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Most desirable destinations for 2024 – and why your airport should be marketing them

2 May 2024
Sarah Marks
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What makes the ‘best’, most desirable destination is obviously subjective. According to CNN Travel, the top places to visit include several far flung destinations: Indonesia, Turkey, Estonia, Taiwan, the Balkans, Puerto Rico, Angola, Albania, Chile, South Korea, Western Australia, Panama, Morocco.

But Google “What are the top ten holiday destinations in the world”, and the list is fairly predictable: Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona, and so on. What’s interesting is how many of the destinations on the list are European cities. Search for “top ten city breaks” and, once again, the results are mostly European cities.

But here’s another thing — Google’s ‘best holiday destinations in the world’ is not a curated list. It’s a selection of dynamic results that automatically generates to reflect the most popular search topics, and it’s even influenced by your previous purchases, search and social media history, and where in the world you’re searching from.

Exploring how Google influences where travellers choose to go opens the door to a wider conversation about the technological advancements that are reshaping these choices. In recent years, disruptive technologies have been key drivers of destination marketing. As constantly advancing mobile and social technologies become ingrained into everyday life, they have more impact on how people find the things they want to buy. When a consumer needs something, they flick open an app and order it instantly, preferably to arrive the next day. They want to choose a holiday destination, they head to social media.

Being the best – the importance of Instagrammability

Among the array of technologies transforming travel, social media platforms — especially Instagram — play a pivotal role. In fact, 61% of Gen Z and millennial travellers are motivated to travel to a destination because it looks good in photos and videos, with 46% stating that Instagram directly inspired their decision to visit a destination.

Gen Z and millennials rely heavily on social media, web articles, magazines, and word of mouth for holiday inspiration. When researching destinations, this demographic may begin by choosing a particular city or landmark and finding that place on Instagram. Social media image platforms help confirm and validate the beauty and impact of a place. If a friend or trusted brand posts a picture of that location, the connection is even stronger. This generation grew up with social media and, to a large extent, it provides their inspiration and their goals. This also means they’re very open to targeted advertising and destination marketing.

Destination marketing and customer experience

‘Destination’ is the ideal product for today’s market. It centres on experiences over things and forms the perfect opportunity for information and content-based sales. Instagram demonstrates the power and reach available to destination marketers: with 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram has over 700 million posts with the hashtag ‘travel’. And with so many travellers turning to social media for inspiration, it’s become a must-have distribution channel for destination marketing content.

While destination marketers embrace social media and the many opportunities it offers for personalised, creative engagement, there’s also been a surge in technological innovations such as machine learning, which is the basis for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and can be used to create experiential marketing campaigns across different marketing channels. There’s novelty value to be had in hotels using robots in customer service, and there’s potential in 360-degree images and walk-through video to really offer the customer an experience of a destination whilst they’re still deciding where to go.

For airports wanting to engage with passengers through direct bookings and create positive customer experiences, it’s important to build destination pages that can be aspirational, personalised, and interactive. Recommendations can be offered depending on a customer’s previous buying and browsing history, as well as social media activity. With correct search engine optimisation (SEO), visually rich content, and intuitive checkout, your airport website can be the first place a customer goes to research destinations, and a one-stop-shop through which they can book everything they need for the trip.

Destination landing pages that link through from social media promotions and email campaigns can present customers with a quick and easy booking journey that can be completed in the spur of the moment, even on a small phone screen.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the trending destinations for 2024, and why they make for great destination marketing campaigns.

Is there a definitive ‘most desirable destinations’ list for 2024?

Travellers have different interests, motivations, and purchasing power, and a ‘top 10 most desirable destinations’ list will depend on these factors when they’re making travel plans and researching their options. Let’s look at some data-driven ‘top places to travel’ lists that are based on what travellers are searching for.

According to Google Flights, the trending destinations for 2024 are heavily dominated by European and North American cities, with Tokyo being an outlier at the number 3 spot. On the other hand, Tokyo tops the list of Tripadvisor’s trending destinations, which is dominated by Asian destinations. The sole outlier here? Bogotá, Colombia.

So to answer the question “is there a definitive ‘most desirable destinations’ list for 2024”: yes — for you! But that list may not be the same for another traveller, as it will depend on different factors based on each traveller’s unique circumstances. This isn’t a bad thing for airports, as they have opportunities to drive traffic towards the multiple destinations they service and cover these diverse search results.

Disruptive technologies in airport ecommerce

Keeping up with the latest technology and destination marketing channels may be challenging for airports. Rezcomm helps by offering a single platform that makes managing destination marketing campaigns easier and makes them more effective. By using an integrated flight booking platform like Rezcomm, your airport can extend the aspirational side of destination marketing to its website pages. The destinations page of the Gatwick Airport site, for example, features travel times, airlines that travel the route, and highlights about each destination. This informs the passenger at the point of research and encourages them to make their online flight booking directly with the airport.

The dashboard empowers the passengers to create their journey experience with the airport, providing them with alternative options to customise their trip, in line with the expectation of a personalised, interactive purchase path and the rise of the smart tourist. Your destination page can can be image-heavy and focus on storytelling using video and AR/VR to enthuse travellers before, during and after their trip.

For airports, the integrated marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) system in Rezcomm’s solutions offers optimised data capture, segregation, and analysis to build meaningful ongoing relationships with customers. This makes it easy to engage them across social media platforms as well as with targeted email campaigns.

Today’s traveller is keen to dive deeper into different cultures. People want to learn new ways to experience life in new places. Your airport’s destination guide tool can include global and cultural insights to educate and inspire. Written content, images, video, and other features should capture the traveller’s curiosity at the point of research and validate their excitement about the destination.

Your airport can also act as an ambassador for your local town or city, not only welcoming visitors but also using your brand influence and reputation to encourage people to explore their hometown as tourists. Use Instagram stories, video, AR and VR to show the best of your region for day-trippers and staycationers.

Elevate your airport’s destination marketing with Rezcomm

Rezcomm’s world-first combined omnichannel platform for airport sales, marketing, and customer-centric analytics partners with airports that serve a quarter of a billion passengers worldwide.

If you want to know more about how our integrated solutions can help support your destination marketing and route development, download our brochure, watch our video, or contact us for a chat today.