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Entering the Spotlight - The Travel Industry's Reemergence and How Marketers Can Capitalize

It’s been quite a journey – literally – for the travel and tourism industry. The last eighteen months brought about a complete halt to the industry, with consumers just recently opening up to the idea of travel once again this summer. Colder winter months are upon us and some uncertainties do come with that – however, travel plans may still be on. Vaccine rollout has made way for consumer comfortability in the potential idea of travel in the near future. On the Friday before Labor Day weekend, the TSA screened 2.13M passengers, just 3% fewer passengers compared to that same day in 2019. Additionally, domestic flight searches are up 212% compared with last year, and demand for car rentals during the holiday season is up by 244%, per Kayak data shared with Travel + Leisure.

In this reemergent state of the travel industry, conveying your key attributes in a concise manner to those most important to you is what will drive success. There’s no doubt that we all want to get back out into the world and indulge in our own curiosities and explore – whether that is a short drive, traveling across the country, or crossing the sea to your next adventure.

With roughly 100 days left in 2021, consumers are looking forward to the upcoming holiday travel and have adventure aspirations for 2022. Take hold of the opportunity window that exists now to capture that demand for your brand and consider the following within your own media strategy evolution as a travel marketing expert:

1. This is your opportunity to shine – inject new inspiration to travel and boast about your differentiation points.

There are tremendous options for consumers today – what may have been their go-to trusted travel partner may no longer satisfy their needs today in a post-COVID world. Travelers are elastic in their preference and after long bouts of staying at or close to home, they now have the opportunity to broaden what they want their next travel experience to be. As a travel marketer, your storytelling to invite travelers to imagine what their next journey may be, whether by air, land, or sea, is a crucial first step of consideration.

Whether it’s your attention to new safety protocols or your unmatched experience providing white glove service to guests, ensure that they are knowledgeable about the core of your value proposition. Make use of sight, sound, and motion to grab the full attention of consumers in the mediums that they frequent.

2. Your existing CRM database is your most powerful weapon.

Existing hand raisers of your brand are of course those most valuable in the return of the travel industry. It’s this same database that’s crucial to finding those most similar to your current guests. Uncover those secret gems by mining your customer database to identify who they are and validate media environments for activation to find current and net new audiences.

Tailoring your messaging strategy uniquely to current consumers and prospects gives each audience group the action call they need to consider, explore, and then convert.

3. Recognize that your targeting strategy may need to evolve versus what was once true.

There still is a level of uncertainty about the future, which gives pause to consumers if travel is an option for them in the near or distant future. Because of that, your once top ‘in-market for travel’ audience segment may no longer deliver you the scale or quality of audience you need. Consider other known attributes of your consumers to find them in other targetable ways, whether through their entertainment preferences, known shopping habits, or other lifestyle interest points. Diversification outside of core tried-and-true endemic partnerships may also be an avenue for consideration to stand out among your core competitor set and other travel competing modes. Lean into this window as a test-and-learn opportunity to pivot into new media channels that you may have traditionally shied away from to find those valuable audiences and elevate your brand story.