Keeping our travel dreams alive – are experience brands the answer?

Charlie Rutherford

Charlie Rutherford

Lead - Destination Marketing & Campaigns

Knowing the latest research and insights on consumer travel trends is a priority for us at DMS to ensure we can continue to deliver destination success for our clients.

When we saw the release of the Consumer Travel Trend forecast by NewsCorp Australia, we weren’t surprised to see some familiar themes highlighted. We thought it a good opportunity to check in on these insights and think about how it can, and should influence the work we do in destination branding, marketing and management.

We know, that in the post covid world, travellers are seeking more than just your typical holiday.  They are longing for a sense of escape, and experiences that create life-long memories with those most important to them. After living a more simplistic way of life during the pandemic, we have become hyper-aware of those small things that really matter to us. Luckily for our clients in the tourism industry, the experiences you offer can deliver on these needs, wants and choices of Australians today, if positioned and marketed to deliver destination success.

Here are some of the key take-outs from the research and our thoughts on these:

Short and sweet

Luckily for us, domestic travel feeds directly into travellers’ desire for short, sweet and frequent trips. Although financial times may be tight, Australians do not want to give up on that holiday dream. The chance for a fast-recharge not too far from home is a proposition potential travellers may find hard to resist. Yes, we talk a lot about increasing stays, and extending length of stay, but we also know the importance of advocacy and the link to return visitation/experience, so this is an opportunity to seek out that new audience not too far away, with a simple and compelling proposition that will attract them to visit, experience, and return for longer.

AI (here we go again!)

If we haven’t spoken about it enough already – the increasing importance of AI tools in the researching and planning of travel. A key focus for us at DMS, is to ensure we are staying at the forefront of new innovations in this space so we can deliver leading strategies to our clients that really optimise the use of AI in their destination and marketing plans. But we mustn’t lose sight of the importance of the destination brand – personality, voice and its promise to deliver, so staying true to this will be the key in effectively communicating and connecting with our audiences as we continue to move forward in this space.

Road trip!

A roadtrip is a good old Aussie tradition, and thanks to the costs of flights and the value of the dollar, this is not set to change any time soon. Having a clear understanding of your aspirational target market and knowing how far they are willing to travel to experience your product or destination will help you geotarget your marketing efforts to gain the best return. Furthermore, be sure to tell the story about the experiences and attractions that can be had along the way that makes the journey more appealing, particularly if they are free (helping to bring down those costs).

Bundling to save and manage

Most relevant to the international traveller, using points and rewards to pay are appealing as a way to save money and manage costs through the bundling of flights and accommodation.  But the same can be applied to the domestic traveller profile too. Destinations are becoming more proactive in the development of itineraries and packages that enable bundling. This continues to be an opportunity to enhance the experience as a whole and make the conversion from interest to a booking easier for the market through accessible and interesting itineraries or packages.

This is also an area of development the team at DMS are further exploring through the digital platform ComeVisit targeting the VFR market.

Foodies on a budget

Food and drink continues to be a high priority for many travellers, but we are seeing a skew to finding those more economical food experiences that mean they don’t have to sacrifice the trip for the food. The desire for high end experiences is certainly still there (and remains the most talked about moments on a trip) but, driven by cost of living pressures, those more adventurous travellers are prepared to explore other options for the culinary experience in a destination. An opportunity to talk up the local market foods and local DIY picnic spots perhaps?

As we see the focus on the importance of micro-moments, shared experiences and the sense of being well, is there an opportunity to really focus in on, and enhance a destination’s offering through the development of strong experience brands that can speak directly to these needs? We think so!

Source: These insights and findings were sourced through behavioural data from the News Travel Network audience and primary research conducted by News Corp, with specialist research partners. Overlaid with global and domestic research and the insights of the company’s senior travel editors to predict the key consumer travel trends.

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