With spring in full swing, the excitement for travel is in the air. As consumers gear up for their long-awaited summer vacations and beyond, it’s clear that travel is top of mind. According to recent data, US travel spending has surged to $93 billion as of February 2023, which is a 5% increase from 2019 and a significant 9% increase from 2022 levels. Moreover, 49% of Americans plan to travel more in 2023 than they did in 2022.
Despite economic uncertainty, the travel industry is poised for growth throughout 2023. After putting many dream vacations on hold for the past few years, consumers still consider travel a priority in their spending. So, let’s dive into the current trends that are shaping the travel landscape. And make sure to download our 2023 Leisure Travel Infographic for more information.
2023 Travel Trends
Consumers are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint when it comes to places they explore. Between choosing their destination, activities to participate in, transportation options, and accommodations, 69% of consumers are actively seeking sustainable travel options.
Booking in advance
Without travel restriction policies constantly changing, consumers now feel more comfortable booking trips in advance, as much as 6 months before a trip. However, travelers still appreciate a flexible booking experience, as 38% of consumers consider free cancellation and re-booking options as the most important factors when booking a trip (the highest of all factors).
With dream travel destinations in mind, experiences are a top priority. 49% of consumers said they will likely spend more on their next trip to compensate for lost time. Additionally, 80% of survey respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 are willing to pay to upgrade their experience. And for these trips, shorter stays of 2-3 nights are gaining popularity, resembling pre-pandemic levels.
10 Tactics for Travel Marketers
The digital landscape not only opened doors for travelers to book and research their trips but for advertisers to reach audiences at the right moment. Understanding these crucial travel trends and then knowing how to apply them in today’s customer journey ensures you reach your audience as they browse, research, and ultimately book their getaways. Below, we’ve outlined ten digital strategies that travel marketers should consider implementing before the busy summer ahead.
1. Paid Social
Consumers are spending more time on social media than ever before – 4.5 hours and 3.8 hours per day for Gen Z and Millennials, respectively. This screen time is having a direct impact on their decision-making as 60% of Gen Z says social media influences their decision about where to travel.
While having a social media presence is great to encourage engagement with active social media users, a paid social strategy helps amplify your reach. Proprietary audiences within social platforms combined with custom audiences, lookalike audiences, first-party data, and more, provide travel brands a great opportunity to reach new prospects while they browse their feeds and drive them to their website or profiles.
2. Paid Search and Broad Match
Although consumers are willing to spend more on travel in 2023, they’ll still spend time searching for the best deals and experiences. Implementing broad match technology to your paid search tactics ensures you to reach the widest audience as your ads are eligible to appear whenever a user searches any word in your key phrase, in any order.
- Broad Match is the default setting that uses any word within your keyword phrase in any order. For example, “goat yoga in Oakland” will match “goat yoga” or “yoga Oakland.”
- Phrase Match will match with queries that include your keyword phrase in the exact order but may include additional words before or after it. For example, “goat yoga” can yield “spotted goat yoga” or “goat yoga with puppies.”
3. Location-Based Targeting
Create custom location-based audiences by setting a specific radius that can be targeted on display or mobile devices. This gives marketers the ability to target consumers based on a variety of factors including:
- people currently traveling in a destination
- people who have previously traveled to a destination
- people within driving distance to a destination
- people living in a region that regularly travel to a particular destination
4. Behavioral Targeting
When looking at your target audience, which stage in the travel planning process are they currently in? Are they making broad searches about beach vacations or have they already visited your site, clicked your ad, and narrowed down their options? With behavioral targeting, you can leverage web search, purchase history, mobile app ownership, and web visit data to create and deliver brand messaging to consumers who have shown the most interest in your travel brand.
5. CRM Targeting
Travel brands can onboard first-party CRM data to target and personalize ads to lapse or loyal customers. This data can be used for campaigns like email marketing to deliver data-driven targeting promotions, booking updates, and tailored industry information.
6. Dynamic Segmentation
Develop custom segments based on observed behaviors to reach the most qualified travelers. For example, if a consumer visits a travel booking site but does not complete their booking, a particular ad is served to that segment to drive traffic back to the site to complete booking.
7. Transactional Data
More than half of travelers (51% to be exact) prefer using credit cards when booking leisure trips or vacations. By leveraging custom 3rd party data segments based on transaction history and credit card purchases, you can target potential customers with relevant travel offerings. These segments can be tailored to include travel-related purchases, such as flight bookings, hotel stays, rental car reservations, and more, to ensure that your advertising efforts reach those most likely to be interested in your travel products and services.
8. Automatic Content Recognition
80% of consumers planning to travel domestically or abroad within the next 12 months watch ad-supported OTT. As consumers stream TV across different devices and platforms, ACR technology ensures you capture audiences that have been exposed to your or your competitors’ TV ads, regardless of the device they’re using.
9. Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO)
DCO technology creates personalized ads based on data about the viewer at the moment when ads are served. This gives brands the ability to quickly iterate which ad creative they are displaying based on the user’s intent – showcasing the different ways you are meeting their expectations.
10. Site Retargeting
Use pixel-based retargeting to reach consumers who have previously visited or engaged with your website, researched booking, and/or requested information as they continue their travel planning. This allows you to deliver personalized ads based on previous actions made by the consumers to guide them further down the funnel.
Digilant’s Expertise in the Travel Marketing Industry
Our partnerships with Adara, Expedia, Trip Advisor, and more give our clients access to exclusive traveler data. Pair this with our team of media experts and premier reporting and data analytics; we ensure every client thrives in this ultra-competitive market. Ready to hone in on your travel advertising strategy? Contact us today to learn more.