Guidance for Brands Navigating the Fall Travel Season 

In late spring, as more Americans received the vaccine, the travel industry quickly began to rebound from its pandemic pause. Americans were eager to return to the road, skies, and their favorite venues. Travel brands seized the opportunity to regain market share and capture rising consumer demand with big campaigns and promotions.  

Unfortunately, COVID-19 variants have stoked a lingering sense of uncertainty among travelers and brands.  

However, TSA data shows that travel tends to decline in mid to late August. This year, travel numbers have not declined as much as they did during this time period in 2019 before the pandemicThis indicates that the Delta variant may not be materially impacting travel. 

We believe now is an important time to continue running thoughtful, agile TV streaming ad campaigns to meet this consumer need. In order to assist you, we’ve outlined our three key takeaways for how travel brands can successfully address this moment.  

1. Travelers are prioritizing 

domestic travel

Given the changing guidance around border closures and flight schedules, local and regional locales are becoming increasingly desirable travel destinations. 

Data from Morning Consult says that Americans remain most comfortable traveling in cars, with 72% saying they feel safe on a road trip, and 56% comfortable renting a car. eMarketer agrees, noting that travel advertisers are focusing efforts on local and regional destinations.  

 

Our Recommendation

In our travel survey, Roku users 18-34 have indicated that they are 84% more likely than those age 35+ to want to travel more frequently now than pre-pandemic. Additionally, 71% of this same group said location was an important factor when planning their next trip.1 So, as we head into the busy holiday season, you should be mindful of finding the right audience for your messaging- whether it’s geo-targeting local campaigns or connecting with those who are more likely to travel right now.  

 

2. Travelers are seeking flexibility as they plan trips 

With return to office postponements, travelers want more flexibility booking travel plans. 

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky believes travel flexibility is here to stay, saying, “flexibility is now a permanent part of travel. Nearly 40% of guests now use the flexible location and date search when they book a place to stay. The Delta variant also has introduced the prospect of changing travel restrictions and guidelines, so travelers need to be quick in shifting to their plan B. 

“People don't seem to be concerned enough not to travel... they do, however want to know all the variables and explore contingency plans as part of their normal planning process. -Eric Hrubant, President of CIRE Travel 

Our Recommendation

Because over half of Roku users said time of year was an important factor when planning their next trip, you should remain a step ahead of the travel landscape by emphasizing agility and flexibility in campaign messaging.1  


3. Travelers are looking for brands they can trust  

As consumers re-establish travel plans and travel habits, their ability to trust and rely on brands is top of mind. Messaging that underscores a commitment to safety is necessary. 

Our Recommendation

Travel advertisers should continue to engage audiences with the right message during this time. To build trust, you should run personalized messaging across the right channels. From TV streaming to web and mobile, Roku can help you create a full-funnel engagement strategy.  

Upper-Funnel: Inspiration and Awareness. Since one in three Roku users gets travel inspiration from TV, movies, and video content, aim to reach travel-ready streamers when they’re at home watching TV. 

Mid-Funnel: Planning and ConsiderationOne in three Roku users are more likely to consider travel brands if they provide access to free TV shows or movies content.  

We suggest building consideration by providing value to streamers with a Brand Experience. A Brand Experience empowers you to create custom experiences accessible on the Roku homescreen, in-stream video, search and content tiles. These experiences drive recommendations and surfaces content that your audience wants to watch. 

Lower-Funnel: Booking and ActionBecause one in five Roku users have acted as a result of seeing a travel ad on their Roku device, wrecommend you drive streamers from the TV screen to book their next vacation with our interactive TV ads and QR code products.1 

Staying Proactive & Flexible  

During uncertain times, it’s important to invest in marketing and maintain your relationship with consumers. With proper mitigation tactics in place, and a commitment to consumer’s safety and peace of mind, you'll keep your brand relevant and top of mind for consumers as they navigate the busy holiday travel season.  

And we’re here to help. Roku offers flexible, customizable ad campaigns that allow you to reach and connect with audiences most eager to travel, while enabling you the flexibility to shift tone and scope as the moment requires. Interested in advertising on Roku? Contact us to learn how we can help your travel brand navigate this changing landscape. 

Roku Internal Travel Survey, 2021