By Karen Axelton
Is your small business involved in the travel industry? Then there’s good news ahead: A new study, the MMGY Global/Harrison Group 2012 Portrait of American Travelers, found that despite continuing economic uncertainty, Americans are recommitting to the importance of travel and willing to spend money for the emotional experience that only travel can bring.
The study, reported in Travel Daily News, found cost-saving behaviors such as “trading down” and “staycations” are declining. Instead, Americans are interested in high-quality travel experiences that they deem worth the cost. If you’re marketing travel or travel-related products and services, here’s what you need to know:
Make the emotional connection. More than 90 percent of travelers surveyed agree,”The memories I get from my vacations make the trip worth it.” Three-fourths agree, “Taking a vacation is the event I most look forward to each year.” Top goals vacationers have for their trips are to see the world and spend more time with family and friends. Make sure your marketing emphasizes the emotional rewards of travel.
Focus on family. Family getaways have grown in importance compared to last year’s survey. In addition, more travel now involves multiple generations—37 percent of grandparents say they took at least one vacation with grandchildren in the past 12 months, up from 32 percent who did so in the prior survey. Emphasize ways that travel can strengthen family connections, and you’re likely to win consumers’ hearts (and wallets).
Remind them they’re worth it. Travelers are showing greater interest in upscale hotels, convenience, and full service compared to last year. In addition, travelers in all income groups value “quality” over “savings.” Travelers were more likely to say they choose their destination and type of trip first, then set a budget and look for deals, instead of basing their selections solely on cost. That doesn’t mean travelers want to waste money, however; be prepared to show them why what you offer is worth the cost.
Market with mobile. The percentage of travelers going online via tablet computer increased nearly fourfold, to 27 percent, compared to last year’s survey. Travelers use tablets more frequently to research prices, make airline and hotel reservations, or buy tickets to attractions and activities. They’re more likely to use smartphones for finding nearby restaurants and retailers, navigating and getting directions or using check-in features or apps. Make sure your travel-related information, products or services can be accessed in the mobile format that makes the most sense.
Reflect their optimism. Travel is fun, and U.S. travelers surveyed are ready for fun—they’re showing more optimism than they have in the past few years. More travelers say they are extremely/very optimistic about “their own future,” “the future of their children,” “their jobs,” “their companies” and “the world in general.” Tap into their pent-up desire for travel with positive images and copy in your marketing.
Image by Flickr user katerha (Creative Commons)Google+