With COVID-19 lockdowns still in place, in varying forms, in most regions across the world, it may seem like there's limited opportunity for travel marketing and pitching people on future holiday plans. But according to Pinterest interest in travel is seeing a resurgence, as more people look forward to future opportunities, and more travelers, right now, are moving through US airports.
Indeed, Pinterest says that more than 850,000 travelers passed through US airport security checkpoints on August 16th, which is almost 10x the volume of air travelers in early April. Those figures are still significantly down on the same time last year, but with reports of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines starting to trickle in, now might be the time to start helping users plan for that future escape that they'll most definitely be seeking once they're able to travel again.
As per Pinterest:
"Some of the trends we’re seeing? With COVID-19 still a concern, car-centered vacations are gaining ground. Searches for “cross country road trip” are up 89% while those for “road trips routes” have zoomed ahead 248%. Searches for outdoor-focused destinations are also spiking, with “lake weekend” up 41% and “national parks” up 60%. And “RV camping tips” searches have gained 1257%"
So, even with COVID-19 as a lingering concern, people are starting to consider their travel options. And if you're looking to reach them, Pinterest has this week provided some travel marketing tips to maximize your appeal to these consumers.
Help travelers imagine the future
A key opportunity for travel marketers is to highlight the experiences people can have via digital means, in order to increase enthusiasm for future planning.
Pinterest uses Disney Parks as an example here - with many people unable to travel, Disney has been sharing interactive online experiences, like virtual roller coaster rides, which showcase what its parks have to offer, helping to boost interest in future visits.
Reassure travelers by sharing your plans for safety and trust
Given the evolving nature of the pandemic, it's also important to reassure travelers that their bookings will be flexible, and that they'll be able to change the details, cancel, or reschedule easily as things arise.
This is a key element for travel brands, and various travelers have expressed frustration at not being able to obtain refunds, not being able to alter bookings and losing money as a result of changed health advice.
Being transparent, and helpful, on this front is key.
Keep travel within reach
Pinterest also notes that many travel brands are now pitching closer getaways and day breaks in order to appeal to travelers who may not yet be willing or able to commit to longer distance plans.
Pinterest uses Hilton Hotels as an example:
That won't be an option for all travel marketers, but there may be ways to reframe related offers and packages around closer locations, keeping health advice in mind, and still enabling an escape from the situation.
Stay on top of the trends
Pinterest also advises travel brands to use Pinterest Trends to help guide their pitches to interested groups.
On Pinterest Trends, you can enter any term and get insight into its popularity over time, as well as related trends, which can help to guide your strategic approach.
As you can see along the bottom of the chart (though they're fairly small in this image), 'beautiful places', 'adventure travel' and 'travel aesthetic' are trending searches linked to the broader 'travel' topic. Tapping into those subtopics will highlight the same chart for that specific element, while each also displays a listing of popular Pins in each category, highlighting what, exactly, Pinterest users are searching for.
Using this data, Pinterest has identified, for example, that searches for “national parks” have increased 60% year-over-year, which is what lead Southwest Airlines to build customized creative to help travelers visualize their trip.
Personalize your message based on peoples’ passions
Pinterest finally notes that travel brands can use Pinterest research to guide their approach by honing in on persona data.
"Visit California studied Pinterest Travel Personas to make sure they were appealing to people’s passions for travel that included wellness, spa, family, adventure and foodie experiences."
Again, starting with Pinterest Trends, and the platform's own published insights, you can formulate a more cohesive outline of the different elements of interest, then link that to specific pitches within your outreach efforts.
There are some good tips here, and with 416 million people now actively using Pinterest - more than ever during the COVID-19 lockdowns - it could be a good platform to, at the least, experiment with and see how you can align your pitch based on available data.
And while these trends are specific to Pinterest, they likely also reflect broader interests. As such, you could also use Pin data to fuel your approach on other platforms as well.
You can read Pinterest's full travel insights report here.