Phocuswright Europe is an annual highlight of the global events calendar, with leading brands from across the industry descending on Amsterdam to share ideas and talk about all things travel. While global travel restrictions meant this year’s event felt a little different, we were thrilled to be part of the virtual line-up of speakers for the two day event.
With the European travel market facing a unique set of challenges, this year’s conference theme of Travel’s Next Era felt very apt indeed. We heard from a wide range of voices from across the industry, sharing unique insights into the current state of the tourism sector, along with ideas for recovery and success going forward.
On day one of the conference, we hosted our annual breakout session, giving us the opportunity to share brand new insights from our recent Traveler Sentiment Study. Conducted by research experts dscout, the study has helped us learn more about how consumers are thinking and feeling about travel during the time of COVID-19.
In a first for the Expedia Group Media Solutions team, the breakout session also gave us a chance to share some video testimonials from research study participants. This additional level of insight has been hugely helpful in understanding travelers’ hopes and concerns during this challenging time. More importantly, it has helped us bring nuance to our messaging and creative strategy to ensure our partners’ marketing activity hits the right travelers, with the right content, when the time is right. Here are a few of the themes we covered:
Friends and family are the focus
The pandemic has kept many of us from our loved ones and this was a theme that cropped up repeatedly within the research, both in the survey data and in video testimonials from participants. When asked the reason for their next trip, 29% stated they were taking a family leisure trip, followed closely by 28% who were traveling to visit friends and family.
Hygiene is front of mind
Unsurprisingly, health and hygiene information is critical to travel decisions in the current climate. This new focus is a large shift from previous attitudes, since many travelers just hadn’t considered these as primary decision drivers prior to the start of the crisis. Above all else, travelers want to be reassured that it is safe to travel, and they want to see relevant information and messaging from travel brands.
Travelers are turning to cars
Traveler likelihood of getting to their destination via car increased, when comparing pre-COVID-19 preferences and future leisure travel transportation. Destinations should target drive markets – and beyond – to attract potential visitors and should provide information on open businesses, off-the-beaten-path activities, and socially-distant experiences.
We were happy to share the findings from this study with the Phocuswright audience. We hope that these insights, combined with our Expedia Group data, will provide our advertising partners with a comprehensive picture of how travelers are thinking about travel in the time of COVID-19.