WIGCOT 2016: Millennials, Mobile & Micro-Moments

WIGCOT 2016

Every March, about a thousand Wisconsin tourism industry professionals gather for the Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Tourism (WIGCOT). It’s always a great time to connect with industry peers, discuss trends and best practices, and share our unique experiences. For me, the biggest takeaways this year dealt with the changing demographic and digital landscapes, and how our digital marketing strategies can be optimized for these new realities.

THE MILLENNIAL CODE

Josh Tickell’s keynote “The Millennial Code” provided one of the best overviews of the Millennial generation I’ve seen in some time. Roughly 14-35 years old today, this generation represents a growing percentage of adults with approximately $1.3 trillion/year in spending power. While a large group of millennials are still in high school, many more are parents today. As Boomers continue to age, Millennials will represent a huge market opportunity. It’s imperative that marketers shift their perceptions to better connect with this generation. Tickell shared these tips for transforming “UR” marketing for this generation:

  • Make your online sales and app truly easy and functional
  • Add attitude, fun, playfulness, “vibe” and “sass” to your messaging
  • Incorporate social value into your products and brand
  • Be responsive on social media – start conversations and don’t advertise there
  • Ask opinions and genuinely listen to the responses
  • Be competitive, offer diverse choices and be honest and transparent
Millennials Body Graphic

Mobile Takes Over

Shaun Aukland from Google presented a keynote entitled “Why the Biggest Opportunities are the Smallest Moments,” which included a blend of statistics and examples that demonstrated how tourism organizations can make the most of the shifting digital landscape. Many of his stats reinforced trends Ascedia has seen with its own travel clients.

Today, the majority of website users are mobile. In 2015, mobile surpassed desktop for many travel websites. Most of the growth in digital from here on out will be from mobile traffic. In fact, Google predicted this traffic could be as high as 61% in 2016 and 68% in 2017 for Wisconsin travel. With this increase in mobile searches and sessions, websites are experiencing shorter times on site, but higher mobile conversion rates. If marketers want to improve their engagement numbers, they should take a look at the overall mobile experience along with page speed.

Page Speed Graph

Lower Page Speeds are a Must

Research shows that website page speed is especially important to mobile users. 88% of users are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience and a delay as short as one second can lead to an 11% decrease in page views, a 7% decrease in conversions and a 16% decrease in user satisfaction. Small improvements in page speed can lead to big improvements in engagement stats, such as bounce rates. The majority of the industry has a lot of work to do in this area as the average website falls well below Google’s recommended page speed score. To test your site’s speed, visit Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Make The Most of Micro-Moments

Aukland also talked about micro-moments. Mobile has greatly impacted the way people interact with websites and make decisions. Micro-moments are those times in which we reflexively turn to a device to act on a need we have in the moment – to learn, discover, find or buy something. For travel, key micro-moments align with the stages of travel.

These represent just the highest level of micro-moments: in reality, a person may have hundreds of micro-moments throughout their travel experience. Each micro-moment is an opportunity for brands to shape a consumer’s decision and preference. Review your marketing efforts and website through the lens of the micro-moment and optimize from that perspective. Following are additional resources to learn more about Google’s Micro-Moments and travel industry specific insights:

What were your biggest takeaways from WIGCOT 2016?

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