With the release of our Spring Traveler Mindset Report, our social listening and sentiment data provided a look at how the pandemic influenced travel behaviors, changing how travelers dream, plan, and book.
Despite rising inflation, airport horror stories, and new COVID-19 variants, summer travel numbers are up, up, up. TIME has heralded the beginning of the long-awaited “Revenge Travel” boom, with travelers ready to take trips and spend more.
As early summer travel behaviors have shown, everything we once knew about the traveler mindset has changed. Let’s take a look at one of those significant changes.
PASSION OVER PLACE
As a social-first creative agency, we love Pinterest for how well it predicts future trends. Unlike other social platforms, Pinterest users create and share future-focused content (i.e., “wedding inspiration,” “kitchen renovation,” “ Halloween costume ideas,” etc.) versus posting about what is currently happening to them or what happened to them in the past. It’s why Pinterest gets so many of its predictions correct.
At the end of 2021, Pinterest search results showed that while overall travel searches on the platform were up 19%, specific destination searches were down 14%. Backed by our own social listening and research, we also predicted that travelers would not only be open to new destinations, but they’d be traveling to prioritize their passions or hobbies: some more niche than others.
Here are three ways this trend prediction is ringing true:
1. Airbnb Launches 55 New Search Categories
Back in May, Airbnb announced an updated way to search for homes on its platform. The home-sharing giant debuted 55 new categories that organize stays, “by what makes them unique, which helps people discover places they wouldn’t have otherwise found.” This switch was not just in response to how people are changing how they live, work, and travel but also to, “help alleviate over-tourism by redistributing travel to new locations beyond the same popular destinations.” This change, which includes categories like, “Chef’s Kitchens,” “OMG!,” and “Creative Spaces,” places emphasis on energy, aesthetics, or ways of life versus a specific place or traditional “itinerary” items like places to eat, see or shop. It’s a strong indicator of how travelers are planning trips in revolutionary new ways.
2. Concert Goers Will Go Anywhere
Restless concertgoers will not wait for their favorite artist to come to town when they can travel to whatever city the artist is playing in next. Los Angeles may not have ever been on the bucket list until a former member of One Direction is set to headline the arena there.
Although the overall volume of conversation featuring users talking about “traveling to,” or “going to,‘’ various destinations for concerts and music festivals is small (about 492 posts from January to June of this year) the chatter is growing swiftly, up 45% compared to the same time period in 2021.
The pendulum of marketing strategy may swing further away from how to get travelers to come, and towards, how to get them to stay longer and spend more.
3. Need a Tattoo? Will Travel: Meet the weird and wonderful hobby travelers
Traveling for a tattoo? Lose a bet in your fantasy football league? Travel motivations are changing and getting weirdly specific. For these hobby-driven or passion-driven travelers, the place doesn’t matter as much as the niche experience you intend to have there. Traditional travel cycles may also be changing as well. Forget your typical spring break and summer vacation itineraries. People are finding new and sometimes random reasons to celebrate with a trip. Pinterest calls this trend “alt bashes,” or reasons to “mark fresh milestones and open new chapters.” With Pinterest searches like “divorce party” up 55% and “empty nest photoshoots” up 40%, travel brands can harness this trend by ditching traditional content pillars for out-of-the-box itineraries to reach these new celebrants.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR DESTINATION MARKETERS?
Travelers conducting travel planning based on passion over the place doesn’t spell doom for destinations. Rather, this gives destinations an opportunity to reach travelers earlier in the dreaming phase as they are open to new locations they may not have thought about before. But how you reach them has to change.
We recommend reaching travelers earlier by ditching traditional content pillars and tapping into new, post-pandemic emotional drivers: novelty, purpose, and connection.
To learn more about those emotional drivers and how to harness them, download our Traveler Mindset Report.