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Monday, August 10, 2015

The Travel Industry's Most Overlooked Target

Monday, July 13, 2015

Why Workplace Diversity Is Critical But Not a Crutch

Multicultural consumers are changing industries with their growing presence - here are four ways the travel industry can connect with these groups.

America's foundations are rooted in the confluence of disparate cultures, beliefs, and ways of life. It's part of what lends this country its richness and diversity.

Year after year, these attributes continue to develop as multicultural consumers grow in numbers and "transform the U.S. mainstream." African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Hispanics account for 38 percent of the U.S. population. By the year 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that Hispanics will lead U.S. consumption, accounting for more than 50 percent of total population growth, with African-Americans and Asian-Americans making gains as well.

As multicultural groups increase in population, influence, and demand, their preferences expand to impact virtually every industry--especially travel.

Buying Power on Overdrive

Multicultural groups are major players in the future of consumer engagement. The growth of these communities is translating into big business for the travel industry as it hypertargets messaging to reach these influential groups.

Here's what you need to know about multicultural consumers to help you do the same:

1. Family Comes First

Multicultural communities place a high value on family ties. In many cases, multiple generations both live and travel together.

In the age of Airbnb, it's important to ensure lodging environments feel as much like home as possible. Asian-Americans have historically had the highest share of hotel and bed and breakfast stays at 47 percent, with Hispanics not far behind at 42 percent. Hotels and hostels would benefit from offering amenities that streamline family travel.

2. Mobile Mavens Dominate

Smartphones allow life, work, and play to blend together seamlessly. And multicultural groups are among the highest in mobile users nationwide. Leverage this opportunity for a direct route to a captive audience.

Make sure your technology is on par with industry standards. Linked transaction capabilities are standard on travel apps such as Airbnb and OpenTable. Even airports are getting in the game with location-specific alerts that relay currency exchange rates, gate-to-gate distances, and other relevant information.

Employ technology--like scanners for Passbook and Google Wallet--to provide a seamless experience for these tech-savvy groups and keep them coming back.

3. Social Media Creates Gold Mines

Multicultural groups emphasize preference and word of mouth when trying new brands. This makes the social sphere a primary focus when reaching these consumers. Produce branded content that's both easy and desirable to share on social media. Try creating a fun meme or listicle that travelers will want to share with friends or family members.

4. Giving Back Appeals to Hearts

Community giving is an inherent part of the multicultural makeup. Appeal to hearts and minds through culturally relevant philanthropic giving. At the Golden Door in California, for example, guests can donate to an Ethiopian children's heath center when they book certain rooms. Nonprofit Pack for a Purpose also works with hotels to let guests pack extra necessities to give back to local communities in need.

Travel marketers have a wide-open landscape for connecting with multicultural consumers in the coming years, especially as these groups grow and technology evolves. The key is understanding how they act in their everyday lives, what fuels their recreational activities, and how best to engage with them as a result.

This article was co-authored by Jessica Gatti, VP of Client Services at Gravity.