RocketRez IPW Roundup

Matt Lederman
March 17, 2023

The RocketRez team had a great week at the IPW conference in Orlando! If you were unable to attend the conference, we've put together this summary of some of the key takeaways, trends, and statistics that the thought leaders of travel were talking about all week. Please enjoy our IPW 2022 Roundup!

Day One

Vibrant energy, and some breathtaking displays, have overtaken the Orange County Convention Center for a week of fun, education, and building professional connections. We're glad to see a fitting goodbye for legendary outgoing CEO Roger Dow!

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Speed Dating 💬

Networking and Business Appointments

The team had many great one-on-one meetings with tour and attraction operators interested in leveling up their ticketing and operations with innovative technology.

One of the best parts about sitting down face-to-face with many different operators in a day is hearing a number of perspectives about the future of travel, res-tech, and digital marketing.

Some topics we've been discussing a lot recently:

  • Adding value at every stage of the customer journey - from paid marketing to post-event communications.
  • Distribution, direct bookings, and digital marketing's advancing role in growth.
  • The unique ability of RocketRez to pull from a single source of inventory for all available sales channels - unlocking the ability to truly sell out.
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Continuing Education 📖

Here are a few of the best education sessions from Day One.

Malama Ku'u Home: Hawai'i's Pivot to Destination Management

Hawaii is a special place for our team. Through our wonderful customers located there, our team has built a deeper understanding of local initiatives to protect the wildlife and environment. We were happy to attend this session on regenerative tourism, and learn more about initiatives like:

  • Planting new plants and trees.
  • Removing invasive species.
  • Travel with mindfulness and consideration.
  • Building an economy for the community.

Ethical Data Collection - The Times are Changin'!

The travel industry is collectively an enormous purchaser of digital ads. However, as Google and Apple continue to re-write the rules on cookies and tracking users, there will soon come a time where first-party data is all you'll be able to rely on.

Key Takeaway: Operators who take early action to ensure their compliance with new rules will be well ahead of the upcoming changes.

Etourism Summit: Bright & Shiny New Objects (Round One)

Our team of tech enthusiasts geeked out on a few cutting-edge new products, including:

  • Intentful, who are using AI to deliver next-generation content marketing outcomes.
  • Wander, who will build an interactive map to show the attractions in an area surrounding your venue.

Day Two

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IPW Day 2 was a nonstop flow of information and first-party data on the state of travel in 2022 from the experts that know it best.

Let's dive right into the presentation highlights!

Inbound Travel Distribution ☄️

Hybrid Pricing and Packaging

As technology advances, so do operator distribution capabilities. This presentation focused on how operators can package and price their offers in conjunction with hotels to offer benefits to both parties.

There is a trend towards adopting a hybrid model, where hotels discount their rates for advance bookings to be combined with a tour or attraction ticket for maximum visibility. You can still use dynamic pricing to increase profit for last-minute bookings.

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TikTok Boot Camp 📱

The Most Important Platform in Travel

Travel is a profound force for good in the world. It promotes understanding, inclusion, diversity, and sustainability by bringing different people together. TikTok is a powerful tool to teach a large audience about different cultures and destinations.

Here are a few quick tips for operators to crush it on TikTok:

  • Be a consumer. Watch a ton.
  • Find organic creators (not influencers).
  • Post often and be at peace with small failures.
  • Engage earnestly with the community, audience, and creators you hope to reach!

Responsible Tourism ✌️

Insights and Strategies for Attracting Conscientious Travelers!

A new generation of travelers is booking vacations in droves! They bring a social mission and aim to build deep connections with their destination - and leave it a bit better than they found it.

A few surprising statistics:

  • 90% of consumers look for sustainable options when traveling.
  • 50% said they would pay more for these options.
  • They would be willing to pay 38% more on average for sustainable options.
  • We as operators and res-techs are tasked with the duty of accommodating conscientious travelers and making these options attractive and affordable. I, for one, am optimistic for the future.

Rapid Fire Statistics 🔥

Tech, Distribution & the Outlook for Visitor Attractions

Here are a few stats that caught our eye:

  • The increase in online direct sales continues, and the pullback in offline direct sales also does.
  • OTAs have really picked up the last couple of years.
  • Packaging with partners is very important, even for the biggest attractions.
  • The average number of OTAs used by attractions is 19.
  • 15% of attractions are integrated with Google Things To Do, 40% are not aware it exists.
  • Only 5% are changing prices daily using Dynamic Pricing, 78% change prices annually or less frequently.

Day 3

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The top leaders building great personal brands, the next era of leaders in travel tech, and of course the thought leaders of content, engagement, and marketing for the industry.

We heard and learned from all of them on Day 3, then made this summary of the "Cole's Notes" for you.

Let's go to the highlights!

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Bright Shiny Objects 🔎

Travel Innovators Take Center Stage

It is always inspiring to see what others are creating in the travel and tour tech space! Here are a few notable innovative businesses in travel tech:

  • Fun Fact: This past Memorial Day weekend there were 35 million car trips compared to 3 million flyers. Road.Travel is enhancing the guest experience by giving narrated road trips on your phone, as you drive!
  • Have you ever wanted to ask your guests to share some of their photos or videos from their experiences? SocialVenu provides a user-friendly platform to incentivize the sharing of user-generated content for discounts and special offers.
  • Sustainable tourism is all the rage right now, but talk is cheap - who really walks the walk? Ecomadic provides a marketplace for verified sustainable tours/attractions.

Branding 101 🔥

The Most Influential Leaders in Travel

Icons like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk successfully built a personal brand around their vision and values, which drove millions of people to buy their products not as customers - but as evangelists.

Your brand is a representation of a promise to your audience. Improve your brand by increasing reputation and trust from your audience.

Here are a few travel leaders building great brands, worthy of following (and taking notes):

  • Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruises.
  • Rafat Ali, CEO of SKift
  • Julie Coker, CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority
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RocketRez team members enjoyed the reception!

Content Spotlight 📖

Travel Topics - Ranked By Engagement

Boost your blog, email, and social media engagement by focusing on pillar content on the following topics.

  1. Industry news & trends
  2. Awards and recognition
  3. Constant learning
  4. Creativity and brand storytelling
  5. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  6. Advanced Technology

Destination Marketing ⚾

ROI for DMOs

Marketing for a single attraction is complex enough. Try marketing for a destination that features many different attractions! Most importantly, how do you determine the ROI of your marketing efforts?

Start with this four-step roadmap:

  • Define your purpose.
  • Dive into the data and the research you already have - what do you already know?
  • Create your key business initiatives (also known as OKRs).
  • Prioritize the key business initiatives.
  • How do you prioritize them? Plot them on the below grid, and favor the "up and to the right" ones.
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That's it for our IPW recap. We hope you enjoyed it - see you next year!

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Matt Lederman
Marketing Manager