The pandemic wielded a harsh impact on a number of verticals in 2020 – perhaps none more than Travel & Tourism. While the squeeze on airlines, resorts, and regional tourism economies was significant, many innovative marketers managed to keep the advertising flame alive during these home-bound stationary months. Through strategic use of creative design and brand messaging, many in the industry are keeping their eye on the big picture by concentrating on inspiring interest in future travel and most importantly, future bookings. Those who stay active will position their brand to see their efforts pay off, and for those who don’t, now may be the time to ramp up those efforts.
Inside the collective restlessness of travelers (and with their wanderlust simmering), the industry is gearing up for what’s expected to be a travel comeback. As more people are vaccinated and pandemic restrictions slowly begin to lift, conversations between travel destination clients and their agencies are resuming once again as they strategize budget executions in anticipation of a big return in the 2021 season. While some advertising dollars had previously been pulled back, we are seeing a steady stream of simple teaser campaigns with eyes on the “after times.”
As media planners prepare for an increase in the Travel & Tourism industry - given pent-up travel desires throughout the past year - there is a clear opportunity for video and TV. The visual media understands how its audience is feeling at this point so this is a perfect time to connect with the consumer on a very visceral level. When a benched traveler sees the clear blue ocean water, serene palm trees, or the beauty of white sand (on their screens!), the willful journey begins. Whether it’s Key Largo, Montego or off the Florida Keys in a place called Kokomo, these travel-enthusiasts want to get back out there as soon as they can.
So, as agencies and brands strategize, budget, and plan for the long-awaited travel season, how will they capture audience attention enough to trigger an increase in bookings? Given TV and video’s visual potency, they are always a solid go-to for advertisers. When you add the unique considerations of today - restless would-be travelers planning vacations ahead - it’s a valuable time for the industry to allocate funds for an effective media campaign that will have the most impact on their audience.
Additionally, clients and agencies will place even more focus on consumer behaviors related to travel. For example, they’ll take into account where they have been browsing online, consumption of media specific to travel, what their commerce habits have been, and they’ll also incorporate the client’s own data into the planning. With close attention to audience behavior and analytics, they are leaning into a much more targeted multiscreen plan of execution.
The prevailing intention of this period of time for the Travel & Tourism industry is to deliver resonant, compelling creative that is fully tuned for audience based buying through granular audience insights. There will be less of a need for offers and deals; it will be more about reconnecting with the soul of the restless traveler who has been dreaming of their first trips post-pandemic. It’s also an ideal time to implement a branding strategy. People are counting down the days until they can book a trip and order margaritas beachside on that tropical island or hit the slopes of their favorite mountain without having to think about the next zoom. Consumers will respond to campaigns that market in the feel-good spirit that getting away from it all stirs up for a person. When brands place the sentiment of the well-deserved return of travel across screens (that make sense for the client), this relatable messaging, in the wake of these trying times, does more than deliver a great campaign. It tells consumers that the future looks bright and sunny, and it will be here in no time, so get ready to book your tickets and pack your bags.