Commentary

Travel Brands Prepare To Welcome Stir-Crazy Consumers

As the pandemic drags on, at some point consumers might find themselves doing a risk vs. benefit analysis regarding taking a trip somewhere.  

Travel brands are counting on this and have started to plan accordingly, not surprisingly with a huge emphasis on safety measures.

As ski season approaches, the Utah Office of Tourism is planning to launch its winter campaign. Utah is doing better than many other tourist destination but notwithstanding, COVID has humbled its strategists. And so their plans to drive traffic during the upcoming winter season have been significantly impacted, both in terms of messaging and media.  

For example, digital -- which has always been a key driver -- is now going to receive even more attention.  As such, the Utah site is being updated, digital media support is being increased, and new creative and digital agency partners have been brought on board -- all with the goal to "future-proof" the brand.

The pandemic has "completely reset the world of travel and awakened our sense of personal responsibility to one another," says Vicki Varela, managing director in the Office of Tourism and Film, Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development.

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"There is an opportunity to build on this sense of stewardship," Varela tells Marketing Daily.  

The revamped website, from Hanson Dodge, aims to encourage "well-prepared year-round visitation, focusing on the quality of visits rather than the quantity of visitors, getting customers responsibly off the beaten path and helping communities that want to attract more tourists develop their destinations," she says.

The website touts “small but mighty ways” to keep safe while traveling. “It’s not easy making the decision to travel, or knowing how to approach travel during this time period,” the site acknowledges. “What we do know is small but mighty actions make all the difference as we work together to control the spread of coronavirus... We also know nature has immense power to heal and rejuvenate.”

Hilton is also hoping consumers are ready to hear some new travel-related messages. 

As the world begins to shift from dreaming to planning and even travel again, Hilton is debuting a global campaign, “To New Memories.”

The video content depicts a series of reconnection moments consumers have been missing. Actors throughout are wearing masks, signifying the "new normal." The U.S. creative originally debuted on social media over the summer, followed by television commercials and online videos airing now.  

According to a new study conducted on behalf of Hilton, Americans say travel is their most frequently recalled happy memory, more than special occasions or personal achievements, and the majority cite creating lasting memories as a primary motive for trips.

All this staying at home leads 90% of survey respondents to believe the nation is facing a “travel memory deficit” that will have long-lasting impact, including greater stress and missed opportunity for special moments with loved ones.

Given this mindset, 94% of Americans surveyed are planning to travel again. Two-thirds vow to quit putting off taking trips and make their dream vacations a reality. And almost two-thirds (63%) of those looking to travel again will choose more relaxing travel over adventure travel.

Hilton is ready to welcome guests back with all the assurances they need, including cleanliness and flexibility, says Danny Hughes, executive vice president and president, Americas, Hilton.

The survey was conducted by Kelton Global online among 2,030 Americans aged 18 and older in the United States from Sept. 7-14 and has a margin of error of 2.2%.

Also anticipating of a return to travel, Brand USA kicked off a four-day virtual event Monday to discuss the trends and scope to grow visitation to the United States from Europe.

Christopher L. Thompson, Brand USA president and CEO and Arne Sorenson, Marriott International president and CEO, had a keynote conversation about the challenges the tourism industry is facing, the opportunities the coming months and years may bring, and the steps they are taking within their business to address these issues. 

Still, at this point, it’s basically just talk, since international borders continue to be closed both in and out of the United States. But hope springs eternal, and it never hurts to be prepared -- and, in the case of the itching-to-hit-the-road traveler, have that suitcase at the ready. 


1 comment about "Travel Brands Prepare To Welcome Stir-Crazy Consumers".
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  1. Ronald Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, October 27, 2020 at 1:55 p.m.

    I wonder if current promotional campaigns by travel companies are a waste of money, encouraged by staff with little else to do. When the opportunity to travel becomes clear, consumers will be scrambling to make reservations and escape their lock up.   

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