February 18, 2022
The travel industry will continue facing a breadth of challenges and opportunities in 2022, according to new findings from market researcher YouGov.
The situation ostensibly feels like a two-sided coin as many consumers still do not feel comfortable traveling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet vaccination rollouts and lower case numbers in certain regions have many others clamoring to return to trips. The year ahead indicates that brands will be called to focus more on consumer travel inspiration and motivation as the key drivers behind a surging demand for travel.
The YouGov Travel & Tourism: Brand & Destination Rankings Report 2022 was based on the YouGov Brand Index and YouGov Destination Index, respectively. The markets included in this report are Australia, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, UAE, the U.K, and the U.S.
Travel brands are actively working to adhere to a complex landscape, with ever-evolving regulations and disparate consumer preferences, especially based on region. Although some are still wary, the desire to return to travel is palpable across the world.
Experts are anticipating that many of the challenges of the past two years will continue throughout 2022, as different countries and regions are in different stages of recovery.
Looking at the year ahead, brands are being called to collect and observe sentiment data to determine what motivates their audiences most and how they are or are not meeting their needs. Travel organizations also need to create a value proposition, which will enable them to determine what consumers value most and how to obtain their loyalty.
Another area of focus for brands is fostering market channels to attract new audiences. Brands can foster their digital offerings and partner with influencers and beyond in trying new methods to obtain new customers.
Brands that are operating in countries where borders are reopening must revisit what those audiences are seeking and be willing to redefine brand placements to reach them.
The industry is also expected to shift their marketing to align with consumer inspiration and motivation, seeking to highlight offerings that meet consumers’ hopes for travel. This can vary by market.
When asked about their top travel motivations, 47 percent of Nordic consumers said they were driven by the “need for relaxation,” while 35 percent said they wanted to “go to a destination they always wanted to visit.”
Among the 11 APAC countries surveyed, 43 percent of consumers indicated they wanted to “find space for relaxation and wellbeing,” and the same percentage of people said they “needed to get away.”
Brands have many opportunities across the Middle East, as the UAE holds a current vaccination rate of more than 90 percent, which is one of the highest in the world.
Hospitality brands in the UAE — specifically five-star institutions — have adapted and gained insights domestically and internationally. They also have been conducting sponsorship evaluation work and tracking increases in brand awareness, which are methods that could benefit other brands in disparate regions.
Brands in North America are actively focusing on brand strengths and pondering barriers to travel when conducting research. This region is focusing on high-value consumers as well and is prioritizing leisure travel over business travel.
Traveling with intention
After living amid restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic for more than two years, affluents are approaching travel with specific intentions.
Although holding differing objectives while some intend to celebrate and others to relax or curate an adventure, affluents will continue to expect the utmost quality from hospitality brands.
Hospitality group Rosewood Hotels & Resorts promoted wellness in the new year with a refreshed retreat lineup.
Appreciating the importance of sleep in one’s wellbeing, Rosewood introduced “Alchemy of Sleep” at 20 properties. The global collection of immersive retreats offers movement-driven activities; relaxing, sleep-inducing treatments and other amenities (see story).
Earlier this month, Marriott’s St. Regis New York unveiled a new “Gilded Age” package, an exclusive stay celebrating the new television series.
A period drama set in late 19th century New York, “The Gilded Age” premiered on HBO on Jan. 24 and follows the era’s elite and those trying to navigate immense economic change. St. Regis’ Gilded Age package invites guests to live like turn-of-the-century American royalty (see story).