Five consumer travel trends that didn’t exist 12 months ago

Are we there yet?

While the rest of the world might not have turned the Covid-corner just yet, Australia and some of our neighbours in the Pacific are in a strong position to start re-imagining what tourism and our travel businesses might look like in a post-pandemic era.

But be prepared – this era represents the greatest shift in consumer behaviour from travellers we’ve seen for a long time. What does that mean for you, and your business exactly? For those willing to adapt and change, it potentially might mean lots of new opportunities.

We’ve put together 5 new, or simply fast-tracked, consumer insights to consider while working on your next business or marketing strategy.

  1. Living la vida local

The pandemic has highlighted and accelerated people’s connection with their hometowns, and their support for local operators and communities that feed into their identities. Uncertainty around border closures has seen consumers confined to their home turf in greater numbers (and for longer lengths of time). In January the ABC reported that country ‘carnivals’ and agricultural shows were back in vogue across Australia as COVID-19 lockdown reignited people’s love of fun and nostalgia in regional centres. Of course, even when international travel commences, consumers have likely had their eyes opened to the benefits of embracing their local lifestyle and environment more. So that relationship with your local store, travel brand or destination is still going to be important.

  1. Willingness to share data

Paying more attention to data – both what you are sharing and what you are recording as a tourism operator – is a trend that will only grow in the coming year.  Checking in and out of venues and hotels, and divulging your details more freely, has become the new norm for travellers. And now with new technology making the recording process that much simpler, we’re unlikely to revert back to pre-pandemic privacy any time soon. At peak pandemic times both businesses and their customers shifted gears to focus on community and help with the crisis. The QR code has turned COVID-19 check-ins into a golden opportunity for businesses. Of course, with great power (and data) comes great responsibility. It is now more important than ever to make sure your operations and customers are tied together to great data the right way, and it’s essential to review the ways you engage and communicate with your consumer.

  1. The future is #WFA

The work/ life balance and the movement to work not just from home, but from anywhere, is a powerful one.  An improvement in technology will continue to influence the way we interact with the people and the space around us, and after months of working from home and meeting virtually, this trend has accelerated to the point of no return. #WFA is here to stay, whether employers like it or not. But what exactly does this mean from a consumer perspective? Daytime could easily become the new primetime as work and playtime media habits continue to merge. When, where and how we talk to our travel customers will become as important as what we’re trying to say. The ‘work from anywhere’ movement will be a key driver in harnessing personalisation over multi-channel tourism marketing in the coming year. According to a recent survey by KPMG, many of us have newfound freedoms in how we work as a result of COVID-19, making working from anywhere holiday destinations acceptable as well – creating an entirely new category of #WFA holiday. These changes in consumer behaviour may provide welcome opportunities for tourism operators to capture a greater share of the Australian traveller’s wallet.

  1. Changing role of social media

Social media has long been the villain of society, blamed for everything from endemic loneliness and bullying to surreptitious self-doubt. Enter social distancing. Living life in lockdown certainly reimagined the way people use and embrace social media platforms; many say for the better. From zooming with your grandparents, following fresh hashtags fads like #thekindnesspandemic or jumping on apps like House Party for a virtual Sunday session with friends. Social media had a friendly makeover that’s here to stay for the foreseeable future, proving the positive potential of online connection.

  1. Where consumers look to for news

When Facebook made the monumental move to block Australians from viewing or sharing news in February 2021, it prompted the question – where are consumers really getting their news and views from? Certainly, more people rely on channels like Facebook and Twitter, however an increasing number are also questioning the credibility of news found on social media channels. Hello Reddit. In January, the Bank of America reported that young investors and consumers are increasingly looking for news and information from other sources, like Reddit, as opposed to traditional outlets and established social platforms. While they noted that traditional news outlets did see a usage boost from the January surge in certain stocks, the boost was far bigger for Reddit, which tells you something about how younger consumers will consume content about your business and travel brand in the years ahead.

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