As we venture into 2022, there is a familiar feeling of tension and impatience among people who have been cooped up inside their houses for months on end.
When the pandemic first hit, the travel industry screeched to a halt as people were forced to stay at home, but as the vaccine became widely available and peoples’ comfort levels continued to rise there was a flood of demand that jolted the industry back to life.
We now find ourselves in a similar situation. A second wave of “revenge travel” is on the horizon as delta and omicron variants surge around the world, and consumers’ fears of exposure from traveling have started to resurface. While these feelings have hindered people’s travel plans for the short-term, new Rakuten data shows that travelers are extremely eager to start spending on their long-term plans for trips. Nearly a quarter of consumers planning a long-term journey are expecting to spend up to $5,000 on those plans, which is a great sign for marketers within the travel industry.
These travel marketers need to act now in order to capitalize on this impending surge in “revenge travel.” But more than just understanding when to invest, travel marketers need to know where to invest in order to get the most value and attract the most attention.
3 Strategies for Travel Marketers in 2022
- Offer compelling deals and promote them creatively.
- Prioritize authenticity and avoid negative ad experiences at all costs.
- Strategize months — not weeks — in advance.
Deals Remain on Top
An overwhelming majority (90 percent) of consumers say that they will actively seek out deals when making travel purchase decisions. This goes to show that consumers still prioritize price above all else — and if travel marketers are able to serve compelling and engaging offers in unique ways, then they are setting themselves up for success.
Nearly half of consumers will look to online search results when looking for travel deals, while 27 percent will visit review sites. Investing across multiple channels and strategies can help travel marketers ensure that their deals are reaching most potential customers possible.
Getting creative with how and where deals are promoted will be crucial to long-term travel success. Beyond those two options (which are the most preferred among travelers), marketers can also turn to online ads and card-linked offers.
One way that marketers can get creative with their approach is by leveraging multiple reward incentives to create a truly unique offering that competitors can’t match. For example, a traveler looking for hotel accommodations in California might be more likely to book a hotel that offers 5 percent cash back on the reservation as well as the ability to earn loyalty points on their credit card — instead of booking at a competing hotel only offering a 5 percent discount on a similarly priced room.
Complementing the Online Journey
No matter the industry, authenticity is extremely important to consumers, and the travel sector is no different. Consumers have come to expect ad experiences that complement their on- and offline experiences — rather than disrupting them. If an advertisement appears next to something that isn’t contextually or tonally relevant, they’ll likely have a negative reaction to the ad.
Affiliate links are a great way for marketers to provide contextually relevant ad experiences in a way that is truly authentic. If a person is watching a story from one of their favorite Instagram influencers who is currently on vacation — and that influencer posts a link to the airline that they used or the hotel that they’re staying at — it inspires a sense of third-party credibility that marketers can’t leverage elsewhere.
Invest Now, Benefit Later
The holidays are here, but travel marketers need to be thinking several weeks and months ahead if they plan on capitalizing on this impending travel boom. Those who choose to invest early and often will ultimately win out, especially if they are strategic with where and how they reach consumers.
Deals will be the most important to consumers looking to book travel, but negative ad experiences are enough to spoil even the best offers. Investing in both authentic and affordable experiences for consumers is the recipe for 2022 travel success.