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Episode Info: Subscribe to The Destinationists on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or Google PodcastsIn this special episode recorded live at the Mumbrella Travel Marketing Summit in Sydney in as the industry grappled with the first wave of fall-out from COVID-19, The Destinationists hosted an interactive panel on the topic: “Is All Travel Marketing Irrelevant?’. Co-hosts Andrés López-Varela and Lauren Quaintance were joined on stage by South Australia Tourism Commission’s Executive Director of Marketing, Brent Hill, and Trafalgar Marketing Manager Samantha Saunders as well as members of the audience who wanted to participate in the debate.In what is a very important conversation at a pivotal time for the industry, Andrés and Lauren wanted to tackle some big questions such as when travellers are so well informed, do travel marketers even stand a chance? And do we have to fundamentally change the nature of what we do to stay relevant?Lauren kicked off the conversation by asking if marketers can really expect to compete with the power of word of mouth in travel decision making – whether that’s actual word or a recommendation on social. “How do you compete with someone who is a blood relation?”, she asked. Brent Hill replied that marketers weren’t competing against word of mouth but providing the tools to enable conversation between friends and family. “Marketing these days can interject and, and be involved in that kind of conversation… if I use my family as an example we have a What’s App group. We all use Instagram and tag each other left, right and centre. So, our family… is actually using marketing tools.”Andrés asked are instagrammers, who are often promoting competing destinations, make travel marketers redundant? While everyone admitted to some frustrations dealing with influencers Samantha Saunders, who was at Air New Zealand prior to Trafalgar, said they had had some real success with specific talent that made the investment worthwhile. ““Before I left [Air New Zealand] we had Real Mama, who was a classic mum and travel blogger talking about the Air New Zealand Skycouch, which had been released for over five years. And somehow her great clarity on exactly communicating to her very niche target audience the benefits, resulted in [her Skycouch content] being number three on the US social news. It was enormous. And it literally just showed that, you might do 50... but there'll still be one that makes those other ones all worthwhile.”William Chen from Sojern joined from the audience to ask: which parts of travel marketing are becoming less relevant and which parts are becoming more relevant? Brent Hill offered up visitor information centres and printed brochures as an example of a service that was increasingly less relevant to consumers as the information dated quickly. “I would say that the visitor information centre model that we've seen through the '80s '90s, and so on, is, is perhaps decreasing in relevance. But wh...
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