Spring Break, Here We Come! How Marketers Can Make the Most of Peak Travel Booking
Feb 2, 2022
Travel booking trends typically curve upward from January and peak in early August. However, a key booking period that often gets overlooked is from late February to the end of April for Spring Break travel.
Whether you’re into skiing or sunbathing, Spring Break has long been thought of as a vacation that starts the countdown to summer. But within the past few years, it’s been difficult to predict whether travel is even possible. It’s also no secret that the travel industry has had its share of ups and downs since March 2020. Amid all these changes and uncertainty—CJ trends show that travel is gaining momentum again. To help you connect with travelers who are booking now for Spring Break and early summer travel destinations, we’ve gathered insights and strategies for these strange times to pack into your campaign carry-on.
Tighter Booking Windows and Flexible Booking
The travel news source Skift recently released their annual Megatrends report for 2022 where they point out that “uncertainty is the new certainty,” however, that doesn’t mean consumers won’t be willing to trade in their sweatpants for speedos this Spring Break. This winter saw the fast and furious spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the US, but trends for travel for 2022 are still strong. The milder variant, coupled with readily available vaccines and virus treatments, may not have put a damper on new or upcoming travel plans. COVID's impact on travel seems to be lessening despite case numbers getting bigger.
CJ Network data shows that booking for spring and summer is happening now through April and it’s happening quickly. We’ve also seen trends showing that the time from booking to travel window has shortened: last Q1, 47% of bookings occurred within seven days of their stay and 28% booked within six weeks of their stay.
Due to ever-changing travel restrictions (or simply because it’s more convenient), travelers prefer the flexible booking options that became essential early in the pandemic. This Spring Break expects tighter travel windows as people may be booking or canceling at the last minute depending on their circumstances.
Types of Trips for Spring Break (And the Rest of 2022)
With so many changes impacting the ability to travel, there have been big shifts in the places, stay types, and activities that consumers are booking.
Here’s a list the of travel personas to market to in 2022 and how to take action:
The great American road trip made a comeback in 2020 as a safer travel method, and travelers won’t be hitting the brakes anytime soon. People seeking national parks for more outdoor experiences have become more popular than ever, leading to record-breaking visitor numbers. According to a report from the World Travel & Tourism Council and Trip.com, more than half of global travelers plan to take a domestic trip in 2022, and as per the Arrivalist’s Travel Index extended rural stays in the US will continue despite travel to big cities normalizing.
Take action: This type of travel leads to booking more alternatives such as yurts, treehouses, and Airstream trailers in addition to traditional camping. Pairing rental cars promotions with alternative lodging links might catch those looking for a long road trip.
Some workers can’t take a whole week off, but remote and hybrid work models have made it easier to work from a vacation spot for an extended trip. Together with the rise of road trips, driving and vacation rentals have been having a moment, especially during vacay and work hybrid trips.
Take action: Audience segmentation will be key to reaching digital nomads. However, if audience segmenting isn’t possible, marketers can appeal to these travelers by highlighting unique experiences and “outside the box” lodging (as long as their office treehouse rental has WIFI).
Pent-up demand to simply “go somewhere” can translate to “go big or stay home” when it comes time to book. Some travelers have accumulated disposable income while staying home, which has led to an increase in spending for vacations, with people willing to pay more for higher quality hotels and amenities, activities, or expensive destinations.
CJ Network Data shows that in 2022, the US remains the number one booking destination for travelers, followed by UK, France, Spain, and Germany. As the list of countries opening their borders to international travel is slowly becoming larger, bucket-list trips are slowly being reimagined. Some international spots that rely on tourism, like resorts in Mexico, have reopened and rebounded very quickly, whereas some bucket-list trips to the likes of Japan or Australia must remain on the back burner for now.
Take action: Curate emails and content lists by highlighting incentives to US, UK, France, Spain, and Germany and the fact that they are open to tourism. Those taking a big trip may also need a big packing list to feel ready to go. Bundling travel-specific promotions with retail complements consumers that need to restock up on travel necessities. When assembling newsletters or round-up content lists, consider including luggage, outdoor equipment, apparel, health and beauty, or even meal services (those that are staying put in a vacation rental, might find these handy!).
Ready for takeoff?Building out strategies with these trends in mind will help you navigate any possible turbulence for the travel sector in 2022.