The last year has been the most difficult in the modern travel age. But, as vaccinations take hold and restrictions ease, the prospect of a massive rebound in tourist activity is at the top of every travel marketer’s mind.
To get a sense for the psyche of the American traveler, Big Day conducted a survey to gauge their motivations, concerns and expectations—valuable information when planning and executing travel marketing campaigns.
1. Revenge Travel is Real
Americans are ready to make up for lost time with over 42% of respondents looking to take more trips in the next 12 months than they would in the same span pre-pandemic. Attitudes have shifted as well with over 40% of people saying they are more eager to travel now than they were before lockdown. Another 34% are just as eager as they were before—a great sign.
Travel Marketer Takeaway: With more people more eager to take more trips, now is the time to get in front of your potential customers. Don’t wait for the recovery, create it by ensuring that your brand and marketing is as enticing as the destinations they’re promoting.
2. New Opportunities Await
Bubbles be damned. One might expect a flight to familiarity and comfort coming out of lockdown, but more than 45% of respondents told us that they are going to travel somewhere new for their next trip.
Travel Marketer Takeaway: It could be that lockdown had them longing to check off some Bucket List destinations. It could also be as simple as a desire for a total change of scenery. Regardless, this gives you license to market yourself outside your comfort zone. Look at new geographies and segments. And if your core market is set then consider focusing on what’s new (remodels, upgrades, etc.) or different (packages, services, etc.) about your offering.
3. It’s Time to Redefine the Family Getaway
It’s no surprise that the desire to see family and friends for the first time in potentially over a year topped the list of motivations for travel (40%). What’s interesting is that just around 30% of respondents were more motivated by the idea of experiencing new cultures or adventuring outside their comfort zone.
Travel Marketer Takeaway: This is a a great time to position yourself as a destination for family or group get-togethers. Grandma’s house may no longer be the best spot, especially with health and safety guidelines still in effect. And to target those looking for culture and adventure, don’t be limited by your pre-Covid preconceptions. Look for ways to elevate the aspects in and around your destination that cater to those looking for something new and different.
4. The Booking Is Only the Beginning
It’s tempting to focus on selling the dream of travel, but Americans are telling us that they get just as much joy out of the details. Over 65% of respondents actually prefer the planning and researching phase of travel compared to the around 35% who more enjoy daydreaming about their getaway.
Travel Marketer Takeaway: There is great potential in engaging your customers after they’ve made their booking. And the best way to do that is to provide value in the form of information and insights. So, look for ways to follow up with meaningful tips, advice and information that will aid in their own discovery process. Pre-trip email programs that act as a virtual concierge are fantastic. Also look to participate or be present in objective communication channels like review boards and chat forums.
5. Go Beyond the Basics with Health & Safety Transparency
As you might expect, the top consideration for travelers is government-imposed regulations (53%). The next biggest factor is the vaccination rate of the destination population—over 45% of respondents say they will consider that information. That number came in ahead of travelers factoring in the capacity limits and open rates of restaurants and attractions (43%). Interestingly, over 23% of respondents want to know about the quality of healthcare services in and around the destination. That will be an interesting trend to track over time.
Travel Marketer Takeaway: Reassurance needs to be a new focal point for travel marketers. And this means going beyond highlighting cleaning protocols. Travelers are expressing a desire to know about the entire health and safety ecosystem. So, look at your marketing channels and find ways to incorporate pertinent, timely information. Transparency and balance is key as the desire for healthcare information is likely to grow even after the pandemic.
We’re the Travel Partner’s Partner
Big Day is a full-service creative agency that works with some of the top brands and travel providers in the world, including Royal Caribbean Group (Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises). Our hybrid approach to marketing means we can efficiently do what it takes to move your needle with everything from digital and social to print and video.
Free 30-Minute Insight Session
Don’t miss out on the great travel rebound. Our no-cost video session will take you through additional insights gained from the 2021 Big Day Travel Mindset Survey, and discuss the best ways to leverage them for your business.