Many of us are missing the glow from our regular summer vacations – opting instead to stay home and put a screensaver of the beach on our computers, daydreaming that we’re smelling the sea salt-tinged air and listening to the gentle sound of waves while we enjoy our favorite beach read. But, enough about me.

The point is: many consumers aren’t traveling right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has left the hospitality industry hard hit.

But even though the summer season wasn’t as bustling as many hospitality businesses hoped, there are still consumers currently traveling, and even more are thinking about (and searching for) where they’ll visit when we’re able to leave our homes – sans mask.

What to know about hospitality marketing right now.

So, there are opportunities to market hospitality businesses now while preparing to welcome consumers back in the coming months.

Consider these recent hospitality marketing stats:

  • 50% of consumers surveyed plan to take a vacation in 2020.
  • Nearly 60% said they want to receive promotional offers around safety policies.
  • 57% said they want to receive tips on health and safety.
  • 72% said they’re planning to drive to their next getaway.
  • 65% of consumers are looking forward to traveling again.

What’s the bottom line? Consumers want to travel, are planning to travel, and are open to marketing from hospitality businesses.

Here’s what we’re finding consumers want to know about travel, with some tips on how you can leverage this trend data to get in front of them and start building a relationship with your hospitality marketing now.

Coronavirus Travel: Is It Safe?

According to Google Trends, this is the top travel-related query consumers have right now.

The top queries related to “travel” on Google Trends.

Consumers want to know where it’s safe to travel, the best way to get there, and whether or not there are any restrictions.

How you can incorporate this into your hospitality online marketing:

  • Educate on what your business is doing to protect consumers and employees. This could (and probably should) include any cleaning standards you have for your facilities, any limitations to occupancy, and any special services you’re offering to make guests feel extra comfortable – like socially-distanced check-in, limited housekeeping entrances, and more.
  • Provide specials for guests that are driving. More than 30% of consumers in one survey said they planned to take a road trip this year, and over 36% said they canceled planned trips that required them to fly. This means that you may need to adjust your typical target audience and offer incentives to consumers who are closer to your location to entice them to your travel and tourism business.

hospitality marketing tip - offer promos for in-state visitors

This hotel in Irving, TX, is offering a special discount to Texas residents.

Travel Restrictions: What Should I Know Before I Travel?

This coronavirus-related query is another top search trend according to Google Trends and pertains to travel both inside of and outside of the U.S. Many countries are limiting or restricting travel from the U.S. and some states are requiring quarantine periods if you’re traveling in from another state.

How to incorporate this into your hospitality marketing:

  • Offer an enticing back-up plan for would-be international travelers. While many consumers are either unable to travel internationally or just wary right now, offer them an alternative option. Highlight any special getaway packages you’re offering and think about adding some fun options that might make visitors feel like they’re in a faraway place. Now’s the time to get creative and test out some new ideas.
  • Clearly state any restrictions your business, state, or county may have. This can include any mask mandates, quarantine orders, and more. Consumers want to quickly know what to expect should they travel to your location.

Hospitality marketing tip - educate travelers on your safety procedures

The Blue Ridge, GA, travel and tourism site has a page dedicated to what travelers need to know before they visit.

Best Places to Travel in the US: Where Should I Travel?

Consumers are still traveling, but many are sticking to areas they can visit within the U.S. – either by driving or a short flight. According to the top articles from USA TODAY’s travel section, consumers are interested in articles about the best hiking trails in the U.S., the best national parks to visit, and more.

How to incorporate this into your hospitality marketing:

  • Get in front of them. Now’s the time to get in front of consumers when they’re making plans for their next trip. Make sure your travel and tourism marketing strategy includes PPC, social media ads, and display advertising so you can reach consumers while they’re searching, spending time on social media, and browsing the web.
  • Let consumers know why they should visit you. Highlight your proximity to any national landmarks, parks, or (open) attractions. Feature any differentiator you have that might show a consumer why they need to consider booking with you.

hospitality marketing tip: showcase your proximity to national landmarks.

This hotel is showcasing its proximity to the Coachella Valley.

Planning for the Next Trip: Where Should I Go Next?

Consumers who aren’t traveling right now are chomping at the bit to plan their next vacation. You can take this opportunity to start building a relationship with those consumers so that when it comes time to book, they know exactly where they’re going.

How to incorporate this into your hospitality marketing:

  • Build trust. These consumers are likely doing a lot of online research – they’re likely cautious about traveling and want to make sure they’re keeping their families extra safe. By running branded content on their local or national news site, you can start building a foundation of trust. Our branded content experts outlined the messages that are resonating with consumers right now.
  • Offer flexible specials. Think about ways you can offer specials for consumers to book now for a trip some time into 2021. Maybe you have a package that they can purchase now and redeem the last half of next year, or you offer flexible cancellation options so they can feel comfortable booking something for the first half of 2021 while knowing they can always move it if needed. By providing flexible specials, you’re more likely to capture these consumers now.

Hospitality marketing tip - offer book now pay later promos

This business is offering a special to book now for 2021 with no deposit until a later date.

Your travel and tourism business has a unique opportunity to reach a new crop of travelers and entice them to your business. A robust digital marketing strategy can help you get in front of the right consumers and begin building a relationship that will last until it’s time to pack their bags once again. For information on how we can help you build the right hospitality marketing strategy for your business, reach out today.

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