Tourism Marketing Trends: Reaching Consumers on the Go

Americans are confident in the economy again and it’s showing in how they’re spending their vacations. In 2017, Americans spent $100 billion on summer vacations alone.

That’s great news if you’re in the travel and tourism industry. Like most industries; however, yours has had its fair share of disruptors as technology changes the way consumers plan their trips. Let’s take a look at some of the top trends across audiences and how your business can reach each one.

Travel is All About the Journey

The traveling consumer’s journey has changed, as have the old models for selling to it. No longer linear, a consumer’s path to purchase has multiple influences and touch points. On average, consumers visit 7-20 websites before booking a trip, with many waiting longer to book to take advantage of last minute deals. With travel review sites such as TripAdvisor becoming increasingly popular, it’s important for business owners to remember the sales cycle doesn’t end with a sale. Actively managing your online reputation will go a long way in today’s market.


Millennials are passionate about traveling, with many of them prioritizing it over buying a home or paying off debt. On average,  millenials plan to take 6 trips in 2018 and will spend nearly $7,000 on their travel plans. 80% of millenials seek unique travel experiences, with 53% preferring to explore local hot spots rather than tourist attractions. While hotel amenities can be a big attractor, millennials are more open to alternative accommodations, such as Airbnb. As you probably expect, they’re heavily influenced by social media – 40% prioritize “Instagrammability” when choosing their next destination – so managing your social media presence is crucial for reaching this audience.

Gen Xers

Gen Xers tend to have the family in mind when they travel, with 70% saying their focus is on keeping their family entertained. While price is less of a factor than for millennials, they’re still focused on getting a good deal. On average, they’ll shell out $5,400 on vacations this year.

Gen Xers have unique needs when they set out on their research, especially if they’re traveling with families. They want to be sure that when they travel they (and their children, especially) are going to have memorable experiences. They rely heavily on reviews – 85% read reviews – and informative content from brands while making their travel plans.


Millennials may have become the largest living generation, but boomers are far from down for the count. They plan to spend more than $6,000 on travel this year, with an average of 4 or 5 trips in the pipeline. In fact, 96% of them are planning to travel in 2018 alone. While costs are a major factor for younger generations, about 60% of boomers say that travel costs have no effect on their plans. International “bucket list” trips are what 22% of boomers are looking for and, among other things, they look for warm locations, family-oriented fun and weekend getaways. And while younger generations might be looking for adventure, 49% of boomers say they travel to relax.

Flying Solo

As traveling for true leisure puts consumers on the road, there are certain segments and opportunities business owners should identify. For instance, solo travel has seen a huge increase in recent years, with 1 in 4 people saying they have a solo trip planned this year. What’s more, more women are traveling solo than men. As a result, there’s been a rapid increase in women-only expeditions as business owners try to appeal to this audience. Don’t forget: developing a marketing campaign around niche audiences could acquire some very loyal and generous spenders.

Staycations Are Here to Stay

With 1 in 3 travelers planning to take a holiday closer to home this year, staycations are proving to be a long-term travel trend. Less planning, less spending and less stress are among the top reasons consumers choose to stay close to home. An increasing number of consumers are also focusing on reducing their carbon footprint.

Staycations present a great opportunity for reaching your local customers. Maintaining your TripAdvisor and Yelp pages, optimizing your website for search engine traffic and planning a direct mail campaign are all great ways to make sure your businesses is attracting staycationers.

If you’re still feeling a little lost when it comes to marketing your travel business, don’t worry, Valpak has you covered. With 50 years of experience in marketing, we have a full suite of print and digital products to help your business. Reach out to your local Valpak franchise today.