A guest blog by Dialpad

With many pandemic restrictions lifted in 2022 and the number of fully-vaccinated people on a steady rise, so is the post-pandemic vacation – or ‘vaxication’ . Although customers still confess to some feelings of uncertainty, the desire to travel is clear. This can be seen from the explosion of travel-related Google searches and social media hashtags. 

This travel demand presents lots of opportunities for growth. To make the most out of the vaxication peak, you need to understand the new needs of your customers. This can be achieved by creating a strategy that resonates with their changing desires and expectations.

Here are some tips on how you can tap into the industry’s pent-up travel demand (and scale your business as you do it!). 

Target Domestic Travelers 

With the uncertainty surrounding international travel still rife, it’s not surprising that customers are wary of traveling abroad. Across the globe, an average of 44% of travelers are choosing domestic trips over international trips, according to a Think With Google survey. 

People in the APAC (Asia-Pacific) region – which includes Australia and New Zealand – are the most likely to pursue domestic travel. With 55% of the people surveyed planning a post-pandemic domestic trip in 2021.

Pent-up travel demand

As customers turn to domestic travel for their long-awaited vacation fix, marketers are under pressure to create more localized marketing campaigns. Tour operators have an advantage here, as a spike in ‘near me’ searches shows that activities are growing in popularity, with the most sought-after experiences including kayaking, biking, and boating. 

Embrace Flexibility in Response To Increased Caution

Along with a rise in searches about “entry requirements,” “travel insurance,” and “cancellation policy”, 60-70% of customers now book holidays less than a month in advance, according to Google statistics. They also report that flexible booking and cancellation options rank as the second most influential holiday decision-making factor, with 57% of people expecting flexibility on booking and cancellation.  

Caution is natural for travelers in this unpredictable travel climate. Accommodating flexibility expectations with booking windows closer to the date, no-fuss amendments, and penalty-free cancellation policies helps to reassure anxious customers as they dip their toes back into traveling. 

For tour operators, accommodating customer demands for increased flexibility might feel daunting or downright unmanageable. Luckily, online booking solutions like Rezdy can provide you with a bunch of tour-company tailored features that make managing last-minute bookings, amendments, and cancellations easy and stress-free. 

Prioritize Health and Safety

Holidaymakers remain actively concerned about their safety. The search keywords ‘safety’ and ‘full control’ have increased by 59% and 56% respectively according to Google, while Arival’s 2021 report found that 60% of today’s travelers booking tours and experiences wanted clear COVID-19 safety plans.

Your COVID-19 safety plan should be applied to every stage of your customer’s journey. From the moment they make a booking to the moment they leave your tour. Health and safety measures you should implement include things like:

  • Regular, visible cleaning.
  • Automated disinfection booths and hygiene stations.
  • Crowd control measures (including smaller tour and activity groups).
  • Contactless interactions (like online booking systems and keyless check-ins).
  • Adherence to any government regulations or advice.

It’s not enough to just have these measures in place. You also need to fine-tune your marketing message to ensure that your health and safety priorities are communicated effectively. 

If health and safety concerns are the only things preventing a person from booking their vaxication, brands with clearly communicated safety measures will earn the attention and trust of potential travelers. 

Adopt Digital and Contactless Technologies

what is pent-up demand

 

Mobile phones are the new normal. Holidaymakers aren’t just browsing for experiences on their phones anymore – they’re making bookings, checking in, accessing travel documents, and more.

COVID-19 accelerated the impact of ecommerce and digital technology on the travel industry. Customers expect businesses to have mobile-optimized websites and high-quality mobile apps, as well as contactless implementations like online bookings, keyless check-ins, digital travel information, and plenty of contactless payment options. 

Digital and contactless technologies reassure health-conscious customers while providing convenience to the 41% of people who seek convenient travel experiences. It also presents you with data harvesting and mobile marketing opportunities. This enables you to improve customer engagement and deliver better customer experiences. 

If you’re looking for ideas on how to scale your business to accommodate growing travel demands, investing in digital technology is a fundamental first step. 

Target the Right Demographic

While the pent-up demand for travel is clear across all age groups, it’s the Millennial and Generation Z demographics that are projected to revive the travel industry to its former glory and beyond. Armed with $350 billion in spending power, these two generations are the most eager to resume travel.

Tapping into the industry’s pent-up vaxication demand means appealing to the needs of the ‘next-gen’ Millennial and Gen Z traveler. They seek budget-friendly, convenient, and comfortable escapades but value authentic, true-to-culture experiences above all else, Google reveals. In fact, 76% of Millennials want to learn exciting information about the place they’re visiting and enjoy informative tours.

Tailoring tours and activities to the Millenial and Generation Z demographic involves utilizing one of the most powerful vacation decision-makers available – social media.

Leverage the Power of Social Media 

The tourism industry offers beautiful visual experiences to holidaymakers, so it’s unsurprising that visual platforms like Instagram and YouTube have become the go-to place for people seeking travel inspiration and ideas. 

If you’re looking to tap into the travel demand to boost your business’ exposure and revenue, establishing a strong social media presence should be a top priority. Drawing people in with your beautiful photographs, promotional videos, and optimized, personality-driven captions can pique their interest enough for them to visit your website. 

Also, with so many people still yet to go on their first vaxication, using FOMO (the ‘fear of missing out’) as a marketing tool is a reliable method of generating new customers. What’s even better is that thanks to social media, you don’t even need to do it yourself.

The mere existence of social media in customers’ lives allows you to attract new customers whether they’re looking for you or not. 86% of people (and 92% of Gen-Z) admitted to becoming interested in a travel location only after seeing user-generated content, according to Nosto

And where do they see this content? The social media pages of their friends, family, and peers. 

pent up demand for travel

Using social media for tourism marketing can help with boosting brand awareness, growing your guest list, securing more bookings, and helping you cultivate a loyal customer base. 

Engage More Users With Video Marketing

Social media marketing and video marketing often come hand-in-hand, but you don’t have to exclusively create videos for your social media channels. 

Your video marketing strategy could involve creating a video campaign for your own website or travel-related blogs. You could also create videos for industry events or PPC (pay-per-click) ads. Regardless of where you choose to house your videos, the most important thing is that your videos are engaging.

Promotional videos can capture not just the ambiance of your experience, but also your brand’s culture and personality. They can also communicate your health and safety messages, any perks your tour has, and how your business is approaching the new normal. 

Video marketing gives you the opportunity to sell your experience visually. And with all of the free video editing software available, creating an engaging, informative, and aesthetically pleasing video has never been easier. 

Re-engage and Re-train Your Employees

New and seasoned employees re-entering the workplace need to be equipped to handle the post-Covid crowd. With health and safety at the forefront and customer expectations reimagined, investing in up-to-date training and education can help staff to deliver exceptional customer experiences in the new climate.

You should train your team on how to:

  • Deliver personalized customer experiences.
  • Handle complaints and concerns.
  • Follow health and safety protocols.
  • Ask for genuine feedback.

Some of the best sales training techniques include designing a step-by-step curriculum, taking advantage of online resources, and allowing new hires to shadow experienced employees. 

Are You Ready To Face New Travel Demands?

Optimizing your business to fit the new normal involves reassessing and realigning the entire business process, from internal operations to marketing and sales strategies. At the forefront of your considerations should be the new needs and expectations of your customers, and how you can optimize your business processes to deliver exceptional vaxication experiences. 

A tour-operating booking software can help you manage changing customer demands. Rezdy features include real-time pricing and availability, digital guest manifests, and automatic email reminders, allowing you to provide the flexibility and informational visibility that customers and employees desire.

Think Rezdy can help you tap into pent-up travel demands? Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial or book a demo today.

 

Written By – Grace Lau – Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn. Grace has also written content for TechDecisions and Hongkiat.

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