In 2020, global travelers realized that the ability to travel could be taken away in the blink of an eye. The travel and tourism industry flipped upside down as travel restrictions and social distancing went into place. Luckily, things are looking up for the new year. Read on to discover 21 travel industry trends to look for in 2021.
If you need help putting together a marketing plan for your vacation rental, boutique hotel, or bed and breakfast, request a free one-page marketing plan. 2021 is one of the most important years for travel in history. Now is the time to make sure you’re effectively driving direct bookings to your small business. In our one-page plan, we’ll analyze your current marketing strategy and help you meet your goals in 2021.
21 Travel Industry Trends in 2021
1. More Digital Nomads
Digital nomads became a trend pre-pandemic, and will continue to be in 2021. More people are working remotely, and it’s easier to travel the world while working from your laptop! All you need is a strong WiFi connection and access to your Zoom account. It will be interesting to see workers transition from business offices to home offices to island offices.
As we mentioned, more people are working remotely than ever before and have the opportunity to go on workcations. This is a great way to take a trip without having to use up PTO days. Travelers can go to new destinations, work their normal hours, and explore after hours.
Just like workers, students are working remotely through virtual learning. Students can take their classes anywhere. Plus, exploring new cities offers more opportunities for learning geography, history, and art through museums and historic sites!
For those who choose not to fly to new destinations, staycations are an excellent option. Staycations are great because you can feel like you’re on vacation and relax without leaving town. Now is the time to market your property to locals in your area who want to travel and stay close to home.
5. Road Trips
Additionally, because some travelers are not comfortable going through airports and flying, more people are taking the high road and driving to their destinations. This ensures less contact with other travelers while still getting the opportunity to travel.
6. Glamper Van Road Trips
If you’re going on a road trip, why not do it in style? In 2021, we may see more glamping and less quick travel, like flying. Some luxury vans and RVs even have kitchens and showers! So, what does this mean for your business? You can target these travelers and market towards these people by informing them that your property is the perfect stop during a road trip.
7. Increased Desire for Outdoorsy Destinations
The best way to social distance and stay six feet apart is through outdoor activities! If your town is known for its outdoor recreation, you will have an advantage this year.
8. Fit Trips and Healthy Eating
This goes along the lines of outdoor activities and social distancing as well. You should be marketing towards travelers who are trying to stay fit and healthy. If your area is known for hiking or you offer onsite yoga classes, let it be known. During the pandemic, more people are focused on their health and wellness to stay immune to COVID-19 and the flu. Plus, with more people cooped up inside, many are making it a point to work on their mental health, too!
9. Higher Hygiene Standards
Guests are more cautious than ever about the cleanliness of hotels, B&Bs, and vacation rentals. Make sure you are deep cleaning your property frequently and informing potential guests of your cleaning procedures.
10. Contactless Service
Americans are becoming more comfortable with traveling as contactless service becomes available. Restaurants are now offering mobile menus rather than paper menus, mobile payments like PayPal and Venmo over cash and card payments, and room service over hotel restaurants.
11. No–Fee Trip Changes
Travel regulations change so frequently that people are scared to book in fear that they won’t be refunded if plans change. Luckily, many airlines offer no–fee trip changes!
12. Last–Minute Travel Plans
Since we don’t know what a city or state’s laws may be two months from now, many travelers are spontaneously booking last-minute vacations.
13. More Travelers Choosing Vacation Rentals
Vacation rentals have an advantage because they allow guests to social distance and have with less contact with other guests.
14. Pre-Travel Testing
Destinations like Hawaii require travelers to either quarantine or provide a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, so make sure that you communicate the message to your guests.
15. Creative and Innovative Marketing Techniques
2020 was a year of innovation and forced many of us to get creative. The world went virtual and so did travel! Some destinations were offering virtual tours so you could pretend like you were on vacation even though it wasn’t possible. Marketing language has also shifted as we’ve become more empathetic towards our audiences. It will be interesting to see the innovation 2021 brings!
16. Small–Group Vacations
You should target your marketing towards small groups and families, as many families can’t currently have large family reunions.
17. Younger Travelers
This year, we expect Millennials to travel rather than older people as it may still be unsafe for older crowds.
18. Travelers’ Wanderlust Is at an All–Time High
Most people have not been able to travel for almost a year. We’re bound to feel a little wanderlust. As vaccinations become available across the country, travel restrictions may loosen up throughout 2021.
19. No Need for Travel Agents When You’re a Local Expert
Travel agents are a hot commodity as people search for a local insider’s expertise. People want to know what the COVID-19 restrictions are in an area. They want to know if businesses are open. What better place to get that information than from a local expert? Make sure you provide your local knowledge to your guests during these uncertain times.
20. Destination Popularity Will be Dictated by State and City Laws as Well as Other Factors
Some cities will be more popular than others as they have more businesses open and fewer restrictions. Expect some towns to become COVID-19 hot spots while others lose business. The popularity of a destination will depend on several factors.
21. Detailed and Timely Communications
Now, more than ever, it’s important that you keep your guests updated on things happening in your area that could affect their travels. This is a scary time for many, so your communication will help!
Get on Track in 2021
Now is the time to get your boutique hotel, B&B, or vacation rental business on track. The future of travel may be uncertain, but we can make sure you are doing everything in your power to be successful. Get in touch, and we’ll come up with a strategic plan to get you more bookings in 2021!