In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. travel industry is steadily returning to a path towards upward momentum, but the lingering effects of COVID-19 and new inflationary challenges are prompting people to tread cautiously. Despite positive momentum behind its regrowth, the travel industry will continue to face significant headwinds in 2023. Stubborn price inflation and a potential recession are emerging dampeners to growth, with 8-in-10 U.S. travelers changing travel itineraries to adjust for these economic factors.
My Code Intelligence Center’s 2023 U.S. Traveler Landscape was created with the purpose of providing travel brands with key data points and insights on the attitudes and behaviors of diverse U.S. travelers for strategic development and execution for continued growth in 2023 and beyond. The insights within this report serve as a starting point and roadmap to help the travel industry embrace and execute culturally aligned marketing and advertising with confidence. Here’s what the research shows:
TRAVEL IS BACK ON THE ROADMAP
Despite persistent COVID-19 concerns and cautious spending during the current economic climate, personal travel has rebounded across the board, with 76%+ of all U.S. adults planning to travel at least once this year, compared to 45%+ in the past year. The LGBTQIA+ community is leading the charge with greater trip frequency and planned spend, and is more likely to engage with the travel industry. In fact, nearly 6-in-10 LGBTQIA+ members surveyed reported planning three or more personal trips in the next 12 months. Businesses should be tapping into incremental growth opportunities where diverse travelers plan to allocate spend.
MAKE YOUR BRAND A PRIORITY FOR DIVERSE BUSINESS TRAVELERS
Shifts to remote and hybrid workplaces are likely contributing to increasing numbers of business travelers extending business travel to include personal travel, with Hispanic and openly LGBTQIA+ travelers in the lead.
- While 2-in-3 U.S. business travelers plan to extend their business trips to include personal travel, Hispanic and openly LGBTQIA+ travelers are the most likely to do so, indexing higher than any other U.S. traveler group at 71% & 74%, respectively.
- Hispanic and openly LGBTQIA+ business travelers are the most likely to drive incremental growth in the next twelve months.
- Hispanic and LGBTQIA+ travelers are also the most likely to prioritize what they spend money on when traveling.
Travel brands must develop culturally aligned strategies to ensure they are a spending priority among business travelers.
CLOSE THE UNDERSTANDING GAP TO MAXIMIZE OPPORTUNITIES AMONG DIVERSE TRAVELERS
Advertising that leaves diverse travelers feeling understood bolsters brand consideration. While 67% of openly LGBTQIA+ travelers feel understood by travel brands, less than 50% of multicultural travelers feel that industry understands them.
By creating advertising experiences combining media placements, creatives, and content that leaves AANHPI, Black, Hispanic, and openly LGBTQIA+ travel intenders feeling understood, brands will establish stronger emotional connections that translate to greater potential of winning their business now and in the future.
Overall, we found that while the conversation around marketing to multicultural audiences focused on the why and how, there was still hesitation around whether investment in diverse audiences would have value and return on ad spend. It’s critical to remember that brands don’t create culture, but they do need to understand culture and be part of it. Culture is not a tentpole event, it is every day. According to My Code Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer White, “We are way beyond test budgets at this point. Brands need to focus on and meaningfully invest in diverse audiences now. If they start 5 years from now, it will be too late.”
In a fiercely competitive environment, it is crucial for travel industry marketers to seize every opportunity to edge out the competition and capture the business of diverse travelers in 2023 and beyond. The key to winning diverse travelers’ business lies in truly understanding their unique perspectives and preferences. By tailoring media plans, creatives, and content to cater to diverse travelers’ unique needs and preferences. Closing the understanding gap will unlock untapped opportunities and create meaningful connections with diverse traveler segments.
Travel brands can download the full 2023 U.S. Traveler Landscape now to close the understanding gap and unlock untapped opportunities to create meaningful connections with diverse U.S. travelers.