The travel market is set to recover from the extended hibernation that the industry has experienced in the past eighteen months, led by strong domestic audience search activity and bookings from the middle of December.

That’s what the Audience360 Travel data analysis is telling us – so brands need to get their market re-entry strategy into shape quickly.

Survey estimates suggest that 60% of Australians are looking at taking a leisure break over the next twelve months. When we layer this with seasonality trends of 2019, we are looking at 40% of those trips being taken over the summer period. We would anticipate about six million Australians (made up of all ages) will be looking at travelling for a break or to visit family over summer.

It’s vital that the accommodation, destination, and event sectors apply sophisticated data-led digital campaigns that target higher value travellers with in-market travel attributes. Operators in the travel sector need to make the best of the summer opportunity and capitalise on the big bounce-back and pent-up demand.

With large numbers of people currently making travel plans from Christmas onwards, it’s crucial that brands in, and associated with the travel sector, plan and execute digital campaigns that bring them terrific value, in the form of high value travellers.

Fiji is a great case study in what destinations right across Australia should be doing right now. This follows the Tourism Fiji strategy to be the first back to market – with international arrivals into the Pacific island no longer needing to be quarantined from the first of December.

Being in the market now with offers for travellers as we open up will drive awareness of their destination and allow brands to drive consideration back toward Australia to successfully compete with international competitors and destinations when those markets open up.

Currently in Australia, the regions are currently doing better than metropolitan areas but as the country nears the 90% full vaccination mark it is anticipated that business travel will drive an increase in metropolitan mid-week travel. 

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Flight Search Data Shows Strong Travel Intent 

The analysis from the exclusive Audience360 travel data set which includes, shows there is a dramatic reduction in the average number of flight searches performed before a booking is made. People want to travel, either to see loved ones, and experience an adventure after nearly two years in lockdown. 

Further relaxation of restrictions and the recommencement of events will also drive metropolitan leisure travel. Furthermore, as more international destinations open their borders to Australia and New Zealand (Hawaii, Bali, the Pacific Islands) it is anticipated that regional areas on the East Coast will start to see greater competition as travellers start to look overseas for what is perceived to be a cheaper holiday. 

This will be compounded further as it will take at least twelve months for significant volumes of North Americans, Europeans, and the ever so valuable Chinese tourist to arrive back on our shores.

Identifying the higher value travellers will be fundamental to drive maximum yield – while quantity of bookings is a challenge, quality of traveller is paramount.

The emergence of the Omicron virus may curtail some travel plans. However, this is also an opportunity for forward thinking brands to jump on the front foot with ‘hard’ travellers to build confidence and encourage them to lay down their credit cards in a resilient fashion. 

In order to identify the most valuable audience for your brand right now, travel related advertisers need to make sure the data they are using is transparent, and that the data attributes being utilised to build their target audiences are accurate. 

That data needs to be activated in real time because in market travel data has a shelf life and our product is perishable. You can’t fill a vacant room tonight by advertising to someone who is not going to be travelling to your destination until next week.

Likewise, if you’re at capacity next week then putting your product and price point in front of that traveller is like throwing your marketing budget out the window.

Having a real time view into travellers at the point of decision is critical. Travellers reached via ‘interest’ signals are old and mostly out of date. Any audience that relies on users having visited travel related content rather than deterministic signals of booking intent that include recency and frequency, is unable to solve a brands challenge of ensuring the right message appearing at the right time. In-market travel audiences based on online deterministic attributes of Australian airline data that capture origin, destination, class of travel, frequent flyer status as well as a real time refreshed look back of when these actions were taken, are crucial for success and to reduce wastage.

Finally, brands need to make sure that in-market data, not browser-based inferred data, is being used. The goal must be zero wastage when running travel-based digital marketing campaigns.