When is the right time to visit your destination?
The pandemic has changed many things in this world, including the way everyone travels. Industries had to adapt and tailor their product to the current customer need. Travel was one of the massively affected industries and the aftershock continues due to the unstable pandemic development and constantly changing travel restrictions.
The truth is – the world will never be the same. During the periods of lockdown, travelers had time to plan and prioritize what’s important to them. Trends are changing and many businesses, including tourism boards and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs), need to keep up. Considering this, Kiwi.com launched an initiative to help DMOs with promoting destinations and getting inbound traffic back to pre-pandemic numbers. Here we look at the difficulties faced by tourism boards and what can be achieved, following the webinar “Tourism recovery: Ready for take off?” organized by Aviadev Europe and Kiwi.com.
Low season and digital nomads as the new normal
With travel turned on its head and the requirements of the customer changing as they adapt to life post Covid, tourism boards will start to see different trends and can no longer rely on the expected patterns and behaviours of years gone by. They will need to consider promoting the destination no matter whether the high or the low season, showing it’s value and accessibility throughout the year, focusing in on what it has to offer beyond the high season.
Today, destinations should start planning and considering the low season.
It’s apparent that destinations are not used to marketing themselves outside their high season; however, it’s becoming the new normal and necessary, taking the fact that the high season is unlikely to peak as before. Today, many tourism boards and DMOs are already switching their focus towards branding and storytelling rather than traditional advertising. Promotion is shifting towards emotions and relevance, telling stories about everyday life, people, and nature.
Ged Brown, CEO and Co-founder at Low Season Traveller, commented: “Today, destinations should start planning and considering the low season. If the weather is the main selling point, the focus should be switched instead to the cultural heritage, food, music, gastronomy, and natural surroundings. All this is available all year round, including low season.”
Another missed opportunity for many destinations lies in untraditional visitors who are not tourists but digital nomads coming to a desirable destination for a longer period of time. Wouter Veenstra, Data Products Manager at Kiwi.com, explained: “Nowadays, there are tons of alternative opportunities that destinations should focus on, including the new trend of digital nomads. These are people who come to a destination to work for several months, take photos, share them with friends, inspire others, and invite others to come and join them. No matter what season it is, people will love to go and book a flight and spend some time outside the home, away from the place they were stuck for the past year or more.”
Search data as the basis to better understand travelers
Before getting into tools and processes on how to boost inbound traffic, it’s essential to understand the travelers’ demand. In pre-pandemic times the travel industry was focusing on booking data, taking the number of bookings as a solid and proven factor. The pandemic, however, has changed everything, once travelers couldn’t plan in advance anymore and process bookings with the same confidence as before.
Today, the travel industry is switching towards search data to understand behaviours. Even though the numbers don’t show the confirmed traffic, it shows traveler demand, dreams, and plans. Additionally, searches show origin countries and cities from where travelers would depart, and such data is a priceless piece of the puzzle. By having this information, tourism boards and DMOs can cooperate with carriers and companies, such as Kiwi.com, to connect their final destination with those under-served origin destinations.
We see an average of 55 million searches made globally per day and all this information is priceless.
Veenstra, added: “Search data is honest and unbiased data of traveler demand today. We rely on search numbers coming from our global Kiwi search dataset, which are searches being made on Kiwi.com but also on the websites of our partners, such as Skyscanner, Kayak, Momondo, and many more. In our global dataset, we are seeing demand growing continuously. Looking at a sample taken of searches from the month of May, we see an average of 55 million searches made globally per day and all this information is priceless.”
“By utilising Kiwi.com search data, DMOs can see what uncovered opportunities there are. It’s possible to see the top origin destinations, the most and least popular months of travel, and what day of the week the passenger would like to travel. The data can also uncover connectivity opportunities based on different seasons and untapped markets. That’s where the cooperation with different carriers and companies like Kiwi.com comes into effect, where we can look for solutions and connect travelers through our Virtual Interlining algorithm, no matter the carrier or destination of origin.”
Kiwi.com helps destinations increase their visibility and boost awareness
Once the tourism board or DMO identifies those missed opportunities and builds a list of target markets they can attract, it’s time to think of promotion. Taking the current digital trends, Kiwi.com focuses on digital destination management, creating awareness campaigns, and increasing destination visibility. In return, tourism boards and DMOs get access to a solid worldwide customer database and reach new audiences previously omitted.
Destinations can benefit from campaigns focused on each sales funnel step, including awareness, consideration, and transaction. Awareness campaigns will include promotion via the travel blog, Kiwi.com Stories, and through social media and inspirational email marketing. Consideration campaigns cover the step when travelers are already looking for ways to get to the destination, through activating search banners and retargeting. As the last sales step, transactional campaigns include discounts and email marketing.
Are you interested to learn what your missed opportunities may be and find solutions on how to get your destination back on travelers’ minds? We are happy to look into it! Don’t hesitate to contact us via the form below.