With the holiday season fast approaching, travelers are making choices we haven’t seen before. But that’s no cause for despair. While new COVID-19 variants inevitably affect consumer priorities, understanding how today’s travelers navigate the new normal can help you position your brand for success this holiday season. Here are the travel insights you need to know.
Craft a message for the cautious
Travel is rebounding after a brutal year and a half for the industry. Thirty-six percent of people around the globe are now participating in some sort of travel activity. Moreover, travelers say they feel safer, with the perceived risk of taking a vacation down by 17% since January 2021.
On average, 45% of travelers said they planned to travel within their own countries in the early fall, and 8% planned to travel internationally. When it comes to holiday travel, 30% to 40% will plan trips a month or more in advance, while the majority will make plans less than a month ahead of time.
Think with Google
Source: Ipsos, Global, Essentials Report, survey conducted on the Global Advisor online platform among 14,500 adults aged 18–74 in CA and U.S. and aged 16–74 in AU, BR, CN, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, MX, RU, ZA, KR, ES, and U.K., n=11,523, Aug. 26, 2021–Aug. 29, 2021.
With so much subject to change right now, it’s no surprise that travelers want the flexibility to cancel or postpone trips. The New York Times reports that some luxury travelers are even “trip stacking,” or buying two trips for the same period in case one falls through due to unforeseen restrictions. In both the U.S. and EMEA, booking and cancellation flexibility ranks as the second most important factor influencing consumer holiday travel decisions, right behind price, deals, and discounts.
More marketers put “insights delivered from trusted partners” above “having an increased marketing budget.”
Health concerns are also top of mind for today’s travelers. In APAC, health and safety procedures beat price, deals, and discounts as the most important factor influencing holiday travel. In the U.S., health and safety procedures tie with flexibility and availability for second place.
Fortunately, the industry is listening: The top areas of investment for travel companies in 2021 are revised health and safety measures and contactless experiences. But while 85% of U.S. travel marketers say that offering flexible bookings and cancellations will be important this year, 38% say their businesses are not fully set up to provide flexible purchasing options. Making flexibility a priority for the holidays will be an important step toward meeting rising demand and new expectations as travelers return to the roads, rails, and skies.
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