I love to travel. From road trips through the American southwest, to boating next to Alaskan glaciers, to touring the wonders of the Amalfi coast, travel for me, as it is for many, is at once cathartic, entertaining, and enlightening. For me, and I’m sure for many others, travel is the quintessential human experience. But as we all know; this hasn’t been an option for most people for about a year now.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the travel industry and has radically impacted people’s attitudes and behaviors as they deal with travel restrictions, reduced budgets and concerns about health and safety. Fortunately, we are starting to see signs of recovery, thanks to new vaccines, the pent-up demand of travelers, and rapidly adapting travel companies.
So the key question for most travel marketers now is, “What can I do in 2021 to accelerate my company’s exit from the impacts of the pandemic, and in the process, not only just recover but grow my business?” This question is further complicated because travel brands can’t assume future travelers will act and buy as they did before the pandemic.
Of course, every travel company’s business situation is unique, but there are some key strategies that, if employed now, will help marketers to maximize their chances for success. These strategies are described in “Travel in 2021 Is the Tale of Two Pandemics,” a new eBook from Acxiom. Based on an Acxiom study, the eBook provides valuable insights into shifting traveler behaviors and based on those insights recommends strategies to speed travel companies’ recovery.
Acxiom asked 10,000 people in the United States and the United Kingdom about their desire and concerns about traveling. At the highest level, most people either thought travel was particularly important before the pandemic and still do, or they think it is even more important now. This finding represents an opportunity and also a challenge; some people will travel before others, so it’s critical to be able to interpret demand signals and discern the differences between those willing to travel sooner and those who will wait awhile.
To help travel marketers tackle this challenge, the eBook provides recommendations in five areas:
Know Your Customers
Truly understanding people will be the key to recovery and meeting travelers where they are now. Travel marketers should ask themselves, “Can I accurately identify a person across channels and devices?” To connect personally, they need a reliable identity resolution and management process. It’s even more critical than ever to understand how to best engage with a consumer in an appropriate and thoughtful way.
Develop Better Insights
What travelers looked like this time last year may be very different than today. Having current, accurate insights is a game changer and will help create the best customer experience possible.
Activate Better Digital Audiences
It’s critical travel brands create addressable, high-value audiences and activate them in the right channels. Building better digital and media audiences helps focus marketing messages and engagement strategies on those travelers who are ready to get back out there.
Create More Personalized Messaging
Travel companies must get more personal to earn people’s trust and create real engagement. Showing customers they understand their concerns and needs with more personal, contextual, and authentic messaging is a must.
Encourage Better Loyalty
People have not been able to earn and use loyalty rewards during the pandemic. Travel customers have changed, and loyalty programs must be able to drive engagement based on customers’ evolving needs. Another way to drive loyalty is to collaborate with partners to better understand customer behaviors to create connected, seamless travel experiences.
Download Travel in 2021 Is the Tale of Two Pandemics today. Over the coming weeks, experts at Acxiom’s Travel Marketing Practice will deliver blogs that will delve into each of the above recommended strategies and explore how travel marketers can put these strategies to work for their company. Acxiom is actively working with travel brands to implement these strategies and capabilities now, and we are seeing results. Let us know if we can help you.
In the meantime, you’ll find me planning my next trips, across town, and the world. See you out there!