Top 7 Travel Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2023
Are you looking to give your destination an edge as you plan your 2023 marketing strategy? As we see travel match and surpass pre-pandemic levels, new trends are emerging that your destination can take advantage of to draw in new and repeat visitors. While the travel industry has rebounded from the pandemic, it has also vastly changed because of it. Keep reading for the latest travel trends that should inform your destination’s approach to appealing to a new era of travelers.
“Bleisure” Travel is on the Rise
As we emerge from the travel limitations put in place during the pandemic, we’re seeing that business travel has made almost a full recovery, with 78% of travel managers predicting their company will arrange far more business trips in 2023 compared to 2022. As business travel makes a comeback, a new trend has taken hold — “bleisure” travel. Bleisure travel refers to when employees add time to their business trips to make the most of their time away from home and explore the area they were sent to for work.
This trend coincides with another, coined as “revenge” travel, where workers try to make up for lost traveling time during the pandemic by getting out of the house to enjoy the lessened restrictions. As the U.S. workforce becomes more and more remote and employees have more flexibility, we predict that this blending of business and leisure will become the default. Destinations can capitalize on this by recognizing this emerging audience in their advertising and showcasing features that will make it easier for travelers to work remotely, such as high-speed internet and business lounges.
Travelers Looking for Long-Term Trips
With the rise of companies allowing remote work, employees can take their work on the road and truly immerse themselves in a new place, culture and lifestyle. This trend goes hand-in-hand with the rise in bleisure travel, as both are made possible by flexible work-from-home policies that were widely put into place because of the pandemic.
The idea of working not just remotely, but from a completely different location altogether is being referred to as “digital nomadism” or “hush” trips, as many employees will move the location of their home office without ever telling their supervisors. While we would never encourage dishonesty in the workplace, destinations have a unique opportunity to reach these travelers by advertising discounts and special deals for extended stays and highlighting all the amenities ready for them as soon as they log off for the day.
Everyone Wants to Feel Like a Local
Part of the appeal of the aforementioned extended trips is that visitors get the opportunity to live like a local for a while — a trend that is seen across trips of all lengths and destinations. In fact, Forbes found that 90% of survey respondents were looking to experience a destination “like a local” and many Millennial respondents worried they weren’t getting an authentic experience on their trips.
One of the best ways to make visitors feel like they’re seeing the local side of a destination? Involve the locals! In fact, our agency recently crafted a campaign for our client, Orlando North, Seminole County to help their visitors “Do Orlando North” like a local by teaming up with local influencers and featuring their handcrafted itineraries for travelers to follow. These influencers range from foodies to outdoor adventurers, so no matter what experience travelers are looking for, there is an itinerary to match their ideal trip.
“Flight-light” Travel is Trending
Environmentally conscious travel is no longer a niche market saved for the affluent traveler, instead it’s become the expected standard. As travelers prioritize exploring like a local, they’re also prioritizing protecting the integrity of the location they’re visiting.
A recent survey said that 70% of asked travelers reported that traveling sustainably enhances their experience. Even outside of the tourism industry, we’ve seen major business conglomerates make the switch to eco-friendly practices and products as consumers strive to make responsible spending decisions.
If your destination already has environmentally-minded practices in place, we recommend showcasing these features and creating messaging that reinforces your commitment to maintaining your surrounding environment. Additionally, as people search for locations that are reachable by car versus plane, you can market your destination to those in nearby cities and states as an ethical choice for road trippers to enjoy.
Travelers are in Search of Lesser-Known Locales
With travelers on a treasure hunt for hidden gems, your destination can be the “x” that marks the spot. With lesser-known locales rising in popularity, people are ditching cliched vacation spots and looking for the road less traveled — this gives smaller locations the opportunity to capitalize on UGC (User-Generated Content) as part of their destination marketing strategy, market themselves as a unique substitute for popular destinations.
For example, rather than visiting Miami Beach for spring break, a small beach town could encourage tourism by pushing themselves as a location that offers less crowded beaches, more affordable stays, and unique experiences that can’t be found elsewhere. Audiences are looking for something a little less mainstream with 70% of Millennials and Gen Zs saying they want to visit somewhere their inner circles have never even heard of.
Solo Travel Is Becoming Mainstream
What once seemed scary is now becoming the norm as more and more people are taking off on new adventures on their own and destinations are seeing more solo travelers than ever before. While this mode of travel used to be reserved for singles, people of all walks of life have found value in hitting the road for themselves and exploring the world around them.
Ways that destinations can effectively reach this market is to advertise competitive rates, be transparent about safety measures and the property, organize community gatherings, and market opportunities for travelers to easily dive into local activities.
Consumers are Expecting Live Entertainment
As consumers look for one-of-a-kind experiences, they are also prioritizing live entertainment after a long period of having to avoid crowds on vacations. Many Millennial and Gen Z travelers will plan a trip around a ticketed event and have multiple trips planned for the year.
Recently, our team has helped promote an event close to home — Celebrate! Lake Mary, a celebration in honor of Lake Mary’s 50th anniversary. One of the features of this celebration is a lineup of tribute bands that will not just set the soundtrack to the three-day event, but be a main attraction.
You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
Your location is skilled at providing travelers with tailored experiences that impress, but you may need a little extra help getting these potential customers through the door. If you want to learn more about emerging travel trends and how you can implement them into your digital strategy, get in touch with our team today and we’ll help you take your destination to the next level.