Travel Insights: Craving Human Connections

March 12, 2021  |  Victoria Simmons

Travel & Tourism

As the vaccine rollout continues, consumers are feeling much more optimistic about their summer travel plans. Savvy travel brands should tap into the increased craving for human connection and meaningful relationships as they develop strategies to assist eager travelers with trip planning. This theme of connection manifests in an assortment of travel trends as vacationers yearn for deeper, more meaningful experiences with friends and family.

Family Comes First

The challenges of the past year have created an increased prioritization of family. Many Americans are driven to travel by their desire to reunite with distant loved ones or spend quality time connecting with those closest to them.

The primary motivations for travel have shifted to focus on prioritizing human connection: 41% say that travel to visit friends and family has become “much more” important to them. And over a third (37%) said their definition of “meaningful” travel has changed to focus more on time with loved ones. – Wunderman Thompson

Implications

Travel brands should gear up for multi-generational travel. Ensure you are offering a range of experiences that bring diverse ages and skillsets together for meaningful interaction.

Romance Remake

Couples who have been at home together are looking to rekindle their romance in small and large ways by celebrating little relationship milestones and taking intimate trips together for a romantic change of scenery.

Cabin fever kills the romance. One in four of respondents age 45+ said they look forward to intimacy while on vacation. – IHG Hotels & Resorts

Implications

Be prepared to evolve beyond champagne and chocolate toward more innovative products that are about surprise, wonder and new experiences. Think mindfulness for two and immersive nature-based escapes.

Building Community

General consumers and travelers alike are looking for ways to connect with their communities. Younger generations and Black Americans are two groups who particularly seek community connection opportunities with their travels.

Implications

Brands should find ways to help travelers contribute to communities and causes that are aligned with their personal values. Consumers want to know that they are making a positive impact on the people and places they visit.

Virtual

Accelerated by the necessity of virtual communications, travel brands and travelers are offering digital solutions for vacationers to connect over a common location or favorite destination.

30% of consumers say virtuality (preferring to do things and express themselves virtually vs. in physical worlds) is extremely or very important to them, and 57% say it is at least somewhat important to them – Kantar US Monitor Data

Implications

Virtual technology now enables interaction with travelers during the entire vacation journey. Travelers will expect to “interact” with people and places before they even travel. Be prepared with virtual tours and trip planning assistance.

Self

Times of disruption create a craving for humans to reconnect with themselves or re-define who they are and what they truly value. The desire for a greater connection with one’s self, paired with demands of social distance, inspires purpose-driven self-reflection travel.

“Social distancing demands have fed trips for self-reflection.” – New York Times

 Implications

Prioritizing self doesn’t always mean solo travel. Be mindful of creating spaces for self-meditation and reflection for those who need some alone time or a quiet place to re-charge.

Download the full report for additional supporting insights on how the craving for human connection is driving travel behavior.

Download Report

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is Senior VP, Travel at BVK

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