Comment: Advocacy has never been more important

Accord Marketing’s chief client officer Maria Payne shares the findings of a new travel white paper

It’s safe to say that the road to recovery for the travel industry has had its fair share of twists and turns over the past 18 months.

In fact, the UK’s rules for international travel have changed more than 50 times since the start of the pandemic.

With 2022 set to be the great travel comeback, it’s got us thinking about how holidaymakers have been impacted personally and, in turn, their paths to purchase.

With next year’s key planning period quickly approaching, we wanted to understand how people are getting from A to B, and from that we mean wanting to get away to actually getting away.

Accord Marketing’s latest research white paper, ‘The Great Escape: Rethinking Travel’s Path to Purchase’, in partnership with Travelzoo, does just this.

The research investigates how people are navigating new consumer journeys, identifying what’s changed and what’s remained from start to finish, from pre-departure dreaming to post-holiday reminiscing.

It’s clear that with new concerns with going away, people need speaking to on a human level, with more than a year’s worth of empathy translated right from the start during those dreaming beginnings.

Moving through to planning, however, communication needs to be nothing other than functional. The fun of researching and organising at this second stage has lost its appeal, becoming a lot more complex and a lot less spontaneous than it once could be.

Our research found respondents are most likely to want to speak to a travel professional when they’re ready to book and, above all, the most popular change in booking attitudes is an increased importance on cancellation policies. This is no longer a nice-to-have but a requirement for travel brands.

The white paper also highlights a new-found value for value itself.

While holiday price-point has always played a significant role, the pandemic has turned people’s perception of value for money on its head. The in-holiday experience has been affected, as have additional costs at the transaction stage – people need a guarantee that their getaways are going to be worth it.

And it’s not just behaviours before the trip that need greater understanding, but afterwards too.

With the pandemic bringing us all closer together, in the same boat, advocacy has never played such an important role.

Holidaymakers spreading the good word is the secret weapon to reassure that holidaying is worth it and the value is there – and thus kickstarting the dreaming stage for someone else.

To learn more and to uncover exactly how the path has changed, from new media behaviours to messaging preferences, tune in to the discussion at Accord’s upcoming webinar.

The morning is set to explore exactly what all this consumer research means for travel brands planning their all-important marketing strategies for Q4 and beyond at a pivotal moment in the recovery timeline.

Accord’s The Great Escape webinar is to take place this Thursday. Find more details here.

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