2022 Spring and Summer Travel Trends
Travel Revival and Mountain Tourism Implications
Throughout the past two years, the travel and tourism industry has experienced heavy turbulence. From lockdowns and stringent COVID testing requirements early in the pandemic, to an overwhelming rebound, overcrowding, hospitality staffing challenges and a return to air travel in subsequent months, a sense of normalcy has been hard to find.
This spring, Backbone’s tourism marketing team anticipates some of these trends will continue, with traffic to tourist destinations at extremely high levels placing new demands for sustainable travel at the forefront. Some new developments are also beginning to emerge, namely international travel resuming and surging gas prices impacting the cost of travel. These factors and more will most certainly impact how marketers craft messaging and reach their target travelers. Our tourism team shares guidance below on how to adapt strategically to the times.
Road trips and Surging Gas Prices
Summer 2021 was proclaimed as the year of the road trip. With gas prices reaching an all-time high, travel may look different this spring and summer. According to a Longwoods International survey, 92% of respondents plan to travel in the next six months. However, their Covid and American Travel Sentiment survey found that roughly 60% of American travelers say that the current increased cost of gas will impact their decision to travel over the next six months.
Historically, gas prices have shown strong correlation with domestic road trips longer than 50 miles. Arrivalist, has illustrated this over the past three years:
Presumably, Americans will be defiant when it comes to traveling this summer, but the distance and frequency of travel by road may be impacted.
Media Strategy Response
1. Market selections: Tailor targeting to geographies closer to your destination (drive markets) but avoid heavy promotion in highest priced gas states (AAA reports: CA, HI, NV, OR, WA, CT, NY, PA).
2. Length of Stay: Incentivize and remind guests who have made the trek that they may want to stay longer.
3. Inspire: Paid Media: Emphasize sustainable tourism practices and educate guests about opportunities to save gas money by taking public transportation. Social Media: Enlist influencers to visit, use public transit and not bring a car.
Advertising is a powerful tool in the tourism landscape. We welcome the continued travel resurgence and are mindful of the opportunities, constraints and impacts it presents for our mountain town clients. From converting travelers in highly competitive markets to educating guests once in-destination, media tactics provide the opportunity for mountain destinations to excel this summer and most importantly please both residents and guests alike.
With that, here’s to long summer days and boundless activities in the great outdoors.