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Travel is changing radically. What does that mean for marketers?

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

5 opportunities arising from challenging travel.

We spent a lot of time at home in 2020. We binge watched everything we

could find. We found new recipes and had more conversations about

sourdough starters than we imagined possible. We rediscovered our love-

hate relationship with puzzles (especially when one of those crucial edge

pieces ended up who knows where).

We spent so much time at home, that the thought of travel has become

something of a foreign concept. Yet that suddenly foreign concept gives

marketers an opportunity to reach clients in new, interesting ways (or even

rediscover some old ways of reaching them).

We have identified a variety of ways that travel will remain different for a

while longer. Below are five of them, and some opportunities we see for

marketers to reach out to audiences in unique ways.

1. Acceptance of remote work expands opportunities.

Workcations have become part of the lexicon as many realize they can

work from just about anywhere. This creates opportunities for

companies to find both staff and clients far beyond what may have

been the traditional geographic limitations. As taking work on the

road continues to grow, the recruitment and hiring of remote staff will

increase. This will add to the diversity of organizations which will lead

to more rapid innovation and expansion of business opportunities.

Marketers are already asking themselves two important questions:

If most of our meetings are via the web, then why do we need

to be in the same city (let alone actually in the office)?

If our workers can be anywhere in the world, why can’t our


This has led to the creation of new media opportunities that were

barely considered as little as nine months ago such as branded

backgrounds for virtual meetings.

2. Traditional media will take center stage as staycations expand.

Traditionally, staycations means staying home. Since we’ve all spent

more than what we consider our fair share there lately, staycations

will expand a little bit. With expectations for domestic travel to

increase in general, more and more people will remain in their home

states to explore what’s nearby. We’ve already seen the increased

importance of video as people spend more and more time on their

screens. This extension of traditional television commercials will lead

to new creative uses of other media. As people return to the road,

there will be a focus on billboards and radio to reach these audiences

as they spend time in their cars.

3. New flight habits will create more business travelers.

With masks becoming mandatory, and many destinations requiring

testing or quarantining, leisure travel will continue to be a challenge

for many families. Business travel, however, will begin to take up

more of the available airline inventory. Since workers can be more

remote than ever, the commute to the office may become a once-a-

month flight rather than a daily drive of an hour.

Since the amount of travel could remain low for months to come,

there likely will be a decrease in frequent flyer miles. This does create

opportunities for companies who want to appeal to business travelers.

From free WiFi in the terminal to concession or sampling

opportunities due to lack of in-flight service, Due to the closeness of

other passengers, and the recycled (though purified) air, most travel

experts think that mask mandates will remain in effect for the

foreseeable future.

4. Road trips will remain popular.

Since masks will be common on flights, and people will be staying

closer to home, the open road could become a little more congested.

Plus, with a lot of international destinations closed to the U.S., folks

will look for outdoor destinations. They’ll rent an RV, find a place to

pitch a tent, or rediscover a rustic retreat just a few hours from home.

To make the most of this newfound love of the open road, state and

local visitors bureaus should be targeting nearby states and

metropolitan areas to lure new vacationers to their regions.

Communications will continue to be extremely crucial not just for

luring new clients, but also for educating them and helping them

prepare for the trip. Even a short drive to a state park could require

additional planning due to occupancy limits and a need for pre-

purchased tickets and health screenings.

5. Experiences will remain a priority.

Wanderlust is rapidly becoming wandermust as we all look for ways to

refresh our minds and reinvigorate our souls. Travel will be a huge

portion of that, though with tighter budgets due to some of the

economic turmoil many have experienced, the memories and

sensations of travel will be more important than ever.

That will require companies to develop communications and

marketing campaigns that inspire confidence in the safety of any

destination. It will also require a continual assessment of the ways

services can be provided in as touchless manner as possible, which

then creates on-screen opportunities for marketers to reach potential

clients in another way.

As we all continue to adjust to the “new normal,” travel will return. Trips,

however, are likely to be shorter in miles and longer in meaning. Most of all,

they’ll be more refreshing as we return to exploring the world around us,

whether near or far.



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