There has never been a more challenging time to be in the business and marketing of travel and tourism. In the wake of COVID-19, how can travel brands and destinations alike rethink their strategies on attracting customers? Our Global
CCO, George Bryant and former Director of Visit Iceland, Inga Hlin Palsdottir discuss with WARC.
Here are our key takeaways, or for the full article on WARC please click here.
Rethinking the purpose of travel
In all other areas of consumer life, we have since seen the rise of purpose branding – of buying into something, not just buying it. In a recent study, Forbes reports that people are four to six times more likely to purchase, protect and champion companies they perceive to be purpose-driven. Within the tourism sector, 69% of those surveyed by Booking.com now expect the travel industry to have more sustainable travel options. By rethinking about travel brands in this way, there are real opportunities to rebuild and revitalise the sector.
As the industry becomes increasingly aware of the need to provide more responsible travel, we are moving beyond sustainability to what the European Travel Commission has termed, ‘Regenerative tourism’.
Sustainable tourism aimed to minimise the negative impacts on the environment, society and economy by focusing mainly on the tourism sector. Regenerative tourism goes further, situating tourism in a wider eco system. It aims to rejuvenate, nourish and bring benefits to the environment as well as individuals and communities.
The empathy revolution
A recent study by the European Travel Commission (ETC) concludes that ‘travel’s new cadence is more deliberate, introspective and soulful’. Over 60% of respondents said they would choose an app or website that recommends itineraries with a more positive impact on local culture.
The eternal tourist
Over the past 18 months a more hybrid and nomadic work culture has emerged. This has immediate and long- term consequences for the travel sector. Travel expert Matthew Parsons at Skift notes, “This work from anywhere movement spurs
a new type of business traveller.”
Similarly, ETC predicts, “By 2025, a new breed of tour operator will have emerged, building exclusive retreats in remote destinations for organisations that would leverage them in the battle to land the best talent. These offsite program perks become everything for a talent pool that reaches every corner of the planet.”
The Netflix of travel
The subscription model has become a staple of contemporary life. From Netflix shows to Amazon deliveries, we are a generation of subscribers. Lately this model has branched into almost every part of our lives, with Pret coffee subscriptions, Masterclass modules on demand and personalised Peloton classes leaving all our desires fully catered-for, surely travel is ripe for this service?
As the FT recently observed, “We shouldn’t go back to before, when before wasn’t working anyway.”
We’re at a crossroads in global tourism. There are immense opportunities to rethink and reinvent a more purpose-driven travel. But the work requires ambitious marketers, innovative stakeholder partnerships and a new generation of long term, connected tourism creative platforms.