2016 Holiday Travel Trends and Tactics
The winter holidays herald in one of the most-traveled times of the year. According to USA Today, the 10- to 17-day holiday period in December and January causes a 23% traveling spike compared to the rest of the year, so attracting these travelers is key. To help, we’ve put together a list of trends that have emerged or grown over the course of 2016 that every travel brand should keep in mind this holiday season.
The Rise of the Staycation
Travel during the holidays often is marked with either visiting or hosting friends and family – meaning that while your brand will continue to want to target new travelers, you’ll also want to keep in mind locals. Plus, in general, the idea of a “staycation” has grown in popularity, with more and more travelers seeking out local or nearby attractions that they can experience in a day or weekend.
The trick for local travel brands is providing locals with new experiences that differ from what they’re able to experience in their day-to-day. Develop materials and contact lists specific to locals to show the value of a day trip or staycation at your destination or attraction. When it comes to targeting locals, consider offering locals-only discounts or deals.
It’s important to know who your guests are outside of just their name and credit card details because the better you know your customers, the better you can serve them. While still early, personalization in travel will swiftly becoming less of a nice-to-have and more expected by travelers and a key differentiator. Some ways to personalize include customer behaviors, social media actions and relationships, geo-location and demographic profiling.
For this holiday season, one simple (and free) way to identify guests is to track social creations – see who’s posting and when about your brand, manually decipher whose posts are the most engaging, and socially interact with those creators to offer tips or special offers. This is not exactly the most scalable way to tap into personalization, but it offers a good first step and will acquaint your team with the needs and benefits of doing a bigger push.
Travel customer relationships are often short-lived. The consumer makes their purchase, and then you never hear from them again. More and more travel brands – from booking websites to attractions – are developing ways to keep and maintain longer relationships by fostering communities. Some have created forums for people to connect and get advice. This is especially helpful in the travel sphere where people are constantly seeking tips from other explorers. And of course many brands are taking to social media to continue conversations through interaction.