A few weeks ago I shared some of my learnings and takeaways from the eTourism Labs conference this year. (Read that post) It’s such an info-packed conference that I couldn’t get to everything in just one post! We’ve already covered the trends of Mobile, Visuals, Personalization and Measurement. My next favorite topics from the conference were Voice Search, Native Advertising and User Generated Content.
#1 Voice Search
Several presenters talked about voice search and no wonder – people are using it like crazy. 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search daily. Get in touch with voice searchers by remembering that they are 100% mobile, so make sure they are getting hours, menus, directions, etc. The best way to make sure you are coming up correctly in voice search is to claim your account on Google Maps and keep it updated.
#2 Native Advertising
People are gravitating toward less invasive advertising. Pop ups and banners are intrusive to the online experience. Instead, ads that are integrated within the website they’re already using are much more appreciated. Think about when Facebook ads went from the right-hand sidebar into the newsfeed. The newsfeed ads perform much better, because they are served up in the same context as native content. The same goes for any website advertising. One presenter even predicted that someday soon non-native advertisements might damage SEO scores.
While voice search and native advertising use the latest technology, user generated content (UGC) seems to me the most futuristic of all. As one presenter said, the travel funnel is more of a maze than anything else, and the key is finding the trust. Travelers trust each other – Destination Analysts have identified that over 60% of people look to user generated content for travel planning. Destination DC shared their new website, that heavily incorporates UGC, visual and experiential content. Another great example of UGC with beautiful results – the Visit Syracuse visitor’s guide. They have two (Winter and Not Winter), both of which feature a user photo as the cover (with permission, of course).