Travel Insights: Exclusivity in Travel
Travel & Tourism
As some restrictions ease up, new red ropes of exclusivity are put in place in the travel industry alongside travelers’ increased desire for unique vacation experiences. Despite increasing cultural conversations around inclusivity, travel continues to be more readily available to select groups.
1. Vaccination opens exclusive access for travelers.
- Many cruise lines are requiring COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of stepping on board. – Travel & Leisure
- In its guidance covering all types of travel, at home and abroad, the CDC draws a bright line between the vaccinated and unvaccinated when it comes to testing and quarantining as well as the trifecta of masking, distancing, and washing hands. – CDC
- California is offering 50,000 free passes to Six Flags amusement parks to the vaccinated. – KTLA
Implications: Travel brands should understand that as consumers begin traveling again there is still lingering confusion over whether or not remaining travel restrictions and requirements will affect their plans. For example, some states like Hawaii are still requiring negative Covid tests for the unvaccinated. Continue to communicate those details upfront and directly.
2. New travel subscription services & private travel clubs offer exclusive deals.
- Tripadvisor Plus, launched in June 2021, is a subscription service for $99/year that unlocks deals, like a cheaper hotel room or upgrade. -Marketing Brew
- Private travel clubs are on the rise: Inspirato booking activity is 30% higher year over year while competitors Exclusive Resorts LLC and Essentialist reported record-breaking membership sales in 2020. – Bloomberg
Implications: For those willing to pay, successful travel brands are finding ways to make accessing travel both easy and efficient. Millennials and Gen Z travelers are more likely than other generations to be looking for these services, feeling the benefits far outweigh the costs, providing them with access to exclusive experiences with less hassle.
3. Americans are increasing their own desire for travel but decreasing their desire to welcome travelers in their community.
- Three-quarters of American travelers will take at least one vacation or getaway over the next 3 months – Destination Analysts
- The week of June 20th 2021 saw a 7 pt. increase in proportion of Americans who say they don’t want tourists in town (33.6% to 40.6%)- Destination Analysts
- 40% of recent travelers have found other people irritating while out and about -Destination Analysts
Implications: The pressure on travel brands to balance the needs of their customers with the quality of life for local residents continues to grow. Residents are holding brands more accountable for demonstrating responsible sustainability practices that protect both the planet and their way of life. Brands who cross this line should expect to be called out. Stay engaged with the local community and find ways to actively solicit their input.
4. Rising travel costs and a new travel landscape will lead to spending booms for some and barriers for others.
- 36% of travelers say increased travel costs are an important factor in their decision to not travel right now – Destination Analysts
- 45% of Millennials said they’ve gone into debt for summer travel and would do it again, while 23% said they haven’t gone into debt for summer travel in the past but would. – Credello
- 50% of consumers are more likely to splurge on pricey accommodations and travel options if it means they have strict COVID-19 hygiene protocols and 49% say they are more likely to invest in priority travel passes to avoid crowds. – Discovery Annual Traveler Survey
Implications: Travel brands should continue to see a variety of new consumer profiles that may not align with their “ideal” pre-COVID customer. We are still working our way toward a new normal. When developing marketing plans set aside a portion of your budget for trialing new audience segments and targeting solutions. Also consider showing a range of pricing options to appeal to travelers with a wide variety of ability to pay – showing free activities up to luxury options.
5. Exclusive family time is a desired escape.
- Parents with kids under 18 are more likely than those without kids to go on a longer vacation than in previous years (32% with vs. 26% without) and spend significantly more (20% with vs. 10% without). – Quicken Survey
- Remote family retreats are a top desired trip according to Airbnb – Travel & Leisure
Implications: For families with kids at home it has been a particularly rough year of navigating online learning without the benefit of help from extended family and friends. These families are looking for an escape from rules, routine and hassle. Travel brands should find ways to indulge their craving for escape, adventure and entertainment.