Optimism, excitement and recovery talks are ramping up for the tourism industry. The desire to travel and experience something new or visit friends and relatives are high on our list of priorities. So what is the road ahead for travel in Australia and New Zealand and what does that mean for your business? Two words, be ready.
Lockdowns throughout Australia and New Zealand have created a pent-up travel demand, with a desire to travel the same or more than pre-pandemic times.
Google search statistics show a positive trend with Australia’s domestic travel demand for October finishing higher than in 2020. Siteminder reported that October 2021 bookings accounted for 122% of the 2020 reservations and 74% of 2019 reservations.
Despite lockdowns in Auckland and a dive in search during August, there has been a gradual increase in travel demand for New Zealand with 69% intending to take a holiday in the next 12 months. There is also a growing desire to reopen the New Zealand borders to either all international travellers or those from low-risk countries.
Are we starting to see ‘travel revenge’ as a result of pent-up travel demand? With the dynamic traveller connected to the digital world 24/7 with an endless supply of goods and services at their fingertips, your technology platforms are a crucial ally.
Your website is a critical tool in the five stages of the path to purchase for travel. With guests more likely to book directly, your website needs to showcase your product and drive direct bookings to increase revenue. 75% of people who visit your website make judgments of credibility based on the usability and appearance of your site, with 38% of people exiting if they find the content or layout unattractive. Your website needs to be user-friendly (importantly mobile friendly), simple to book and safe.
Attract guests in the dreaming stage with stand-out images and engaging content and ensure your site has a great user experience to keep visitors engaged. Only 12% of Australians trust accommodation providers with their data and payment details, so working to ensure a safe and secure payment process is essential. As a result of the pandemic, free cancellation or flexible booking policies are important for travellers, so draw attention to your policies and make sure they are clear.
Ensure you consider investing in your website to make it more user-friendly, beautifully designed, modern, trustworthy and with a quick and simple payment process to keep ahead of the competition.
Email Marketing is the perfect opportunity to communicate directly with your guests in a convenient, timely and affordable way. It’s a great source of revenue with Hubspot reporting that email marketing generated $42 for every $1 spent, which is a return on investment (ROI) of 4,200%.
Prepare a clear and concise eDM strategy, build a healthy subscriber list, create emails that are visually engaging with strong calls to action (CTA), and personalise your emails. Use your emails to drive more revenue with pre-stay emails to upsell packages, dining options or upgrades. Bucket list items are a top reason for travelling, so use your email marketing platform (or social) to highlight your close proximity to landmarks or popular locations with meaningful packages or inspirational content. Post-stay emails are a great way to check-in and seek guest’s reviews and create loyalty.
With so many people attached to their devices and making last-minute bookings, social media influences travellers at all stages of the path to purchase. A small survey conducted in the US showed that 80% of Americans' agree that social media influences their travel plans. Use your social media platforms to ensure you have a strong presence in the marketplace and influence travellers to book directly with you. User-generated content provides an opportunity to use meaningful content whilst engaging with the photographer, or when you post the images on your page. Create a clear and cohesive social media strategy and content calendar. Planning ahead will save you time in the long run while ensuring you have maximised the use of multiple channels and effectively engaged with your audience.
COVID-19 has impacted the travel industry dramatically, but there is a growing sense of excitement in the air along with a growing number of planes in the air. With ‘travel revenge’ on our minds and so much pent-up travel demand, the industry is displaying signs of improvement. If you haven’t already, it’s time to ensure you’re ready for the new post-pandemic traveller. If you need any help with your digital marketing or digital platforms, the team at Fastrack Digital can help you.