As we approach Memorial Day weekend, some travelers are beginning to grow more eager to take advantage of lifted restrictions and step out into the world a bit. Travel intent indicators like this are promising for destination marketers, but we also understand that travel will return in waves around the world. There’s just not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Keeping that in mind, we came up with three key data points shared on this week’s Layover Live that you can use to make better decisions about how to adjust your marketing efforts: consumer sentiment, organic web traffic and drive market demand.
Let’s start with consumer sentiment. This is what tells us how travelers are feeling and behaving, and helps marketers to make predictions about how they’ll begin planning for vacations or events. While these consumer sentiment metrics took an understandable nosedive following the announcement of COVID-19 being named a global pandemic, we are finding that excitement to learn about travel destinations is improving. As Erin Frances Cummings, CEO and President of Destination Analysts, shared, over 45 percent of American travelers currently estimate that they will take their next road trip sometime between now and the end of August. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on this data as it evolves, particularly in your own region.
Organic Web Traffic
DMO web traffic is trending up—in fact, since April 12, DMO traffic is up by more than 72 percent. In fact, organic web traffic has been trending up for 5 straight weeks. As searches and therefore referrals have been impacted, so has the booking window, but we are seeing steady improvements. In fact, May shows comparable booking windows to 2019 where people are currently looking at trips 68 days out, targeting the middle to end of July. All of this information can be taken into consideration by DMOs, and we’re tracking the data on an ongoing basis on our insights hub—bookmark it and keep checking back.
Drive Market Demand
It’s not news to most destination marketers that when travel returns, it will come first from those that live closest. The perceived lower risk and general consumer willingness to drive versus fly weighs into this, and that’s why tracking drive market demand is of paramount importance. As Matt Clement, senior vice president of marketing at Arrivalist, shared this week, one way that DMOs can capitalize on this demand is to work on converting their more engaged audience of day-trippers and weekenders to perhaps a weeklong length of stay. It could also even mean narrowing down your targets to people within a 50-mile radius, versus a 250-mile radius. Be sure to use the Daily Travel Index tool to understand what trip volume and activity looks like for the drive markets that are applicable to you.
Keep in mind that no matter where you are, travelers want to feel safe.
You can watch this week’s Layover Live, or check out our recently published destination recovery interactive, as well as refer to our insights hub which tracks against web traffic and search data—both valuable from a benchmarking perspective. If you’re entering the rebound phase of marketing for your DMO and need help, we’d love to connect.