As the pandemic continues to challenge the world, consumer confidence in travel remains low. Year over year, searches for “can I travel” have increased by more than 800%. While inquiries about whether it is “safe to fly” have increased by more than 500%.
A new wave of rising COVID-19 cases prompts the reintroduction of restrictions and quarantines, particularly in popular tourist destinations such as Europe. People are eager for a change of scenery after months of sheltering in place, and they are looking for safe and creative ways to getaway.
Three summer travel trends have emerged that appear to be here to stay. These are local destinations, outdoor adventures, and the return of the excellent road trip. Here’s what travel marketers should know about each of them.
Keeping Travel Close to Home:
With conflicting messages about mask use and safety protocols that vary by region, many travelers choose to stay close to home. Global searches for “staycations” are up 100% year on year. Searches for “beach open” are up more than 3,000%. Rental properties, in particular, are in high demand.
According to one survey, 64 percent of U.S. adults who currently work from home plan to book a nearby vacation rental between now and the end of the year. Similarly, 30% of U.S. parents with children under 18 said they were likely to book a vacation rental for their families before the end of the year.
Searches for “beach rental,” “cabins for rent,” and “lake house rental” — places where travelers can get away while still enjoying the comforts and security of home — are increasing, just as people maintain pandemic precautions with the need for time off.
The Wonderful Outdoors:
Nature is becoming more popular as a means of escape, rejuvenation, and maximum social distancing. It searches for more than 80% and 100% for “state park near” and “hike near me,” respectively, compared to last year.
Camping has resurfaced as a common occurrence because it provides more space per party. Thus, it protects from coronavirus exposure, as evidenced by the increase in nature-related searches. Campgrounds cover tens of thousands of acres. Travelers are also not restricted to enclosed indoor spaces, which reduces the risk of transmission through touch and the ventilation system.
Searches for “camping near me” have increased by more than 60%; “campgrounds in” searches have increased by more than 70%. “Glamping near me” searches have increased by 200 percent year over year.
The Road Trip Has Returned:
During the pandemic, road trips have also become more appealing. Traveling by personal vehicle not only limits contact with others. But it also provides people with a sense of independence and control. According to a recent survey, more than 43 percent of U.S. residents who have taken a road trip this year did so to meet friends and family safely or simply as a safe way to travel.
According to AAA, 97 percent of all trips in the United States this summer will be by car (683 million out of 707 million total trips). It is reflected in search behavior, as searches for road trip vehicles and accessories have increased globally.
Also, it includes “rv for sale” (up more than 80% year on year), “camper vans” (up to over 90% year on year), and “rack for car” (up more than 90% year on year) (over 200 percent year over year). Even Google Maps searches for “open gas station” have increased by more than 1000 percent year over year, indicating that the open road may
be the hottest vacation spot in 2020.
Travel Habits Shifting:
With consumer travel habits shifting, marketers must pay attention to new signals and remain agile.
- Increase the scope of your search. Align with shifting demand patterns by broadening search coverage to include popular activities and destinations. Use automation tools to help capture unexpectedly rising queries.
- Bid strategically and confidently. Bid higher and more aggressively in areas of higher demand (for example, vacation rentals, road trips, and national parks). Bid lower in areas with declining/low demand (such as major cities and densely populated regions) reduces cancellations.
- Diversify your messaging and creativity. Change your creative and messaging to reflect the shift in traveler intent toward “local,” “near me,” and “socially distant.” Highlight segments of your business that are currently in high demand, such as convenient roadside accommodations or campsite rentals, to ensure your brand is current.
- People are adjusting to a world in which everything we do and how we do it has changed. That also includes travel. We’re still going places; it might just look a little different for a while.
Purchases of Travel Insurance for Covid-19:
Almost 35% of all purchases for summer vacations include the Covid-19 filter, which only displays policies with Coronavirus Cancellation or Coronavirus Medical benefits. Well, nearly 27% of assets have the Cancel for Any Reason upgrade, up from 19% in 2020.
Before the pandemic, this figure was usually around 8%. Cancel for Any Reason is an optional upgrade that partially reimburses travelers who cancel for reasons not covered by their policy, such as fear of flying due to Covid-19. This benefit is only available for 10-21 days after the traveler makes their initial trip payment, and it can reimburse up to 75% of their prepaid and non-refundable trip expenses.