Like the rest of the world, you’ve likely spent the last two years dreaming about travel — maybe a small weekend getaway in a charming city nearby or a month-long tour around Europe. Whatever the trip you had in mind, it doesn’t matter — because travel has been on hold since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020.
With lockdown measures in place and new rules that made international travel all but impossible, many industries around the world suffered greatly. Hotels, air transportation, travel agencies, amusement parks, and more felt the impact.
But with vaccination rates on the rise and the severity of reported cases on the decline, many consumers are getting excited to travel again. And you know what? They’re going to travel even harder than they did before — longer, more frequent, more expensive trips are in the cards.
And many have dubbed this phenomenon “Covid-19 revenge travel” — in an effort to make up for precious time lost and get revenge on the pandemic, consumers are expressing their desires and plan to travel more than they previously had.
But is “revenge travel” an anecdotal whim buzzing around social media or a real trend backed up by data? Let’s take a deeper look and discuss three ways your brand can attract so-called “revenge travelers” in 2022 and beyond.
What is “Revenge Travel”?
As explained above, “revenge travel” is the act of traveling more frequently than before in an effort to make up for lost time. Essentially, to somehow get revenge on the Covid-19 pandemic that forced us all to stay home for more than two years, consumers plan to go on more trips and spend more money (they were saving it up, after all).
While it may sound like a somewhat humorous concept, the industries and brands that were negatively impacted by the stand-still in travel take it very seriously — as it means the chance for these struggling companies to finally bounce back.
But which industries were most affected by the pandemic travel restrictions and, subsequently, will benefit from the “revenge travel” trend? Let’s take a look.
Which Industries Will Feel Revenge Travel’s Impact The Most?
Unsurprisingly, the lack of travel over the past two years affected some industries more than others. While digital, tech-focused brands — like Zoom or DoorDash — flourished, brands with a significant offline angle got the short end of the stick.
Hotels, motels, air transport, campgrounds, theme parks, movie theaters, live sports, cruises… the list goes on. And what do many of these aforementioned industries have in common? They’re quite dependent on travel.
If no one is able to travel — nationally or internationally — who’s staying in hotels, motels, or campgrounds? Who’s visiting theme parks, movie theatres, or live sporting events? Who’s going on a cruise?
The answer shouldn’t be surprising — it’s no one.
But, with restrictions being lifted all over the world, consumers are sharing their plans to travel again — which means these same industries are in for a boom. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, travel spending saw a huge dip in recent years — but is coming “roaring” back post-pandemic.
Source: The Washington Post
Jay Shapiro, the owner of a high-end U.S. travel agency, told The Washington Post that:
“Customers are also spending considerably more after having been cooped up for the winter, (...) And for the wealthiest, couples who may have budgeted $25,000 on a luxury vacation before the pandemic are suddenly willing to spend three or four times that, he said. A $150,000 family vacation to South Africa is no longer out of the question for some. And many summer cruises to Europe are already sold out.”
But according to Aneta Markowska, the Chief Economist at Jefferies, it’s “not just the wealthy” that have the cash to spend on “revenge travel” in 2022 — “it’s 80% of the population.” Furthermore, Wells Fargo reported that American consumers “set aside roughly $4.2 trillion in extra savings during the pandemic” — that’s quite a bit of money.
Clearly, consumers around the world have cash to burn and they’re hoping to spend a good chunk of it on travel. This will impact industries traditionally associated with travel — hotels, air transport, and more — but will also impact other sectors, such as restaurants, entertainment spots, transportation, etc.
But how can your brand attract these “revenge travelers”? Let’s discuss.
How Can Your Brand Attract Revenge Travelers?
While consumers may now have a healthy appetite for travel, that doesn’t mean they’ve completely forgotten about the past two years.
Jobs were lost, people’s physical and mental health suffered, and many even lost family or friends. Therefore, if you want to attract consumers to your brand, you need to understand where their priorities lie in 2022 — and trust us, they’re not the same as they were in 2019.
With consumers now taking a more intentional approach to making purchase decisions, here are a few tips you should consider when looking to draw them in effectively and responsibly.
1. Make Your Health & Safety Plan Well-Known
Many countries have lifted their more stringent Covid restrictions — which means individual brands now have a chance to step up and show consumers that their health & safety is a top priority, not just a requirement.
To do so, make sure you:
Have an extensive health & safety plan
Share out said plan wherever you can
Post about it on social media, create a landing page on your website dedicated to it, and add a footer to all your emails that outlines its main points and links to a downloadable PDF pamphlet. There are plenty of ways you can let consumers know that you’re taking care of them when they choose your brand.
Although the desire to travel is there, understandably, many consumers are still a bit nervous about it. Your job is to show them that your values align and that their comfort, safety, and health are at the top of your list.
2. Consider Supporting Sustainable Travel Initiatives
As we mentioned earlier, consumers’ priorities are not static. Many people spent the last two years assessing their lives, values, and beliefs — and with that reassessment came a growing interest in sustainable travel.
While travel is beneficial in many ways, it also has its drawbacks. For example, consider Ko Phi Phi in Thailand — which became “an infamous symbol of the negative effects of unsustainable travel.” Tourists damaged local wildlife and plants, destroyed coral, and left behind huge amounts of plastic and waste.
While the tourists probably had a great time, the locals were left to deal with the consequences of this irresponsible and unsustainable travel. But over the last two years, many consumers have changed their tune.
According to research from Expedia, “nearly three in five travelers are willing to pay more fees to make a trip sustainable. And about half will choose a less crowded destination to reduce effects of overtourism.”
With 60% of travelers now willing to spend more to make trips sustainable, your brand would be smart to get on board with this growing trend sooner rather than later. Whether you’re a hotel, airline, travel agency, or restaurant — there are plenty of ways that you can support sustainable travel initiatives.
By showing consumers that your values align with theirs, you’ll be able to connect on a deep level with this important, growing target audience: sustainably-minded consumers.
3. Use Consumer Insight Data To Meet Your Target Audiences’ Needs
At the end of the day, you won’t know what it is your target audience wants without asking them. Sure, you can look to overall trends and market research — but to understand what your specific audiences are looking for in 2022 and beyond, you need access to consumer insight data.
That’s where brand monitoring software comes in. With the ability to track standard KPIs like brand awareness, consideration, and preference, you’ll know how your target audience feels about your brand — Do they know who you are? Would they consider using your brand? Do they prefer your brand to the competition?
But, add in KPIs like brand understanding, brand associations, or purchase drivers and you’ll have access to data that will allow you to truly understand what your target audience is looking for — what drives them to make a purchase in your category, what characteristics they associate your brand with, and more.
To gain new customers, increase revenue, and connect on a deeper level with your target audience in 2022, you’ll need to know what they want — what they like, dislike, and need. With brand tracking data on hand, you’ll be much better prepared to attract the coming wave of “revenge travelers”.
Whether consumers are specifically “revenge traveling” or not, travel and tourism overall have been gradually increasing over the past year — and is forecast by the World Travel & Tourism Council to reach pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
So, if you believe your brand could benefit from “revenge travel” in any way, consider our above tips and make sure to keep your finger on the pulse of travel trends. Things change quickly in this industry, so to be successful, you’ll need to stay alert and use consumer data wisely.