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  • Cheska Bennett

The best TED Talks for marketers in the travel industry planning for the next 12 months

Updated: Feb 21

Whilst you could well say there hasn’t been a ‘normal’ year in travel for the last few, it is fair to say during October a marketing team would ordinarily be prepping for a big January push, alongside benefitting from some Autumn inspiration for Spring/Easter bookings. Pre-planning and spending next years budget and analysing the successes of the current year in light of future plans.

This year looks different, budgets uncertain, travel opportunities far from certain, teams reduced, new products each week - so much flux. Planning for the next 12 months of marketing activity for marketers within the travel industry is going to be an exercise in resilience, adaptability and clever creative. With this in mind, if your standard planning methods aren’t possible this year, start by watching these TED Talks to generate ideas, step away from the ‘same old’ and create your best plan yet.


1) Sheena Iyengar - How to make choosing easier.

Summary - In industries and markets where choice is overwhelming, a strong marketing plan helps to make choosing easier. In particular when destinations are limited, the question of ‘which provider’ leaves a large mount of power in the consumers hands, but you can help to make that choice, of being you, easier.


Key takeouts - a) Less is more - there may be a myriad of options, but condensing the options helps to enact a quicker decision. b) Concretize - the consequence of a decision needs to be felt in visual mode - ideal for the travel industry. c) Categorize - make it really simple to navigate - websites essential. d) Condition for complexity - if your purchase journey is long, with lots of options, start small and expand to keep interest. 2) Jon Gerzema - The post-crisis consumer

Summary - Building confidence is paramount for consumers post-crisis. This is where the strength and values of your brand set yourself apart from the competition.

Key takeouts: a) Empathy and respect - how brands play fair goes a long way; customer service, response to refunds, booking flexibility is essential. b) “Promise you will be there beyond today’s sale”. How can you be present in every stage of the customer journey from first look to return home (and potential end of quarantine). Do you have a clear, communicated strategy and action plan for this?


3) Seth Godin - How to get your ideas to spread

Summary - An evergreen concept but one which can fall at the first hurdle during times of crisis and the operational impacts which follow. As a marketer, it is your voice which champions the customer and no budget or resources cuts are excuse enough not to keep this front of mind.

Key takeouts: a) “Find out what people want and give it to them”. Agreed, there is a parameter of reason here but are your decisions being made based on what a consumer wants or what you internally want. Only the primary will be successful, find ways to source this data through marketing without a marketing budget tactics. b) Is it remarkable to the consumer? Take time to check and review. In times of uncertainty, something remarkable will really stand out from the crowd. Does it tick all their boxes? c) “I don’t want email, I want to get me-mail”. Don’t mass communicate. This is a time of personal choice, decisions, impact. Be personal, be present, be proactive.

4) Adam Grant - The surprising habits of original thinkers

Summary - inclusion in part to share the horror of Thomas Edison’s creepy doll invention, but in times of crisis and limited core data to work with, original thinkers can impart some wisdom and advice to keep you, the marketer, thinking big.

Key takeouts: a) Originals are late to the party. Being first out the block isn’t always the best strategy. Consider the videos above, if you haven’t considered the consumer needs and the offering isn’t remarkable, then it is irrelevant if you are first out of the block. Remember, consumers in travel will review and consider a minimum of three providers when making their choice. b) “Doubt the detault and look for a better option”. There is comfort in being able to execute activity you know has worked before, but times and conditions change, often daily. When budgets are tight, options are limited, take time to scrutinize - can you make it more remarkable? c) There will be lots of bad ideas, if there arne’t then have you really looked enough? Great ideas spurn from bad and indifferent ideas so don’t stop brainstorming. Don’t let this time fall to the wayside because resource is minimal, other priorities arise or time is running away from you. You’ll never escape the cycle if you can’t find the time to nail the offering.


5) Pico Iyer - The art of stillness

Summary - Pico has spent a lifetime in travel as a writer and describes how he needed to find a mechanic to be present and still in his life. This talk is a lesson in both stepping off the conveyor belt to benefit from insight, as well as personally taking the time to assess the great sights and experiences when your facing job uncertainty and looking forward to a new adventure.

Key takeouts: a) For those in the travel industry facing redundancy, trauma, frustration. Take stock. Few careers are as phenomenal in experiences as those in travel. Think about what you loved, what you didn’t and where this can direct you next. Enjoy the memories. b) “The trip itself gave me some amazing sites, but it is only in sitting still that it gave me lasting insights”. - no further commentary required.

Fast forward 12 months and make sure you look back to see how you delivered success (and there will be success however great or small) by thinking differently, living a true consumer first approach and maintaining your own resilience to tackle every wave and boulder which will come your way.


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