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The COVID-19 pandemic has already altered prospects of the travel industry development. As of today, there are several clearly seen travel industry trends that have also affected the choice of marketing tools for promotion during this very challenging period.
Travel business had to adjust to work on ‘domestic directions’. According to Mastercard, in the second quarter of 2020 the share of car rental in total travel costs has almost doubled, from 9% in 2019 to 17%. A demand for rental of scooters and bicycles increased in some countries. Most tourists today choose land transportation. So, according to NAFI, 63% Russians who traveled this summer went by car.
In this regard, many countries put emphasis on domestic tourism development programs in their strategies until the end of 2020. So, for instance, in Russia every tourist who purchases a package tour from a travel operator can count on cash back on his travel card.
But what about foreign tourists? As we highlighted time and again, countries and regions should actively use new AR and VR technologies in their marketing strategies and arrange live streams.
This trend logically originates from the previous one. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that most travelers who like going abroad know next to none about landmarks of their own countries. Moreover, it is domestic tourists who can become excellent ambassadors, attracting even more attention to their region by means of their reviews and posts.
So, in Russia, after most pandemic restrictions were eased, a demand for city and excursion tours increased a lot. The gain in the number of applications for excursion tours in July 2020 was from 60% to 100% in certain spheres, as compared to the same period in 2019.
This is where AR technologies may be of help again. For example, during an excursion one can not only visit existing city sites shown, but also see how a city could look like if some historic sites that had already been in tatters were kept pristine.
One more trend that should be underlined in terms of domestic tourism development is enhancement of nature parks and natural monuments. This meets a global trend of sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism development.
Countries and regions need to get a good look at parks and natural monuments, evaluate whether their development is funded sufficiently and whether this issue is actually given enough consideration.
Travelers prefer small accommodation places more and more often. According to Mastercard, the rate of little hotel recovery wins large hotels by more than 50%.
In this situation, in their promotion strategy large hotels should pay attention to precaution measures taken to make tourists’ stay as safe and, strange as it may seem, privy as possible.
Mastercard analyzed expenses made from cards of individuals as compared to ones of corporate card keepers. The analysis shows that the expenses on private air travels and car rental recovers faster than on business trips. In general, the lockdown period made it clear than many business issues can be discussed online, and it is unlikely to see in the nearest future that the business trip market will get back to its old figures.
However, as for private trips, as far back as in August, when Turkey, Tanzania, and Great Britain opened their borders, Russians, though not as actively as before, still got up the nerve to go abroad. However, the lockdown period kindled many tourists’ fears and barriers. For example, every fourth Russian noted that it became hard to plan a trip, and there is a fear that it will be cancelled.
In this regard, when promoting regions, travel offices should pay special attention to content and the key message of the whole marketing campaign. Remember that today the most important factor and motivator for tourists to buy a tour or a ticket to one or another country is not only an opportunity to visit a destination, but also to travel as safely and openly as possible.
When everyone switched to working from home (well, almost everyone) and is not bound to office any more, the segment of remote workers grew. However, this audience can be of interest for countries for several reasons: they come for a long time, continue earning and, consequently, spending money, publish a lot of content from their new home office and, in fact, become ambassadors in promotion of your region.
So, Dubai presented a new annual program for foreign professionals who work remotely because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Dubai suggests mixing business with pleasure and getting seduced from a laptop in the height of the workday, for example, by a walk on a sunny beach. Georgia came up with a similar proposal for freelancers, too.
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About the Author
Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog