Promote the Gift of Travel this Holiday Season

Halloween hasn’t even happened, but before you know it Thanksgiving in the U.S. will be upon us, along with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Travel Tuesday, and—of course—the holiday season. That means travel marketers should already be thinking about how they can reach shoppers, so they can give their businesses the boost they need going into the new year.

Practical Reasons to Consider Experiential Giving

The latest Expedia Group Media Solutions research indicates that traveler sentiment and behavior remain cautiously optimistic, despite the COVID-19 Delta variant slowing recovery for many of our travel partners. That’s why now, more than ever, travel marketers must focus their efforts on engaging and reassuring travel shoppers when they may be hesitant to commit. The key is to not only inspire travelers to dream about their own post-pandemic vacation, but also to remind them of some of the reasons to consider the gift of travel this holiday season.

First, supply chain issues are predicted to affect the price and availability of products, which means it will cost more and take longer for tangible gifts to arrive on time. Second, virtual and intangible presents take the hassle out of holiday gifting. And third, people are eager to travel after being stuck inside for nearly two years.

Another, and perhaps more important, reason is that as we continue to spend more time at home and adjust to new ways of living, we’ve found an increased appreciation for life’s simple pleasures, and the value of prioritizing one’s physical and mental health. This means that collecting tangible, material things has become far less important, and experiencing life—and other people, places, and cultures—has become more so.

Millennials and Generation Z Prefer Experiences

By taking advantage of this trend, travel marketers have an opportunity to more precisely target, engage, and convert shoppers, particularly millennials and Generation Z. We’ve known for a while now—even before the pandemic—that millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences over material goods. According to an Expedia study from 2017, 65% of millennials said they were saving money for travel, and nearly half of them said they would sell their clothes or furniture to travel more.

This hasn’t changed with the pandemic. In a YPulse study from spring 2021, 59% of 13-19-year-olds and 49% of 20-39-year-olds chose travel as the activity they’re most excited to resume post-pandemic. Understandably, millennials—and Generation Z—are ready to make up for lost time.

But about when it comes to holiday shopping? Recent research from Sitecore, in their 2021 Holiday trends report, indicates that 49% of 18- to 44-year-olds don’t even plan to buy gifts this year, and instead plan to donate to charities. At the same time, 71% of 25-34-year-olds have more savings set aside for the holidays this year, and are thus equipped to spend if the product is something they feel strongly about.

Inspire Bucket-List Dreams as International Borders Open

With many countries opening their borders to international travelers for the first time in nearly 20 months, advertisers can leverage this desire to invest in experiences over goods, as well as the growing trend of “revenge travel,” in which a pent-up demand to get away means shoppers are willing to spend more than in pre-pandemic times.

What does this look like for travel marketers? This could mean promoting once-in-a-lifetime trips to dream destinations as shoppers start planning their epic return to international travel. It might mean encouraging families to plan a family reunion to make up for the lost time spent apart during lockdown. And it might mean highlighting the work-from-anywhere trend in which remote workers take advantage of opening borders by combining work with travel.

Partnering with Expedia Group Media Solutions

No matter the angle you choose, Expedia Group Media Solutions offers a variety of solutions to help marketers connect with holiday shoppers. Work alongside our award-winning Creative Partnerships team and tell your story via compelling media experiences, such as with an impactful Travel Spotlight. Maximize your brand’s visibility with TravelAds Sponsored Listings and Flight Sponsored Listings. Or extend your reach with shoppers using our PassportAds solution to keep your brand top of mind, even after they leave our sites. These are just a few of the ways you can connect your brands with travelers throughout the customer journey.

To learn more about the trends impacting the travel industry and gain insights into the shopper’s mindset, download our latest Travel Trend Recovery Report. You can also reach out to our experts for a one-on-on conversation about ways to market your brand this holiday season and beyond.

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Christine Walker Scarce

Senior Director, Product & Sales Marketing

Christine Walker Scarce leads the product marketing team at Expedia Group Media Solutions, overseeing the go-to-market strategies for the digital advertising products and services across the Expedia Group portfolio of leading travel brands. Her team is responsible for everything from product planning and positioning to marketing strategy to deliver innovative media offerings and reporting for marketing partners. Christine previously spent seven years at Expedia.com as the senior manager for destination management, where she led product strategy for Expedia.com. With more than 20 years in the marketing industry, Christine has experience in e-commerce, merchandising and technology industries, having led product strategy and development previously at Vegas.com and T-Mobile. She is a graduate from the University of Houston and lives in Seattle with her family.

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