How marketers are approaching the future of travel

Travel tanked in 2020, as the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic shaved US digital travel sales by 50.0%. This is the first year sales will pass what they were in 2019, and the number of digital travel bookers in the US won’t return to what it was in 2019 until 2024. Here’s a look at some summer travel trends:

Pandemic trends stick around

Consumers are still hesitant to travel due to COVID-19 risk and inflation. Likewise, the US travel industry will continue to hold back digital ad investments, spending $4.05 billion this year, a far cry from the $6.09 billion it spent in 2019.

Leisure travel is back; business travel stays behind

For those looking to invest ad dollars in travel, targeting the leisure traveler is the smart way to go, at least for the time being. Prior to the pandemic, business travelers accounted for over 40% of spending on airfare and lodging, according to the US Travel Association. However, business travel had only reached about half its 2019 levels as of last year.

That means the booming rebound has been overwhelmingly driven by leisure travelers. Private consumers are opening their wallets at unprecedented rates to fund visits and vacations, and that extra spending is helping to offset the absence of business travel dollars.

Airbnb is playing the long game

With behaviors changing, Airbnb is meeting users where they’re at to attract and retain customers.

One in every five nights booked is part of a long-term stay. The firm has improved its policies and search options in a clear marketing play to make it easier for users to make these longer reservations.

Analyst insight: “It’s plain to see that Airbnb’s latest moves are the result of the feedback that it gathers from its customers, hosts, and employees,” said Insider Intelligence principal analyst Patty Soltis. “Airbnb is a prime example of listening and doing something about it.”