Trends & Insight
February 9, 2021

Part 2 of our insight into key tourism and transport trends for 2021.

In spring 2021 lockdowns are likely to slowly start easing off, particularly in the UK thanks to the ongoing vaccination rollout. Many consumers are already starting to consider what a 2021 holiday looks like and how they are going to spend their disposable income, be it at home or abroad.

Below are six spring predictions and forecasts organisations should consider while forming their communication narratives.

1. Post-Pandemic Tourism Marketing

  • In spring, communications activities and campaigns will be defined by the key target audiences that have been vaccinated
  • With fewer tour operators and travel agents to choose from in the short-term, destinations can build competitive advantage by targeting independent travellers and small groups
  • Cross-border cooperation around testing and sharing of data will be essential, as will working closely with airline and health service communication teams
  • Creativity will remain key to competing in a saturated and damaged sector, as well as utilising website date to inform decision making  

2. Publicity and Marketing Steered by Data Analysis

  • Throughout the pandemic many tourist boards and organisations have focused on building their online audiences (social media followers, media databases)
  • Technology has made it easier to access data analysis tools and evaluate audiences. Organisations should use this data to understand what audiences want and encourage faster customer decision making

3. Merge PR, SEO with Integrated Content Marketing

  • Since the pandemic, the number of PR roles within organisations has grown. The latest IPA Bellwether Report stated PR budgets have been cut less than other areas of marketing
  • Website rankings based on consumer search queries is an important area of tourism internet marketing. It's important to improve online search ranking by creating backlinks through media coverage

4. Media Trends: The Rise of Freelancers and Influencers

  • Many British travel journalists lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, and at the same time magazines such as Sunday Times Travel and Lonely Planet stopped printing. Accessing in-house journalists and editors will become increasingly challenging while freelancer numbers rise 
  • Media and influencers who 'own' large audiences (media subscription models, influencers and bloggers) will continue to grow
  • The Clubhouse App continues to grow particularly with millennial and older target audiences
  • TikTok will continue to mature: the TikTok UK offices have seen teams grow in their content departments, with Generations Y and Z gaining more spending power

5. Post-COVID Communication: Technology, Reassurance, Flexibility

  • An Expedia report from December 2020 found that travellers from the UK were the 4th most impacted by COVID, while seven out of 10 travellers will be looking for more flexible booking options. It is also suggested that countries with more contactless technology will also be in more demand
  • The report stated that eight in 10 travellers expect to make accommodation decisions based on pandemic measures, including:
  • COVID-19 hygiene protocols
  • Strict use and enforcement of masks
  • Reduced capacity
  • Contactless check in, room service, and check out

6. Longer Holidays & The Rise of Flexible Working

  • Millennials and younger working professionals will have more flexibility to work from anywhere they want
  • Tourism boards that can integrate holidays with work-away facilities will have an advantage
  • In 2020 AM+A stated the case at the WTM for the need to develop new products and tourism packages

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