Here at Expedia Group Media Solutions, our continued mission is to support our advertising partners as they navigate the COVID-19 crisis, including sharing best practices, data, and insights. As we look toward recovery, we’re working to understand how travelers are thinking about leisure travel in the time of COVID-19—their preferences, expectations of travel brands, and behaviors. We are tapping into these insights to help our advertising partners connect with highly engaged travel shoppers across Expedia Group brands around the globe.
We recently conducted a Traveler Sentiment Study with research experts dscout to understand what is driving the decisions of today’s travel shoppers and we’re sharing our findings via webinars, virtual events, and series of blog posts. Our first post looks at the overarching trends that our research uncovered. Among other data points, we learned that planned leisure trips through December 2020 are primarily domestic (76%) and focused on quality time with loved ones: family leisure trips, visiting friends and/or relatives, and romantic trips are the top trip types.
Although a slight skew toward domestic travel and the popularity of family vacations aligns with some of our prior custom research, accommodation preferences have shifted in recent months.
Of the 9 in 10 travelers who would be comfortable booking accommodations for a leisure trip in September or October, travelers are most comfortable staying in a vacation rental (31%), followed by chain hotels (28%), and resorts (15%). Health and hygiene, along with convenience and promotions, are important factors for travel shoppers.
Top considerations for future leisure trip accommodation decisions include:
- 91% Health and hygiene information (i.e. cleaning, sanitizing protocols)
- 78% Proximity to activities and experiences of interest
- 73% Special deals and offers
- 66% Online ratings and reviews
“My future accommodations will be very different as they will be more secluded and private. I don’t want to be around a lot of people or large crowds.”
– dscout survey respondent, August 2020
Vacation rentals and lodging providers can attract potential guests by leading with detailed health and safety information. Expedia Group has been working closely with partners to provide travelers with up-to-date information on property cleanliness and amenities. While health and safety information is key, brands should not neglect messaging around elements like flexible cancellation policies, discounts or promotions, and information on nearby activities and experiences that are open for business, as these are also leading considerations when selecting leisure travel accommodations.
Making some of these adjustments will help our partners navigate the rapidly changing landscape and ensure that marketing activity reaches the right travelers, with the right messages, when the time is right. We believe that by sharing what is driving travel decisions—such as why travelers are flocking to vacation rentals—we can help travel advertisers stay relevant and engage potential visitors, whether in the vacation rental sector or elsewhere.
A bright spot for vacation rentals
When comparing pre-COVID-19 accommodation bookings for leisure travel, we see that traveler consideration for vacation rentals – as well as resorts – has increased slightly, while consideration for other accommodation types decreased. From Flexcations to the rise of road trips and secondary cities, travelers are turning to vacation rentals for leisure travel in the time of COVID-19.
In May, we announced the addition of Vrbo to the Media Solutions brand portfolio, providing a new opportunity for our advertising partners to connect with Vrbo’s distinct travel audiences—including family travelers. As of this week, we’re excited to share that advertising on Vrbo has expanded and is now available on multiple Vrbo brands and points of sale around the world, including Vrbo Spain, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Stayz Australia, and more.
In addition to the Vrbo brand and points of sale expansion, we have also added new targeting capabilities on Vrbo. Now, advertisers can target Vrbo’s audience based on travel start and end dates, number of travelers—including number of adults or kids, points of interest, destination country.
We are committed to helping our advertising partners through research and data-driven insights. We are also supporting our destination and accommodations partners with COVID-19 relief programs; learn more about those relief programs by checking out our COVID Resource Center.