Averaging 15 million digital visitors daily, Expedia Group Media Solutions notes travel demand is alive, well and ready for the taking. Guillaume Massey, senior manager, business development, Destination & Air, Expedia, and Lawrence Albahra, senior manager, business development and lodging, kicked-off day two of WTM Africa’s Future Theatre programme in Cape Town, South Africa, by sharing insights from their recently released ‘Traveller Insights Report Q1 for 2023’.
The report’s key findings include: travellers are planning further in advance, with the 180+ day search window, while Q4 2022 saw new destinations emerge alongside old favourites with Playa del Carmen now Mexico’s most sought-after destinations.
The report also discovered that long-haul destinations are rising in popularity as traveller confidence returns, while ‘staycations’ remain strong domestically for vacation rentals, Flexcations and blended travel on the rise, with triple digit growth in use of the business-friendly filter on Expedia and Hotels.com.
Also, price is still a factor, determining where 1/3 of the people travel to and substantial growth in March and August in South Africa by global searches
Massey and Albahra also shared pointers on how to break down research and use it to build a successful marketing strategy – one that speaks to travellers’ current and seasonal wants and needs.
“When travellers win, we all win,” said Massey.
“We must not only look at data travel trends but learn how to break the information down to understand travellers and decipher what is guiding them. Then marketers can speak to what consumers want.”
Learning how to break down data to build impactful marketing campaigns (ones that reach the right audiences) is vital to driving bookings. Expedia helps marketers look at data to see how to target the right travellers. In other words, what are your market(s) searching for? Hotel and package paths; mobile shoppers; preferred length of stays; and emerging and consistent trends all play into the effectiveness of a campaign.
Expedia’s report summarises three key focal points for marketers that will create a stronger pathway to include reach, who you want and when; building your business with best-in-class traveller tech and understanding what traveller wants, needs and trends at a market and macro level.
“Data holds the power to benchmark against competitors in order to develop strategies and increase bookings,” said Massey. “Comprehensive travel insights allow you to understand search and booking patterns – and use them to build effective campaigns.”
Although Expedia’s research highlights the importance of data in building, implementing and maintaining effective campaigns, the team cautioned against focussing solely on conversions. “Before success in conversions can occur, you need to increase search and engagement, which means paying close attention to sentiment, content analysis, seasonal trends, and website visits. The first step is to get people to a company website, one that is informative and impactful in storytelling, before converting to bookings can occur,” said Massey.