3 Takeaways from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s TRAVEL FORWARD

Posted by Kevin Vernimb

Our team is always looking to take advantage of the countless industry events in Washington, DC. We rarely pass up the opportunity to hear about how innovation is changing the way we live and we love networking with the leaders behind these events, especially considering our client base. From our work with destinations including Camana BayMiami Design District, and the Empire State Building, Google’s autonomous vehicle technology company Waymo, and innovative consumer goods including Everykey, we recognize the importance of these events. We love to share this knowledge with our clients so they can better achieve their business goals.

At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s TRAVEL FORWARD summit, we heard from several speakers how emerging technologies are making travel more affordable and safe, and the associated economic impact that these new technologies drive. Coming from all sides of the travel industry, speakers included:

Although the underlying technologies were the stars of the summit, at REQ we know that reaching your target audience is just as important as the product or service your business is providing. Here are some of our key marketing takeaways from the event:

1. Brands must create advocates

As Virgin’s Ryan Kelly said: “You can’t just drop a Hyperloop in a city and ask for forgiveness later.” Brands need to become an integral part of the communities they serve, and show the benefits they offer - sustainability, cost, time - while building grassroots support. If a brand is truly innovative, the advocates will come - but you need to engage them. 

Especially for the brands we heard about like the Virgin Hyperloop and Elevate (Uber’s aviation service), innovative companies must ingrain themselves in their markets to foster acceptance.

2. Embrace the customer decision journey

When a brand first enters the market, they need to highlight the problem they’re aiming to solve, address how they will remedy it, and make their core consumers care. Businesses receive pressure from investors, competitors, and all kinds of stakeholders, but if you believe in your mission, it is imperative to stick to your vision.

If you are changing the world and making lives easier, your consumers will jump on board. Getting these valuable customers to adopt your offering may be as simple as letting them try it out. “Listen to their feedback and focus on their emotional connection with your brand,” says Modobag’s Founder and CEO Kevin O’Donnell.

If your customers love it and know you do too, they’ll be hooked.

3. Consumer brands have redefined customer expectations

Consumers demand seamless experiences that eliminate friction. This has expanded to all industries, but has become particularly prevalent in  travel. The most successful brands are the ones who have created platforms that market to the full customer experience. Customers readily share some of their most personal information like their social security number because it makes their lives considerably easier.

The foundation of this, however, is the most important part of your brand. Clear’s Chairman and CEO Caryn Seidman-Baker had it spot on: “Integrity is job number one. Your business is nothing without trust.”

What’s Next

The next event in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Foundation Forward series is Talent Forward 2019, taking place at the Chamber in October. This event will dive into the need for businesses to take a hard look at what is shaping the workforce of tomorrow by examining how education, work, and technology co-exist and overlap.

Before then, we’ll be at the ASAE’s 2019 Marketing Membership & Communications Conference (MMCC) on June 6 and 7, where our own Steven Kostant and Katie Garrett will be presenting on the importance of association and coalition branding and how REQ helped make chemistry cool at SXSW. Tickets to the event are available on MMCC’s website.