1. Set your growth expectations
2019 was a boom year for most travel businesses with huge numbers of bookings. This only made the impact of COVID-19 hit this sector even harder.
Whether the last 2 years impacted your business positively or negatively, we are encouraging everyone to avoid YoY comparisons and compare this year to 2019 for a more accurate expectation and reflection on growth.
The next two years will bring a recovery boom for most travel businesses, so setting the right expectations around demand and supply would be vital in order for businesses to gain a competitive advantage.
Most eCommerce customers probably wish what they knew now, the impact of COVID-19 presented a once in a lifetime opportunity for growth. Ecom business owners who decreased their marketing spend during this time are probably pulling their hair out as things have definitely slowed down since the start of the year. Of course, we can appreciate that there are many factors at play and that it is not always possible to supply the demand in the market – but the key takeaway is that – try be fast and flexible during a boom period as this is when you can gain competitive advantage by acquiring new customers.
2. Demand is high, so should I decrease my marketing budget?
In 2022, demand for travel is surging and absolutely huge, which will raise the question – should I even be spending money on marketing?
With demand already there – it seems likely that businesses would switch focus to efficiency by decreasing budgets on channels that drive brand discovery (TV, Radio, Print, OOH) and bidding more aggressively on conversion-driving channels that drive direct bookings like PPC and paid social.
This makes absolute business sense, however, when demand is high and customers are organically looking for a service or product it presents an immense opportunity for brand discovery and new customer acquisition. Therefore, we would advise businesses who are eager for growth to think twice about decreasing their marketing spend, use this opportunity to find new customers. That said, if you do, have an email marketing strategy in place to retain and nurture these customers in the long-run.
This is also the ideal time to experiment with newer channels like TikTok and Youtube to find cheaper traffic sources. Ryanair has set the perfect example of a legacy brand who adapted their brand image to speak to a new younger demographic, they have been leading the way on TikTok, see examples of their posts here. Airbnb has also been challenging the norm with their ‘Made possible by Hosts’ campaign. For a long-time travel has been all about showcasing images of perfect exotic locations – white sandy beaches, mountain ranges and cities from afar.
However, Airbnb decided to change things up by creating ads with user generated content (UGC) and distributing it through Youtube and TV ads. It feels both relatable and way more inspiring – have a look for yourself here. Utilising TikTok and UGC is a great way to drive more reach and traffic at a much lower cost.
3. Summer 2023 is already an opportunity
As shown in the graph below – traffic for terms like ‘Skyscanner’ and ‘flights’ have been growing steadily as we approach summer 2022. Airfares are very expensive due to low supply and the high demand as well as increasing fuel prices. This will push customers to start browsing for holidays earlier than ever. If you as a business is in a position to push promotions for next year, then you will benefit from overall increase in bookings.
4. Travel need to put consumer confidence front, right and centre
With all the back and forth around travel restrictions, cancellations and staff shortage – consumer confidence is low. Most companies might consider prioritising revenue in the short-term above refunding customers however this will hurt the business in the long run.
One example is Jet2, they were widely praised in the press for prioritising customers with refunds and rebooking with ease. Below are some examples of how they call out these USPs on their booking page and as an effect instil consumer confidence.
5. Customers will feel the squeeze with rising costs so offer competitive payment plans
User behaviour will change as costs of services increase and disposable income decreases. Due to the lack of travel, most people will still prioritise travel above buying goods – however payment plans will help ease the impact of rising costs.
BONUS: Insights from Travel Industry Expert
Gareth Ilbery has over 10 years experience working in the travel industry. In this video he shares his top tips on how Push has helped its travel customers to market their businesses in a post pandemic world and more…
If you like what you’ve read and would like our help to growing your travel business, please get in touch with us today.