5 Travel Boom Trends for Performance Marketers to Watch in 2021

Industry Insights

Ideas to Inspire

5 Travel Boom Trends for Performance Marketers to Watch in 2021

Go-to destinations are being replaced with out-of-the-way places

AdWeek - Travel Boom Trends


There’s a lot of pent-up demand in the leisure travel world right now, which means companies forced to mothball their sales and marketing efforts in 2020 are in a great position to reboot those initiatives and tap into the post-Covid travel boom. From hotel operators to RV parks to online booking companies and all points in between, a diverse range of companies suddenly has the opportunity to come back stronger than ever.

According to Expedia Group’s 2021 Travel Trends Report, 42% of travelers are “more hopeful” about travel or drove them to book an upcoming trip. The report found that 44% will take more trips in 2021 than 2020, with younger generations traveling the most overall. And, roughly one-third of respondents said their next trip will be a week, or longer.

5 key trends to watch

As they help consumers break out of pandemic isolation and resume some level of “normal” activities, companies in the travel industry may find themselves operating in a very different environment that what they’re used to. Here are five trends performance marketers should pay attention to when developing new strategies for reaching this audience:

1. Longer trips are in order

Weekend trips away from home may not cut it for the travelers that were relegated to staycations in 2020. According to Concur TripIt data, there’s already been an increase in trip duration—spanning flight, lodging, and car rentals—signaling that travelers are planning trips with an intent to stay longer. “And without the physical confines of work or school,” Localogy reports, “longer stays at short-term rentals will continue to be a popular choice for business and leisure travelers alike.”

2. It’s about culture, reconnecting and healing

Expedia says that travelers plan to spend an average of $3,444 for their next trips, with millennials expected to spend “significantly more.” The reasons behind the travel vary: 63% of respondents said travel creates greater cultural understanding while 56% see it as a healing mechanism.

For others, being able to travel again means reconnecting with loved ones and family members that they missed visiting in 2020.

3. Different generations have varying travel priorities

Americans still prioritize travel to be close to family (32%), according to a recent Airbnb study, but equally prioritize a new experience or destination (31%), preferably nearby, followed by a return to a favorite destination (25%). Older Americans (50+) are most interested in future travel to be close to family (33%) and to revisit a favorite spot (32%), followed by a new experience or destination (29%).

Younger Americans remain most interested in a second trip as a new experience or destination (35%), followed by being close to family (31%), being close to nature (23%) and returning to a favorite place (23%).

4. Go-to destinations are being replaced with out-of-the-way places

According to Airbnb, the top 10 destination cities for travelers (ranked by nights stayed) in 2019 were Barcelona, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, New York, Paris, Rome, Seoul, and Toronto.

“In 2020, smaller, lower-profile destinations saw major growth in demand,” it says, citing the largest year-over-year increases in searches for 2021 bookings as: Derbyshire, U.K.; Rodanthe (on the coast of North Carolina); Forks, Wash. (the main setting for the Twilight series); and the Muskoka Lakes (a few hours’ drive from Toronto).

5. Trip cancellation insurance gains in popularity

Coming off a year that saw many people cancelling trips and then trying to get their deposits back, travelers are covering their assets with trip cancellation insurance. In fact, revenues for the global travel insurance market are expected to reach $40 billion by 2028 (up from $21 billion in 2019).

Credit the fact that travelers are encountering new requirements that could impact their travel plans and their travel insurance needs.

As companies in the travel industry help consumers make up for lost time,—vacation, postponed holiday gatherings and missed family time—people are optimistic about getting moving again.

This presents a great opportunity for performance marketers to plan ahead, understand the competitive landscape targeting travelers and plant their stakes in this “next normal” leisure travel environment

Drop us a note to explore how You can future proof your brand and business