Travel’s Back: What to Expect from the Return to Travel in 2021

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Find out what’s happening with travel marketing in 2021

It seems like an eternity since we’ve visited an airport or stayed in a hotel, and thankfully, in many regions around the world, travel is back.

But like everything else about the pandemic, travel will also have a ‘new normal’.

Specifically, the new normal in travel will include many people starting their tours by taking shorter trips to destinations closer to home as they mostly seek outdoor experiences.

Safety first

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Research compiled by Braze and Apptopia found that for prospective travelers, the most important factor when selecting a travel company was health and safety (31%), followed by cost (29%). This trend can also be seen with airlines that added safety scores to improve traveler confidence.

But costs still matter

Despite the focus on safety, low-cost carriers outperformed hybrid and legacy carriers, according to app marketing data compiled by Braze and Apptopia. In April 2021, low-cost carriers saw a 135% increase in app downloads and a 62% increase in sessions year-over-year after a slight increase in March 2021. In comparison, hybrid and legacy carriers saw a decrease in March 2021 and a modest increase in April 2021.

Prepare to move customers down the funnel

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While travel is coming back, people are still apprehensive. According to the data compiled by Braze and Apptopia, only 19% of those surveyed feel comfortable traveling now while 22% won’t feel comfortable until most people have been vaccinated. This uncertainty increases when it comes to international travel with nearly twice as many comfortable with domestic travel (59%) vs. global travel (32%).

With more people using travel apps today, now is the time for smart travel marketers to cultivate a customer journey that leads prospects to a safe travel experience when they’re ready later this year or next year.

Research from Braze showed that emails sent to a prospective travel customer triggered by user actions out-performed time-based emails by 10.8x. And emails using dynamic message personalization resulted in 3.3x travel purchases.

Though email was the most popular messaging channel in travel, cross-channel marketing performed best. Specifically, messaging prospective travelers in two channels (vs. one) increased the user’s lifetime by 32%. In addition, data from Braze showed that cross-channel marketing increases session activity by 4.1x and in-app messages result in 3.3x more bookings, reservations, and purchases than just using email.

The leading booked travel destinations in 2021 will be…

…for consumers in EMEA:

  1. Spain
  2. United States
  3. Turkey
  4. Greece
  5. United Kingdom

…for consumers in APAC:

  1. South Korea (Jeju, Busan, Seoul)
  2. Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast)
  3. Japan (Okinawa, Tokyo, Sapporo)
  4. New Zealand
  5. United States

…for consumers in the US:

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  2. Orlando, Florida
  3. Los Angeles, California
  4. Miami, Florida
  5. New York, New York

Speaking of destinations, data compiled by Tripadvisor from May 2021 found that the most popular experience destinations are Nature & Parks, ahead of Sights & Landmarks, Shopping, Tours, and Museums. Coming out of lockdowns, travelers are clearly seeking safer outdoor experiences.

According to the data from Tripadvisor, vaccinated travelers are more likely to book vacations, and are planning on traveling longer and spending more money when they travel. This is particularly true in countries like the US and UK, which boast higher vaccination rates.

World: here we come!

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Tripadvisor data from the first week of May showed that 75% of June vacation searches, 67% of July vacation searches, and 62% of August vacation searches were for domestic vacations. But for searches for November 2021 and onward, the majority of searches are for international hotels.

If you’re looking for a partner to help market your vacation or travel brand, reach out to Creative Clicks today.