Following a challenging few years and a long COVID-19-laden winter, many consumers have their eye on travel in the coming months. As a matter of fact, planned travel in 2022 is expected to exceed the levels seen in 2019. As shared by Lodging via TripAdvisor, here’s what you need to know:

With consumers eager to plan their next excursion, tourism and travel brands are set to have a busy year ahead. However, these brands need to have the right tools and strategies to connect with their target audience. 

Discover what makes the spring and summer 2022 season unique, who is ready to travel, and the best media channels to connect with these consumers as they plan their next journey. 

Spring and Summer 2022: The Season of “Revenge Travel”

Those paying attention to the economy over the last few years may already be familiar with the term revenge spending, which The Washington Post best described as the trend to “overindulge after a period of restriction.” As an example, the newspaper reported that the average American spent $765 more each month during the summer of 2021 compared to the same time frame in 2020—and Millennials and Gen Z reportedly topped that, spending $1,016 more per month in the summer of 2021 compared to the previous year, mostly on dining and travel. 

But it’s too early to see an end to revenge spending—and we’re likely to see a specific niche in the revenge spending trend: Revenge travel. The effects of revenge travel can be seen in the form of one particular type of evidence: Airport traffic. 

Of course, the pandemic was the cause of much strife and economic hardships for many consumers. Still, one poll shared by Airport Technology points to the idea that a good number of consumers are getting ready to travel in the coming months. 28 percent of global respondents shared that they had built up a travel budget that was either “a lot” or “slightly higher” than their pre-pandemic funds. 

As reported in Airport Technology, more money for traveling leads to record booking for longer getaways to far-off and adventurous destinations overseas, with airlines like Delta and United reporting more flights booked to Europe and Asia-Pacific. In 2022, the publisher noted that “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the travel sector to its knees. While the concept of international ‘revenge travel’ may not come to fruition until 2022, it will be welcomed by all across the sector.”

Many are quick to point out that this surge in travel isn’t solely for revenge. It’s now a bit safer to travel to reconnect with loved ones who live far away or even just indulge in a trip outside of one’s hometown for a weekend. There are many opportunities for travel brands looking to reach consumers who are ready to stretch their legs and see the world or even just travel close by. 

Which Travel Audiences Need Your Attention in 2022

As travel brands look to spring and summer 2022, a few key target audiences are looking to travel. As shared in AdWeek, the following groups have different needs and considerations. Still, all are looking ahead to the coming months and planning trips—and all present a unique opportunity for travel brands.

  • Business Travelers: While remote work capabilities have taken off since March of 2020, there are still plenty of business travelers who will be traveling to conferences in prime destination locations. AdWeek reports that even now, 62 percent of professionals are taking 3 or more trips every year. 
  • Multi-Cultural Travelers: Diverse audiences account for 44 percent of travel spending and are looking to see themselves authentically represented in marketing of all kinds—including in the travel and tourism industries. 
  • LGBTQ+ Travelers: In 2021, 73 percent of LGBTQ+ consumers reported that they planned on taking a trip by the end of the year, and this number is only anticipated to grow in 2022. These travelers are sensitive to mindful representation in the ads and media they encounter. 
  • Sustainability-Minded Travelers: According to one recent poll, 82 percent of consumers stated that the pandemic encouraged them to think about more responsible travel practices in the future. This group of travelers wants to hear about all the ways tourism and travel brands are incorporating more sustainable practices. 

  • Health and Wellness Travelers: As shared in AdWeek, after several years spent inside staring at computer screens and feeling stress and anxiety and perhaps falling ill or worrying about their health, many wellness-minded travelers are looking for experiences that cater to their mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. 

Of course, families are looking for spring and summer getaways, and students are searching for popular, fun spring break spots—these factors remain constant. But in 2022, these specific groups are looking for unique experiences that cater to their lifestyles, make them feel seen and heard, and match the travel goals for the coming months.

The Top Channels for Media Planning in the Tourism Industry

With any media strategy, it’s essential to understand the power of the channels you’re selecting for your upcoming campaign. When it comes to travel marketing and media buying, the following trends seem to be poised to make a major impact in 2022, with so many revenge travelers looking to book their next excursion.

Virtual Experiences

Platforms like Amazon Explore, Airbnb, YouTube, Facebook Meta, and TikTok are all paving the way for travelers to envision their full trip experience before they ever set foot on a plane, train, or bus. Virtual tourism can provide consumers with a preview of their trip and even inspire some to book a trip they hadn’t previously considered. Short, engaging, and personal virtual experiences can help build a relationship between tourism brands and consumers and add a unique storytelling element to their marketing strategy.

Video Content

Like virtual experiences, video content is major for all brands, but tourism and travel-related brands in particular. Eighty-one percent of marketers shared that video marketing had a direct and positive impact on their sales—a figure that’s just too high to ignore in an industry that’s so reliant on the sights and sounds of a given experience. 

As the booking software company Checkfront shared, “Short-form video content has the capacity to catapult your online travel marketing efforts by immersing prospective customers into an experience in a way that’s more powerful than images alone.” And don’t ignore channels like TikTok—which generated a reported $1.9 billion in sales in 2020 and $115 million in in-app purchases in October 2020 alone.

Social Media

Several tourism brands took advantage of the low-spend, high-visibility market of Facebook in 2020 and saw the pay-off in a major way, each generating over six figures in revenue for bookings and purchases with less than $1,000 in total ad spend. This kind of success requires careful segmentation and targeted marketing at specific audiences, but it helped connect tourism-related brands with travelers hungry for new experiences. 

Social media doesn’t just target the very young. According to Invideo, one walking tour company discovered that their Facebook ads garnered the most attention from older audiences. Facebook alone has 2 billion monthly active users and plenty of features to target and retarget the ideal audiences. 

Out-of-Home Marketing

Out-of-home (OOH) marketing channels are a unique opportunity to connect with consumers who are emerging from the pandemic and ready to see the world and create outdoor and shared memories. Consumers are more receptive to OOH marketing than perhaps they ever have been before, especially in cities of 1 million or more residents. In fact, in October 2021, 64 percent of consumers shared that they pay attention to billboards, outdoor video screens, posters, signs, and other OOH channels. 

Additionally, 85 percent of consumers shared that they find OOH ads to be useful, especially when learning about special offers or promotions. OOH advertising is a perfect way to share promotions or sales on airfare, all-inclusive, and other deals related to the tourism and travel industry.

A Range of Channels

Of course, these are not the only venues for tourism media planning in 2022. Other effective media channels that are expected to connect with consumers this year include

  • Print content marketing, up 7.4 percent in 2021
  • Broadcast radio, up 7.3 percent in 2021
  • Digital podcast advertising, up 38.5 percent in 2021
  • Mobile search advertising, up 21.3 percent in 2021
  • Public relations, up 10.5 percent in 2021

Your Media Buying Guide in 2022 and Beyond

As 2022 is poised to be the year of revenge travel, is your current media strategy a first-class experience that will drive conversions and connect with consumers? 

At MBI, we understand that when it comes to marketing and advertising for the travel and tourism industries in 2022, this will be a year unlike any other—especially as the spring and summer travel season approaches. We have our finger on the pulse of what’s new and next in the world of travel, and we’ll partner this knowledge with our insider expertise to develop a winning strategy.  

With years of experience selecting and buying the proper media channels to connect brands with their ideal audiences, we’re poised and ready to help tourism brands take flight in 2022—by getting your message in front of the right people, at the right time, via the proper channels.

To learn more about how we can help you as spring and summer approaches, contact our team of experts today!