The 2023 Travel Trends Content Marketers Should Know
It’s been a tough few years for the travel industry. Just when it seemed like people were ready to engage in full-blown wanderlust, inflation smacked consumers with a nearly 10 percent price hike. Yet, in 2022, the travel industry still bounced back to the tune of 81 percent of pre-pandemic spending levels, proving people needed to get out of the house, no matter the cost. The recovery in the travel industry is expected to continue in 2023, with travel rates returning to nearly pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, airline travel could bounce back completely.
While many consumers are planning to go big on their next vacation, even more say they’ll travel closer to home. Considering a looming economic downturn and the geopolitical climate, the travel industry’s astonishing comeback is encouraging news.
For those in the industry, there’s never been a better time to rethink marketing strategy. Where once the industry focused on those with expendable income or retiring baby boomers, Gen Z and millennials have made it clear they’re more likely to spend on experiences than things. In fact, Gen Z has expressed a desire to travel that’s a whopping 15 percent higher than X-ers and boomers, opening an entirely new marketing demographic. For the savvy travel industry marketer, the pool just got deeper. Now it’s time to figure out how to get everyone to dive in.
We’ve seen the explosion of the experience market through the lenses of social media influencers worldwide. But incredible travel isn’t just for the industry creators anymore. As access to one-of-a-kind vacations and experiences broadens with the rise and staying power of remote work, more and more of us will be able to take the vacation of a lifetime while collecting a paycheck. Zoom from the beach? No problem. Finish a report from the Louvre café before seeing the Mona Lisa one more time? Totally doable. Catch up on emails from the plane before hitting the nightlife of a faraway city? That’s just the new normal.
These examples of the modern work-life balance are potential stories that can be used to entice a new generation of travelers, which makes offering an experience that matches a traveler’s idea of a great vacation more salient than ever. Here are four trends in travel to think about when crafting your 2023 marketing strategy.
The hospitality experience
Customer service in the travel industry will continue to be an important differentiator. Travelers have shown they’re willing to pay for a magical getaway if they feel they’re receiving equivalent value. Premier customer service is the best way to make the avid traveler feel like they got a deal — no matter what the experience’s cost.
Getaways closer to home
Once-in-a-lifetime experiences are not necessarily half a world away. Road trips, regional travel, the long weekend — these sectors expect a big boom in 2023. Outdoor adventures a few hours from the city and a new obsession with camping are prime examples of vacations that require little time or travel distance but still provide value both for the consumer and the industry. As travelers rethink where and how they work, the travel industry should be likewise expanding its marketing horizons.
Not all travel is purely for leisure anymore. Transformational travel — which combines faraway locales with enriching experiences like volunteering, education and wellness opportunities — provides a meaningful foundation on which the travel industry can stand. It’s no secret that Gen Z and millennials are increasingly concerned about their global footprint. Transformational travel offers the conscientious traveler the opportunity to do good in the world while satisfying their need to experience it.
Transformational tourism aside, sustainability in the travel sector will be top of mind for many looking to experience something new, regardless of whether that experience is close to home or across an ocean. Accommodations with sustainable bona fides and eco travel tours and packages will have a leg up in a saturated market.
When considered together, these travel trends equate to one big takeaway: Market differentiation matters. Native content that uses both human interest stories and consumer data to craft the best possible marketing strategies will give smart travel companies an edge.
After all, what is travel if not the opportunity to experience a story you can retell for years to come? Both the content and the telling are important, whether it’s a company to its targeted audience or you to your friends on Instagram. The efficacy of each depends on how you tell it.