Half of travelers are interested in seeing travel advertising that is related to a company or destination's response to the pandemic, while the other half are more adamant that any travel advertising is insensitive due to restrictions, according to new research from ad agency BVK tracking COVID-19 attitudes and behaviors.
These dueling sentiments illustrate the challenges for brands and advertisers in the category, and BVK recommends against advertisers going “completely dark” as they will risk losing relevancy in a time when people are actively researching, thinking and dreaming about travel once the health crisis is past.
That said brands should be thoughtful and strategic in messaging and approach “in order to strike a balance between acknowledging the present and driving inspiration for the future,” says Victoria Simmons, a senior vice president at the agency. “Competition will be fierce once travel can safely resume. With regard for the appropriate tone, use the time now to take advantage of decreased rates, particularly in paid social where the average CPM is its lowest in two years."
Other findings from the research indicate Americans are experiencing cabin fever. Eight in 10 are either planning a future trip, thinking about future travel opportunities or dreaming about travel. However, these would-be post-pandemic travelers are most interested in less populated vacations such as road trips, beaches, outdoor adventures and remote or rural getaways.
The research reports a 10% decrease (compared to earlier findings) in the desire for family getaways, perhaps because families are already spending so much time together.
The majority of travelers (60%) expect U.S. travel restrictions to be lifted this summer, though only 4 in 10 say they will begin traveling again during these months. In fact, there is a 10% increase in respondents indicating it will take a “few months or more” to resume normal travel behaviors. Travelers are concerned about their safety.
While U.S. travelers are split on whether various entities within the travel industry responded appropriately to COVID-19 or not, they are most critical of the cruise industry’s response - as 45% felt the cruise industry had capability to reduce the spread of COVID-19 but responded poorly.
The agency surveyed 505 U.S. travelers to understand how COVID-19 is impacting their desires and decisions about travel.