Hoteliers have a favourable marketing opportunity with enthusiastic, open-minded leisure travellers.
Nov 25 / admin@aplbc
The stringent measures to control the raging pandemic, travel restrictions and long hours of exhausting quarantines and being locked at home has forced the once active and brisk globe-trotting travellers had pushed them to the dreaming phase, longing them to travel as prolific as before when the world was normal.
The reason people get in their vehicles has changed in this new normal. Andrew Kandel, Waze’s director and head of sales, stated at the 2021 HSMAI Marketing Strategy Conference that more people are travelling today than before the advent of the pandemic, but their commuting habits are different, with a transformation in the travel patterns.
“Commutes are way down, and leisure travel and weekend driving are up,” he stated during the session “Drive Leisure Demand and Engage the Leisure Traveller,” adding that he expects the trend will “hold in the near term.”
A Data on the Dreams!
According to Pinterest’s global head of strategy and marketing, Ashish Arya, people are dreaming about travel more than ever before.
“We’ve seen a 20 per cent increase in travel searches on our platform this year,” he added. “We’ve observed a drop in searches that include a city, state, or nation.”
According to him, this provides a big opportunity for travel marketers because fewer individuals are planning trips with a certain location or travel brands in mind.
“People are very unsure about their vacation plans than they have ever been,” Arya said. “They’re more willing to try new things, go somewhere new, and have fresh experiences.”
This shift, according to Arya, has prompted firms like his (Pinterest) to develop new “traveller identities” to better understand why and how people travel, as well as how to better target them and customise communications.
Many of the things that people are enthusiastic about when it comes to travel, he added, haven’t changed, such as “memory makers with a family vacation, pets, cuisine, and so on.” Others, on the other hand, are far more unique.
“Some things are new or substantially increased as a result of COVID,” he added, citing “digital nomadic roaming while working for pleasure, or rural tourism because people have been locked indoors and want to go outside and have an outdoor adventure.”
A change in traveller’s pattern!
Marina MacDonald, Chief Marketing Officer of Red Roof, said her firm was prepared for some of the shifts in leisure travel behaviour that occurred as a result of the pandemic, which in some ways made activities that were formerly unpopular suddenly trendy.
“I would argue that exterior corridor hotels, like outdoor movie theatres, had their day in the sun,” she added.
To capitalise on such developments, hotels needed to have the right message around their services, such as emphasising that visitors could walk straight to their rooms without having to navigate crowded halls and that each room had its own dedicated heating, cooling, and ventilation system.
“One thing that’s surprised me recently is that everyone knows Friday and Saturday are up [because of leisure travel], but we’re seeing [strong] Sundays and Mondays in our statistics,” she explained. “Our visitors are staying for an extended period. They have this idea that they can work from anyplace, and they are working from anywhere.” She doesn’t believe that this is a temporary thing.
She stated, “That flexibility will never go away.” “Flexibility is here to stay in the way we work and live, and we must continue to be flexible with our visitors. Our regular visitors are visiting longer and more frequently. As a result, we’re doubling down on our commitment. Giving customers particular offerings that are essential to them and truly customising them is what this entails. That is significant.”
Making the most of the extended stays!
ResortPass’s founder and CEO, Amanda Szabo, said her business has been able to maximise the value of staycations and other short trips by selling access to hotel facilities to customers who aren’t hotel guests. She believes that filling income gaps for hotels would become even more crucial as business travel and corporate groups stay considerably below normal levels.
“It’s the ideal moment,” she said, “and our hotels are finding a lot of value in opening out to those local driving markets and other sorts of customers to leverage what they now have, which is more underused and accessible facilities and services.”
Travel and consumer behaviour have shifted over the last year, according to Szabo. More people are opting for house-sharing or vacation rentals, which may provide more room than a conventional hotel stay, allowing hoteliers to sell them on hotel services while they’re in the market.
“That’s a significant motivator that will only become stronger,” she added.