Post-COVID travel trends you need to know about

With vaccinations on the rise on a global scale, people everywhere are beginning to work travel dreams back into their long-term plans. As the industry begins to open once again, here are 6 top trends to consider when developing the marketing and positioning strategy for your destination.

1. Health, safety & privacy

As travellers cautiously venture back onto airplanes and into hotels, health, safety and privacy policies will remain top of mind. Currently, most organizations have developed and communicated solid COVID-19 policies and procedures to their customers; however, it will be important to consider your post-COVID strategy, including which policies will change, which will remain long-term, and how you will effectively communicate them. Although customers will be ready and willing to travel post-COVID, the need for increased cleanliness measures, physical distancing and privacy will take longer to revert back to pre-COVID times – and may never fully be the same.

2. Rise in vacation rentals

As a result of the desire for increased privacy, and restrictions on amenity use and dining, there has been a substantial rise in vacation rentals, such as Airbnb and VRBO, over classic hotel and resort offerings. Hotels and resorts that are looking to attract these customers back to their properties can use strategic messaging and marketing to remind customers the value that comes with staying at these properties – an increased level of service, on-hand amenities and the overall customer experience are a few golden standards that come to mind.

3. Exploring local destinations

Although with time, more travellers will be comfortable crossing borders and flying to destinations, the desire for local travel and exploring one’s own backyard will remain strong for the next 1–2 years. To capture this opportunity audience, ensure you’re clear on your destination’s key catchment areas on a local scale, and pivot your marketing reach and campaign message to target these audiences and areas. Many people don’t know the wonders that exist so close to home – these simple changes will ensure your destination is top of mind.

4. “Workcations” and longer stays

Working remotely through the pandemic has proven successful for many companies, and in a post-COVID world, its estimated that many companies will continue remote work in some way. Due to this shift, we have witnessed the emergence of the “workcation,” which consists of travel to a destination with the intention of a longer stay, and the ability to continue to work from this new location. Employees have a unique opportunity to experience a change of scenery or a new city, without needing to take an official vacation; and depending on their remote schedule, can stay for weeks or months at a time.  Ensure your destination’s offering is conducive to this new trend by accommodating longer stays and providing an experience that works around a remote work schedule.

5. Larger travel budgets

Over this past year, savvy travellers have been saving their pennies, waiting for the opportunity to get away. As the destination market begins to open up, expect to see not only longer vacations, but also bigger travel budgets. Customers have had the time to plan and save for their much-awaited vacations, and plan to “do it right” for this first post-pandemic trip, rather than “do it cheap.” Take advantage of this trend by ensuring your brand message is reaching your audience while they’re in the planning stages for the next big trip, which is NOW.

6. People can’t wait to travel!

Overall, the market for travel is warming up and may soon be at a roaring boil! Travellers are anxious to get out of their homes and experience new destinations, as soon as it’s safe to do so. The opportunity to explore your audience, evolve your brand and finesse your marketing message is now – so you can emerge ahead of the curve for a new wave of travellers who have been waiting far too long for an adventure. Let us help you prepare – contact us for a free consultation to differentiate your destination and resonate with your audience. For more statistics on travel trends as we emerge from the pandemic, check out the Global Travel Trends report by American Express here.