Summer is the most anticipated time for travel advertisers to revive travel consideration. With warmer weather and the ramp-up in vaccinations, the travel industry has already begun to bounce back.
There's no denying that consumer behavior is constantly evolving, and travelers' needs have evolved since pre-pandemic times. According to hotels.com, 89% of U.S. Travelers intend to be more impulsive with their decisions more than ever. Additionally, the number of trips lasting more than two weeks has risen 5x compared to 2019.
Tripadvisor.com has also reported in their travel trends that 17% of people are actively searching for international travel plans during 2021 and 77% are more likely to travel internationally once they become vaccinated.
With such rising figures and trends, we're excited to share the following travel recommendations and insights to capitalize on the upcoming surge in travel demand.Source: Hotels.com®, 'The 2021 Upgrade', Exclusive Resorts
Source: Tripadvisor 2021 Travel Trends, Source: Think With Google, Actions for destination marketers to navigate a COVID-19 world
#1 Tap into traveler's motivations
We all buy the same thing for different reasons. It is crucial for advertisers to understand the motivations behind consumer purchases and hence diversify and iterate their advertising messaging and creative composition to appeal to the different personas.
Your unique selling proposition will alternate based on such motivations. For example, a budget-restricted traveler is most likely to be attracted to your travel deals and offers. At the same time, a traveling family in search of leisure will be more likely to respond to your rich and experiential locations and amenities.
Iterating your creative to fit different motivations will allow you to reach more audiences and potentially grow your bookings.
#2 Create relevant positioning in the post-covid world
Your positioning in the post-covid period is critical because it contributes to building travelers' trust.
The term "safe to fly" has increased as a search trend by 500%, putting safety as a necessary measure in your communication. The relevant themes that travel marketers should focus on are:
- Enhanced Cleanliness, showing hygiene protocols.
- On-trip distancing, showcasing what your business is doing to adhere to social distancing measures
- Trained staff to guide guests with health and safety rules
Flexibility comes next as a good tactic to reduce friction in the travel consideration phase. Based on Smartly.io's global consumer survey, 28% of travelers expect flexible rates and terms from travel brands. Remain flexible and feature USPs highlighting free cancellations, rescheduling, or book now and pay later.
Discounts and deals are another great way to capture attention; after all, everyone loves a bargain. According to our global consumer survey, 45% of travelers expect advertisers to promote deals and discounts.
Other prominent themes that help position your brand for a post-covid travel environment are highlighting staycations as part of your narrative, incorporating travel nostalgia to provide an emotional hook, and leveraging user-generated content to add more authenticity and credibility.
#3 Re-establish your brand among the competition
We have put together a list of insights to help you with creative decisions regarding your lower funnel dynamic ads for travel. We derived the below insights from looking at the top-performing travel ads over six months per region.
- More emphasis on last minute deals messaging
- Flexibility and free cancellations messaging resonated well
- Showcasing swimming pools & aerial views in your creatives
- Blue & Green colors are very dominant colors in top performing creatives
- High frequency use of social proof such as: :(ratings, scores, reviews, testimonials)
- Rooms with multiple beds visuals seem to get more clicks and interest
Other themes that travel advertisers could utilize to gain an advantage over competition based on behavioral trends are:
- The Great Outdoors: Show the human side of your brand in your creatives. Focus on immersive audiovisual scenes that delight the user and appeal to the curious explorer. Avoid clutter in messaging; short-form video ads are the best way to do this. In addition, think about the shareability of your video to leverage word of mouth on social media.
- Road trips: Longing for connection has always been a part of human nature. With the pandemic restricting social interactions, this became even more apparent. Therefore, focus on core values like a road trip and rural escapes with family and close friends to re-ignite connections. We expect to rise more in popularity during the summer of 2021
- Positive and delightful narratives: Play on fun and comedy. Delight your audience with snackable content that is positive to portray an emotion. Communications are more effective and memorable when using emotional hooks rather than a purely rational message.
- Convenience: Leverage consumers' appetite for comfort with your creative messaging while also creating a frictionless click-to-booking flow. Include price, availability, flexibility, and speed of payment/booking into your creatives, as these are some of the top reasons to book a trip.
- Relaxation and Escapism: Social isolation coupled with being locked at home for unlimited time and growing levels of worry about our loved ones all put to the test our psychological stability. "Consumers need escapism from all the doom and gloom right now, with them being 45% more likely than average to want news stories not related to the virus."