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Travel companies are planning to spend more next year on digital marketing, including social media, online content and apps, according to a new global survey.

Of the 350 businesses quizzed by online content specialists Frommer's Unlimited, 78% said they plan to increase their digital marketing budgets.

Two-thirds of businesses surveyed (65%) said they would invest more money in social media next year and more than half said they would also increase spend on content (55%), mobile and apps (54%) and natural search engine optimisation (52%).

The survey also revealed that nearly 80% of companies plan to have iPhone apps and 75% are aiming to have an iPad app by the end of 2012. Three-quarters will also support a mobile web platform by the end of next year.

International content is also an area of growing focus. Three-quarters of those surveyed say they are maintaining and increasing translation budgets for 2012. Half of the travel organizations surveyed currently operate a site in one language, a third operate sites in up to five languages and a fifth have sites in more than five languages. For 2012 that will increase – 26% said they plan to have up to 5 language sites and 17% plan to have more than 5 language sites.

Unlimited director Europe Middle East and Africa Giles Longhurst said: “We’re seeing a clear trend of sustained investment in content in many different platforms and global players looking to create engagement as well as customer acquisition."

He said companies were more focused now on converting site visitors into bookings rather than simply attracting more visitors through natural search.

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