While consumers expected to spend on average $1,000 on travel this holiday season, only one in five travelers plan to spend less on travel this year than in 2019, according to Rakuten Advertising’s 2021 Travel Survey.
Looking forward, a subset of surveyed travelers who are planning long-distance vacations (100 miles or more) are more likely to book expensive vacations (more than $2,000) beginning in January 2022. Of those long-distance travelers who are “strongly considering” a 2022 vacation, nearly a quarter (23%) are planning on spending up to $5,000 on their travel plans.
The survey of 1,000 Americans provides insights on expected spending habits on travel for the next six months. Key findings from the Rakuten Advertising 2021 Travel Survey:
- Despite new COVID-19 variants, consumers are still considering holiday travel. Even with new surges in COVID-19 cases, a majority of travelers (56%) will not change their travel plans, regardless of their level of concern around the Delta variant. More than two-thirds of consumers are considering or have already booked travel during the holiday season. While about 50% of travelers said they’ll only travel domestically for the holidays, nearly a third (31%) of respondents are planning to travel more during the holiday season than they did in 2019 (November-December) and nearly half (47%) plan on traveling the same amount.
- Consumers are hunting for travel deals across multiple channels. With more than 90% of travelers reporting they’ll seek out deals when making travel-related purchases, more than a quarter (27%) will use customer review sites to find these deals, surpassed only by online search results (40%). Sites and apps that show offers from multiple brands (22%), online ads (22%) and card-linked offers (21%) are all very popular among travelers when finding deals, rewards and discounts related to travel, as well.
- Families with higher incomes are more responsive to deals. Families with higher incomes (more than $100,000) are particularly drawn to deals compared to those with incomes less than $100,000, and most often find them on coupon sites. Additionally, these higher-income customers respond well to email and credit card offers, while families with lower incomes are more responsive to online advertisements.
“At the tail end of a fluctuating year for travel, we’re seeing that many consumers are holding out hope to travel this holiday season and that they’re excited for travel prospects in 2022,” said Anthony Capano, North American managing director, Rakuten Advertising. “Now is the time for travel marketers to promote deals to consumers who have yet to book holiday travel, and to those who are planning their 2022 vacations. Marketers should invest in strategies like affiliate that deliver appealing, authentic, personalized experiences and are proven to drive conversions, as well as rewards-driven incentives like cash back. These strategies provide marketers with the means to deliver the personalized messages and deals travelers are looking for in the most effective ways. Looking ahead, marketers can also leverage these strategies to meet upper-funnel objectives that will deliver returns as travelers plan their more expensive trips for 2022.”