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Road to Recovery: What the Travel Industry Needs to Know to Earn Considerations With Travelers

As consumers hit the road for summer stay-cations, what does the travel industry need to know? We’ve highlighted the best ways to rebound amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meredith Cunningham Published: July 30, 2020
Road to Recovery: What the Travel Industry Needs to Know to Earn Considerations With Travelers image

COVID-19 has hit the travel industry hard, but many CEOs of travel companies remain optimistic about its return. As travelers look for safer options for travel and travel to less crowded places with immediate families, travel and tourism providers have a unique opportunity to bring these new options to light. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

1. Travel Behaviors are Changing Amid the Pandemic

The pandemic isn’t stopping travel, it’s just changing the way people travel, and where they visit. ​ Studies have found that 65% of travelers want​ to be in and around nature​, and continue to feel safest when avoiding crowds (93%), traveling by personal vehicle (68%), and when visiting outdoor destinations such as parks (34%) and the beach (26%).

Meanwhile, 43% of U.S. travelers say they are more likely to travel to destinations close to home in the post-pandemic world. Conversely, 32% say they are willing to drive at least 300 miles (one-way) to reach their vacation destinations.​ Only 36%​ of U.S. travelers plan to stay in a hotel or resort, 23% plan to stay in a vacation home/condo.

Because of these sentiments, customers are looking for lodging alternatives. At TEGNA, we’ve seen RV share bookings skyrocket 650% ahead of summer travel season, and ​boating clubs experienced record-high sales in March and April amid the pandemic. We’ve also seen car dealerships with opportunities to target consumers looking for vehicles ideal for road trips or needing auto service for current vehicles.

2. A Media Strategy is a Must-Have 

TV Broadcast with TEGNA to Be Seen 

As summer vacations are underway in the US, tourism & travel companies can communicate with several new and highly qualified potential customers through advertising with their local TEGNA news station. With so many Americans consuming the news and streaming media every single day, ratings are high and costs are more affordable, leading to incredible efficiencies (CPM), and higher SOV.

These broadcast opportunities will allow you to use creative messaging options to target ​younger travelers ready to leave their apartments​, and/or middle-aged travelers (aged 50-64) ready to take a domestic trip, stay astay at a hotel or resort, visit a local, state or national park or go to the beach​. Better yet, broadcast allows for Lifestyle Show integration, or taped long-form segments to showcase, for example, the nuances of safe travel during COVID-19.

A Pew Research Center study released in April shows that 89% of US adults said they are following news about the outbreak of coronavirus closely. Ensuring your media strategy is alive and well inside news and information-based environments will increase the ears and eyeballs.  

Local Broadcast Websites & Apps to Extend Reach

Many travel and tourism companies can also reach consumers engaging with TEGNA’s website, station apps, weather, and traffic-related content for their travel. Local TEGNA stations reach an average of 35 million digitally each month. The ads placed here come in various forms, including display ads and pre-roll digital video, and act as the perfect digital complement to TV ad campaigns.  Click here to learn more. 

Streaming to Drive Awareness 

Advertising via Over-the-Top streaming also presents a significant opportunity to extend the reach of a broadcast campaign and target those interested in travel, the outdoors, RV intenders, boat intenders, and other specific audiences. 


3. Best Practices for Adapting to the New Climate

At TEGNA, we’ve seen a few travel & tourism trends. Here are a few thought-starters for your travel campaign amid COVID-19. 

Social Distancing & Contactless Options. Be sure to adhere to CDC Guidelines and promote no-contact services, such as no-contact “FaceTime” meetings during the sales process, curbside pickup and/or delivery options, virtual tours, and video. Don’t forget to also highlight your sanitizing process in creative, online, and on-location. ​

Cancellation Policies. There is a steady trend in last-minute bookings. Be sure to showcase your flexible cancellation policies to appeal to uncertainties generated by COVID-19. 

Financing Options Need to be Available. With so much uncertainty, consumers will need flexible financing options if they purchase. Don’t forget to include these details in your messaging, if applicable. 

TEGNA market feedback from existing clients in the RV industry and team members
MMGY Travel Intelligence, May 1-6, 2020
RVShare May 13, 2020
U.S. Travel Association & MMGY Travel Intelligence’s Traveler Intentions Pulse Survey – April 2020

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