made me tired. I think it’s time to book my next holiday.