Why Creating Meaningful Connections in 2022 is Key for Your Tourism Business
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While many publications are predicting the latest travel trends for 2022, I wanted to focus on something that never goes out of style – meaningful connections. It’s always positive to take a fresh perspective and look inward at your communication strategies. The below 6 articles offer various angles to consider when implementing excellent messaging and communication with your audience.
Let’s get started.
- 7 Top Travel Trend Predictions 2022
- Why Mindful and Meaningful Communications Must Play a Key Role in the Future of Tourism
- Is Reducing Housekeeping Services the New Greenwashing
- Survival Talk by ATTA’s CEO Shannon Stowell
- The Shadow of Uncertainty Over Travel has Been Lifted
- Do not Count Out Gen Z as the Experience Generation
Here's this week's roundup:
7 Top Travel Trend Predictions for 2022
The latest report from Booking.com signals the positive resurgence of travel that we’ve all needed, and are hopefully already seeing. The research has been taken from a sample of 24,000 travellers across 31 different countries to predict the 7 newest travel trends for 2022. Alongside this Booking.com have highlighted the most trending travel spots for tourists, is the country you serve one of them?
Here are the 7 top travel trends for 2022;
1. New Faces and Places
2022 is set to be the year travellers are most looking forward to branching out and making new, meaningful connections.
- 60% of travellers hope to meet new people while travelling
- Love is also in the air with 50% of travellers reporting they want to find romance on their next adventure
2. Chasing that First Time Feeling
A myriad of quotes can sum up this trend, but we’ll go with the most popular “The journey is more important than the destination”. 75% of travellers feel that the journey should be just as enjoyable as the trip itself.
58% of travellers say they like to try new and interesting transport options when on the move. Perhaps your itinerary can include different modes of transport, other than taxis. Trains, along with boats are easy options to incorporate, however, for some more peculiar modes of transport read this article here for Rough Guides 10 unusual picks.
3. Resetting Work Boundaries
Travellers have had over a year of becoming either digital nomads, or opting for working holidays. 2022 will be the time people want to reset those work boundaries between work and free time. 73% of travellers say they want vacation time to be strictly work-free on their trips next year, to help them refocus their energy on self-care and creating meaningful connections with those around them.
4. Travel as Self-Care
79% of travellers agree that travel helps with their mental health and wellbeing, more so than other forms of self-care. It’s a moment to switch off, whilst taking the opportunity to immerse yourself in new cultures and environments. From resting and relaxing to discovering a new adventure, travel self-care looks different to everyone. Therefore, your tourism business can look at how your itineraries can cater to these different types of travellers.
5. Community First
Throughout the pandemic, people have become more engaged and in tune with their local communities. 2022 offers an opportunity to travellers to take that community spirit and benefit the destinations they want to travel to, with 58% agreeing that this is important. In light of environmental and ethical concerns being brought to the forefront of 2021, a further 28% will be doing a lot more research into how their tourism spending can help improve local communities.
One way your tourism business can help is by offering more sustainable, off-the-beaten-track routes to combat over-tourism in some destinations, helping to provide more income to small businesses in these less popular destinations.
6. Just Say Yes
After travel being very limited for people for so long, travellers will be more open-minded to embracing new types of vacations. In fact 61% of them will be seeking different kinds of experiences in 2022. There’s an opportunity for tourism businesses to leverage the fear of missing out and making up for lost time, as 63% of travellers feel they need to.
72% of travellers said they will say YES to any vacation in 2022. How will you encourage your leads to say yes to a trip?
7. The Best Prevention is Preparation
We in the tourism industry have been embracing the unpredictable since day 1, adapting to lessons learned ever since. However, travellers will now be looking to do the same. 64% of travellers agree that technology will be more important to trips in 2022. The main purpose being to help control health risks and to alleviate travel anxieties. 69% of people would be interested in an innovative service that could predict which countries will be safe or offer suggestions of countries that will be easier to travel to at least a few months in advance.
Booking.com’s Top 8 Trending Destinations for 2022
- Atlanta, USA
- Taichung, Taiwan
- Gramado, Brazi
- Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Brasov, Romania
- Llandudno, UK
- Montpellier, France
- Melaki, Malaysia
Does your tourism business run trips through any of these destinations?
Why Mindful and Meaningful Communications Must Play a Key Role in the Future of Tourism
We all know how vital excellent communication is in order to succeed in this business, however, what we mean to say and what we actually say can sometimes get lost in translation.
This article highlights the problems within current communication efforts from the tourism industry and focuses on the importance of messaging and storytelling when building meaningful connections with your target audience and customers.
“The fact that communication is so ingrained in everything we do is exactly the reason why we need to specifically recognize and address it when conceptualizing and implementing any tourism practices.”
Mindful communication plays a vital role in sustainable tourism
An example of marketing and communications being overlooked in the rebuild of a more sustainable and ethical tourism industry is the Future of Tourism Coalitions 13 Guiding Principles. On no page does it outline the importance of communication and storytelling when implementing sustainable practices, and encouraging customers to act also. The same applies to the sample agenda for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s three-day sustainable tourism training program.
Communication is in everything we create through the travel experience. If no attention is given to the importance of this when making meaningful connections with travellers, then the tourism industry falls short of its goals to build a safer and more ethical model to address climate change.
If your communication isn’t mindful, your message will be weakened
Your tourism business is in communication with people at all times, therefore it’s easy to overlook this key tool when reframing your own message. You communicate with your customers through spoken and written words, imagery, video, body language, non-verbal cues, storytelling, music, and other visual and auditory arts.
The key to communicating in a mindful way is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Or, even asking a colleague or friend to quality assure your next ad campaign, social post, or blog article. Posing questions such as, How does your message look to them? How could it be perceived in the wrong way? Taking this into consideration, will help you be able to identify where you could be going wrong in your communication.
Tourism businesses are often surprised that their intended message is not always what they wanted to share with their ideal audience.
Want to know how an effective communication strategy can help you generate more bookings?
Read here to learn how Todd Starnes, from Bicycle Adventures, used a human-centric approach to build trusting relationships with his target audience and guests.
Is Reducing Housekeeping Services The New Greenwashing
Following on from the topic of sustainability with the tourism industry above, this article puts ‘greenwashing’ under the spotlight.
Writer Hans Pfister uses the example of reducing housekeeping services as a talking point to highlight a growing issue with hoteliers labelling cost-cutting actions as sustainable to disguise reduced staffing – in turn having a negative impact on communities.
To give context…
Throughout the pandemic hoteliers and other types of accommodations aimed to minimise contact between staff and guests in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19. In doing this, guests were often given the option to ‘opt out’ of daily housekeeping services. Some hotels stopped offering housekeeping services for stayover guests altogether, leaving 24 hours between guests. At the time this all made sense, and in certain cases now still does.
Things have changed. In many parts of the developing world, life is fairly “back to normal”, with people back to work and children back at school. Health and safety precautions remain in place to an extent, but anxieties have lessened.
While some hotels have maintained reduced housekeeping for genuine health reasons, others have opted to tilt their position. Making claims of sustainable efforts being the reason. On the surface, this seems very well-intentioned, however, in light of the staffing crisis in hospitality, one can’t help but think… Greenwashing?
What is “Greenwashing”?
“Greenwashing” is when disinformation is disseminated by an organisation to present itself as environmentally friendly.
A chilling example put forward by Pfister, is of an incident in 2018 when he opted out of housekeeping services at a hotel in Buenos Aires. The hotel offered a $5 incentive for guests to use at the bar when they ‘opted out’ on the basis of making sustainable efforts. On further investigation, when Pfister asked one of the housekeepers what that meant for her role within the hotel, she said 30% of her colleagues had lost their jobs.
The problem here is not about businesses who want to cut costs, it’s with the lack of transparency around that to guests, and staff. Sustainability isn’t limited to the environment, it also applies to people, and the larger community. Pfister notes that in every destination where hotels take this approach, the negative effect is that a demographic of mostly women, lose out on the formal employment this sector provides.
Whilst sustainability is a huge focus going into 2022, my personal opinion is that it should be regarded less as a ‘trend’ to tap into, and more an authentic effort.
What are your thoughts on greenwashing within tourism?
If you’re in need of detailed guidelines on how to make a sustainable recovery without greenwashing, head here.
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Survival Talk by ATTA’s CEO Shannon Stowell
Source: Adventure Travel News
Did you miss the Adventure Trade World Summit? Catch up by watching ATTA’s CEO Shannon Stowell’s “Survival” talk – an inspiring story to encourage you to persevere and see the light at the end of the tunnel if you’re still suffering the impacts of the last year and a half.
Shannon takes you on a journey from what he describes as the lowest point, losing one of his team to Covid-19, to climbing back up from that emotionally and rebuilding ATTA to be more robust and agile.
This year’s summit theme was Kyosei, translating as ‘harmony with nature’. Shannon sums up the true meaning of the theme perfectly by not only drawing attention to the beauty of nature (which we already know) but also the brutality of nature.
“Nature is boss, humans need help and we can live on a lot less than we think”
Shannon recounts not only a story of emotional and monetary survival, but also the lessons learned from physical survival. Having sold his house, Shannon and his wife Gabi moved to a remote off-grid cabin in Colorado where they had to adapt to living in the midst of the outdoors, Bear Grylls style. Sourcing water from seven locations, hiking miles for firewood, and using hot water bottles to stop their computers from freezing over.
All of these survival lessons have informed him of a greater outlook for the tourism industry, one that focuses on meaningful connections to the world around us.
If you need that extra boost today, just remember you made it this far and we’ve definitely gone through the worst of it. My favourite take from this speech can only be expressed with Shannon’s exact words;
“Acknowledge the loss. Accept the unknown. Fail a bit. Decide to be determined- even if it’s a bit concocted at first. But then, connect with people who spark your inspiration and desire to stay in the game. Engage with this community! We have a very interesting opportunity while admittedly facing hard realities for some time.”
The Shadow of Uncertainty Over Travel Has Been Lifted
Source: TTG Media
Promising news for tourism businesses targeted at UK travellers came on 1st November as all remaining red list countries were removed, with hotel quarantining reduced to a minimum. ABTA hailed the decision and remarked that the travel landscape has become a little easier to navigate for travellers wanting to plan their dream trips.
However, the situation is still complex and open to sudden changes. Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership;
“In spite of relaxed restrictions, travel still remains highly complex due to the different protocols imposed by individual destinations and the four-nation approach makes it a challenge for the industry and consumers”.
The next step for the UK is to simplify their process according to Julia is to scrap testing for vaccinated travellers and incorporate a whole UK approach to avoid the confusion that still exists between UK countries on policies.
“We will continue to lobby for a simpler approach moving into the new year. If the government wanted to give the industry an early Christmas present, they’d scrap all testing for vaccinated travellers, align with a UK-wide four-nation approach and progress international collaboration with more vigour to ensure global travel can really take steps towards meaningful recovery.”
Do Not Count Out Gen Z as The Experience Generation
Source: Travel Daily News
Have you considered targeting Gen Z?
Despite countless articles writing this generation off as ‘homebodies’ who prefer their phones to experiences, this article predicts Gen Z will indeed be taking up their ‘revenge travel’ trips in 2022. Although trips will be less about ‘revenge’ and more about ‘repent’, as Gen Z travellers will be at the forefront of wanting to assert meaningful connections with the destinations they travel to.
Below are 3 traits Gen Z are looking out for when booking in 2022;
Authenticity and building meaningful connections are key to enticing this generation to booking a tour with you. Your brand has to be true to the core, and transparent about processes regarding sustainability especially.
“The easiest way to do this is to really live your brand – go all-in on who you are, and don’t hold back.”
Creating experiences that speak to your brand values and theirs will be most attractive to this generation. One real example of a tourism business we’ve worked with can be found here. Vagabond Tours based in Ireland makes branding the focal point of their business, which can clearly be seen from their unique illustrated home page. It’s almost impossible not to want to experience one of their many trips.
Sustainability is at the heart of appealing to Gen Z. Offering experiences that provide an opportunity to blend travel with giving back to the local communities around you are attractive to this crowd. However, as with the concept of “Greenwashing” above, highlight your ethical and sustainable practices for brand awareness, but don’t use it to ‘sell’. This tactic will be seen as non-genuine and could put potential guests off booking.
Taking meaningful action is key to connecting with this demographic. How can your tourism business contribute to the local community? Consider causes that you care about most, not what you think you should care about. Then, once you have identified where your passions lie, act on that and make it known.
This generation is emerging from colleges and universities with more debt than any other generation before it, into a housing market not adequate for the average working wage. Therefore, Gen Z does not necessarily want to be tied to a single destination, when renting is the normal way of life. They want to live and work, where they want, when they want.
This is a perfect opportunity for your tourism business to tap into this remote workforce, with remote packages specifically designed for these digital nomads. 45 Degrees Sailing is just one example of a tourism business that’s tapped into this market with their remote working sailing holidays. Blending the fun of vacation with creativity, and work.
Watch the video below for one of their success stories.
Gen Z may be entering the travel market with more buying power than their predecessors, but they’re more selective in how they use it. Tourism businesses that can adapt and provide experiences like the ones above, will succeed in making meaningful connections with this generation and build a loyal relationship.
A question for you:
How does your tourism business work to make meaningful connections with travellers?
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