Traveling Over The Holidays: What Do Travelers Want?

December 10, 2020
Lucas Ennis
6 min read

Now that the holidays are upon us and signs of a vaccine are on the horizon, travel companies are slowly receiving more incoming inquiries.

If you have adapted your business offering to cater to the resilient traveler who is eager to be out on the road and traveling over the holidays, you might be planning to reach out to them with details of your new products.

At WeTravel, we are ready to help travel companies and tour operators move forward with a clearer plan of action around selling in the current climate. So, we have laid out some important considerations to keep on your radar, including the answers to:

  • Who is the resilient traveler packing their bags for the holidays at the moment?
  • Where are these eager trailblazers likely to be visiting?
  • What do they expect from a COVID-aware trip experience?
  • How do you reach them with your marketing message?

Traveling Over The Holidays

Current Stats On Who Is Traveling

The Travel Leaders Group, in partnership with the World Travel & Tourism Council, recently released results of a study they conducted in September on 3,000 frequent travelers. Here are the key takeaways from it:

  • Americans and Canadians were most eager to travel again – 99% intend to do so
  • 45% had already made plans or were in the process of making plans for their next holiday
  • 23% planned to travel by the end of 2020
  • 70% will travel in 2021
  • Only 18% planned to wait it out until 2022

Iterating sentiments above are findings from the latest Travel Horizons survey that was conducted by MMGY Global. Some interesting stats from this one include:

  • 31% of respondents plan on traveling for the December holidays
  • 15% for the New Year celebrations

Who Are The Resilient Travelers?

If you plan on marketing your products to sell spots in the immediate or near term, you need to identify who is willing to pack their bags at the moment. As always, you need to get to know your ideal customer and speak their language in your marketing message.

Whether they plan on traveling over the holidays in the next few days, weeks, or months, the current reality of travel isn’t likely to change drastically for the time being. Even though the vaccine roll-out is imminent, it will be a while before global distribution has taken place and leisure travel resumes to its previous levels.

Who Is Booking Travel In December

Travelers Booking Now Will Be Ok With An Elevated Level Of Risk

The travelers who book trips that fall into the holidays or upcoming months are going to be ok with an elevated level of risk.

That said, they will want to know what you are doing as the tour operator or travel company to protect them.

They Could Be Your Existing Customers

Research shows that acquiring new customers can cost up to five times more than retaining existing ones. At a time when businesses are looking to get back on their feet and be conscious of their spending, this is useful information.

Retaining customers can add to your profitability as well. According to this report, if you can improve customer retention by 5%, you can shoot up your profitability by 25%.

Loyal customers are not only willing to spend up to 67% more than new ones, but they are also your brand ambassadors and willing to refer their family and friends to your travel business.

Who better to market your offering to as we come out of COVID-19 than travelers who already know and believe in your brand?

They Are Likely To Be Smaller, Possibly Family, Units

With social distancing top of everyone’s mind coming out of COVID, it is no surprise to hear that smaller group trips will be more popular when traveling over the holidays and beyond.

According to the travel weekly article, tour operators will include the services of a dedicated tour director, private transportation, and private guides in their new limited capacity offerings.

Small Travel Tours

They Could Be The Younger Generations

The MMGY survey found that millennials were leading the pack for travel, with 43% planning a trip in December.

This was followed by 26% of Gen-X, 19% of younger Baby Boomers, and just 8% of the older Boomers.

Where Are They Booking Trips To?

Again to the MMGY survey: 88% of travelers plan to keep their trips domestic within the United States. Only 20% indicated that they would be traveling overseas.

According to this article in Travel Pulse, trend insights showed that Americans who plan on traveling over the holidays have warm-weather destinations such as Mexico and various Caribbean locales at the top of their list.

Of course, destinations where no isolation period is required are much more attractive.

Domestically, Las Vegas and Nevada head up the Travel Pulse list. Honolulu, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco also made the cut.

The Travel Leaders Group study suggested that anywhere uncrowded, outdoor, and on the beach would top the list for travelers.

What Do Travelers Want From You As A Tour Operator?

Before the vaccine is widely available, travelers will be looking to you to see if you offer the following:

  1. They will want to know that you have put the necessary hygiene measures in place for your tours, including sanitization, temperature checks, social distancing, PPE, and so on.
  2. As much as possible, you need to offer a contactless experience. From check in to payments, travelers will want to avoid putting themselves at unnecessary risk by touching surfaces.
  3. Having a flexible booking policy with clear cut terms and conditions, as well as comprehensive insurance, will work to your advantage.

Are you advertising all of these points boldly on your website and online channels?

What Do Travelers Want

Targeting Your Marketing Messaging

Phocuswire published an interesting article with insights from various travel providers on how to reach each generation when marketing travel post-COVID-19.

Although this a general lens to look through, the insights can help to provide general starting points and guidelines for marketing.

The Silent Generation (1925-1942)

People born in this era value family and will likely go on safe adventures and visit their loved ones.

Marketing to them could focus on promoting the family unit. Don’t forget to display your branded safety accolades!

Baby Boomers (1943 – 1960)

This generation wants new experiences that lead to self-discovery. They also value special treatment.

To attract Baby Boomers, you could consider offering a free airport pickup or breakfast. Tailoring travel to this generation and offering customizations could land you a customer.

Gen-X (1961 – 1981)

According to Phocuswire, this generation is into the details. They like a focus on health and wellness and pay attention to your online presence.

Show the healthy aspects in your offerings, and put a great website in front of this generation to get their interest.

Millennials (1982 – 2000)

Millennials Traveling First

This generation considers themselves to be less at risk from COVID than the older ones. They will likely be the people traveling over the holidays and planning bigger trips for the near future.

It’s millennials’ chance to see the world and avoid the large crowds. Your marketing should appeal to the fun-loving, younger adventurers.

Gen-Z (2001 – 2019)

Gen-Z’s parents take an active role in decisions involving them. The generation resists blatant sales messages and is consumer-savvy.

Marketing messaging for them should build trust and be hassle-free.

Final Thoughts

While we can expect to see people traveling over the holidays, be mindful of who they are and the sort of experience that appeals to them. Getting your ducks in a row and reaching them with the right marketing message means that you can start filling spaces on your travel offerings.

From us to you, happy holidays and safe travels!