Travelers want to spend, but how can brands be part of their journey?
People want to travel. And those who travel more, spend more – not just on the obvious purchases you’d expect. So how can brands in and outside the travel industry take advantage? Let’s explore.
People are planning to travel more and for longer periods of time.
Travel used to be seen as a luxury, but with more affordable options and access to destinations, accommodation and experiences to make their trips memorable, people are planning on traveling more and for longer. This desire to save up for their next vacation and maintain their wanderlust comes at the expense of other categories, but brands that connect and play a role in their journeys can stay relevant and be part of their spend.
At a time when purse strings are being tightened due to rising costs and inflation, research from Tripadvisor finds that 78% of global travelers plan to spend more or the same on travel as last year, with over half planning more than three trips in 2023 (+25% over 2022). And those who travel more, spend more. These enthusiastic consumers are more likely to book accommodation at higher rates, dine out and purchase clothes and accessories more frequently than occasional travelers.
“It would appear that post-Covid lockdown, the travel rebound wasn’t just the oft tossed around phrase of ‘pent up demand’, it was a realization for people that putting away the laptop, popping on the ‘out of office’ and genuinely getting away from it all was a deep-seated human need,” says Christine Maguire, vice-president and general manager of media at Tripadvisor.
Unshakeable enthusiasm for travel experiences
The intent to travel for those across the US, UK, Australia, Japan, Singapore and India in 2023 is on par with 2019 levels. Travelers want to go and they’re willing to spend to get there. According to the research, one in five discretionary dollars goes toward travel, tied with restaurants as the top category.
When people are this invested in traveling, it becomes an emotional and meaningful purchase, making this a valuable audience for brands in any sector to connect with on a more personal level.
The spending power and influence of travelers extends across multiple categories and stages of travel. The Tripadvisor research found that 63% see shopping as an important part of their travel budget, with a fifth (20%) ranking shopping as the activity they spend most on while traveling.
But the shopping starts much earlier in their journey. Those preparing to take a trip stated that they regularly buy clothes (89%), accessories (80%), over-the-counter health and wellness products (75%), skincare products (74%), haircare and luggage (both 72%) and entertainment (71%) before they go.
“When people travel, everything they buy is an important investment,” says Maguire. “Travelers spend money across multiple industries – from beauty to technology – in preparation for their trips, in addition to paying for accommodations, restaurants and transportation.”
As for how they are interacting with brands, the picture is much bigger than travel-related products. Maguire adds: “Purchases span multiple industries, from tech to clothing to toiletries, all paid for with credit cards that offer the most points. When buying these things, travelers are looking for inspiration and guidance at every step of the process – this is where brands have the opportunity to reach key consumers through multiple touchpoints.”
Making your ads travel further
With this economic portrait of global travelers in mind, here are five tips for brands and marketers to consider when planning their marketing strategies:
Destination matters: the ’where’ (country and accommodation) is a top priority for travelers when planning a trip. The more information and content that destination marketing organizations and hotels can provide audiences, the better. For brands in other industries, think about how to weave locality into marketing campaigns to align with your core consumer’s search.
Content attracts consumers: travel ranks highest when it comes to discretionary spending, so use content to catch their eye. On average, travelers engage in three to four in-destination activity categories, so be sure to flaunt the diversity of your offerings proudly. Where relevant and appropriate, be sure to showcase any valid deals and discounts to offer extra value.
Emotions drive decisions: travel is a purchase that defines who someone is. Marketers can lean into this fact and form an emotional connection with audiences to better engage in an authentic and meaningful way. Tap into their wants and desires and they will reward you for it.
Purchases start in preparation: travelers make multiple (and repeat) purchases in preparation for their trip so reaching them before they go is important. When planning your ad spend, don’t just target in-destination travelers. Look for opportunities to connect when they are in the mindset to purchase from other categories.
Quality reviews make a difference: travelers are looking for guidance. Three in four travelers see reviews as ‘extremely or very important’ when making travel decisions. Leverage the trusted authority from platforms, such as Tripadvisor with its more than one billion reviews and opinions, to ensure your brand is present during the decision-making stages of their journey.
For more global traveler insights and spending patterns, check out Tripadvisor’s Economic Portrait of the Traveler 2023 report here.
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