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How Marketers can Adapt to Holiday Travel in 2022?

It's difficult to begin any piece about the post-pandemic hospitality sector without using clichés like "unprecedented disruption" and "seismic change." But there was, and there is. Eighteen months of restrictions have taken control away from vacationers. Consumer attitudes toward vacations and travel have since shifted away from the blasé, possibly influenced in the past by packages, extras, and discounts, or luxury, uniqueness, and self-indulgence. With the holiday season quickly approaching, travellers are making decisions we've never seen before. But this is no reason to be disheartened. While new COVID-19 variants will undoubtedly influence consumer priorities, understanding how today's travellers navigate the new routine can help you with digital marketing for your brand's success this holiday season. Here are some travel tips you should know.

Recognize new requirements


With travel finally gaining traction around the world, talk of "vaccine passports" has gained traction. Globally, 78% of adults believe that COVID-19 vaccine passports should be required for travellers entering their country, making us wonder whether the industry is prepared to meet the increased consumer demand.

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67% of travel marketers expect their marketing budgets to rise moderately to significantly throughout 2021. Despite this, 88% admit that some aspects of their businesses aren't ready to serve customers this year, and 73% feel generally challenged to meet traveller needs. 

Create a message for the wary


After a tough year and a half, the travel industry is on the mend. 36% of people worldwide are now engaged in some form of travel activity. Furthermore, travellers report feeling safer, with the perceived risk of taking a vacation falling by 17% since January 2021.

In the early fall, 45% of travellers said they planned to travel within their own countries, while 8% planned to travel internationally. When it comes to holiday travel, 30% to 40% will plan trips months earlier, while most will make plans less than a month in advance.

With so much in flux right now, it's no surprise that travellers want the freedom to cancel or postpone trips. According to the New York Times, some luxury travellers are even "trip stacking," or purchasing two holidays for the same period should one fall through due to unforeseen constraints. Booking and cancellation flexibility is the second most important factor influencing consumer holiday travel decisions in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, trailing only price, deals, and discounts. Customers want to enjoy the opportunity to get away but don't want to be held hostage to misfortune, so late booking cancellations were common across the board. 

Today's travellers are also concerned about their health. Indeed, Tealium's new study into travel attitudes during the ongoing pandemic identified health and safety as primary influences on a decision. In the Asia Pacific region, health and safety procedures are more significant when influencing holiday travel. Price, deals, and discounts are not as important. In the United States, health and safety procedures tie for second place with flexibility and availability. Easily accessible information about health and sanitation procedures was also a top priority across Europe – an aspect of vacation travel that was previously taken for granted and perhaps rarely checked when booking. As a marketer, you can easily showcase your brand's safety procedures by using SEO.

Fortunately, the industry is paying attention: revised health and safety measures and contactless experiences are the top investment areas for travel companies in 2021. However, while 85% of US travel marketers believe that flexible bookings and cancellations will be necessary this year, 38% believe businesses are not fully prepared to offer flexible purchasing options. When travellers return to the roads, trains, and skies, making holiday flexibility a priority will be a critical step toward meeting rising demand and new expectations.

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So, how should a travel marketer prepare for the holiday season? When asked what would help them drive higher success through the end of the year, more marketers chose "insights delivered from trusted partners" over "having a larger marketing budget." With this in mind, Google has identified a few holiday travel trends to assist marketers in planning.

Travel will be significant


One of the most significant shifts has been where holidaymakers choose to stay and how they make those decisions. Consumers want to make the most of their travel experiences, with who and why they are travelling. The top reason for travel this holiday season is to see friends and family, with travellers going to see their loved ones.

Many travellers are also looking for sustainable travel options, putting their values first when planning trips. According to Booking.com's 2021 Sustainable Travel Report, 72% of travellers believe that travel companies should provide sustainable travel options.

Google recently announced a partnership with Travalyst and its efforts to highlight sustainable options within its travel tools. At the same time, 42% of US travel marketers say their companies are not prepared to offer sustainable or eco-friendly solutions in 2021, making it the leading area of business for which they are unprepared. Eco-conscious options, along with family-friendly experiences, are a unique selling point worth emphasising to potential travellers for those companies that are ready to deliver. Marketers can use search engine optimizations or social media marketing to promote their business as an eco-friendly one. 

Travellers are staying close to home


Understanding travel restrictions, rules, and exemptions as they change is a difficult task as COVID-19 cases rise, fall, and rise again. And it's hardly surprising that most holiday travellers are opting for domestic rather than international travel.

For people planning to travel in the next three months, 55% intend to travel outside their state or province but within their own country, while 53% intend to travel within their state or region.

As marketers try to make the most of domestic travel, half of the travellers expect to prioritise socially distant options for the rest of 2021. The travel industry will need to prioritise sanitation, masking, social-distancing protocols, and crowd minimization to meet the expectations of holiday travellers.

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This holiday season, I'll prioritise travel to see and spend time with family. And I'm not the only one. People are eager to begin exploring again, preparing the industry for a resurgence. While many marketers believe they are unprepared to meet the increase in demand, these findings show that focusing on safe, flexible, and meaningful domestic options can help meet customer expectations. A proper web design can also help you attract customers while reflecting your brand image. On top of all these findings, internet marketing is essential to promote your brand to the right audience.