At Madden, we pride ourselves on data-driven insights. This is why our team analyzes data to reveal actionable insights into traveler behavior and attitudes. Sometimes, these observations are in mobile device data and human movement data that reveal insights on visitations, origin markets, average length of stay, and points of interest. At other times, it’s hotel and lodging tax revenue to measure ROI. And in some instances, the best insights into what travelers are thinking can be revealed in search engine data.
We analyzed the top questions users are asking on Google to put a finger on the pulse of travelers’ attitudes as the tourism industry looks to bounce back from the pandemic. Here are the most asked questions and some high-level recommendations for destinations.
Is it safe to travel?
The top question, and several variations of this question, focused on safety. People want to travel again, but they don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. For this reason, it’s vital for destinations to include COVID-19 public health information. By including resources on your website and working with partners to ensure public health is prioritized, you give travelers peace of mind. Providing assurances that visiting is safe and reinforcing that message with in-destination public health advocacy will encourage people to pack their bags.
Is it safe to fly right now?
Targeting drive markets is still a great option for destinations as air travel continues to lag. However, seeing people ask this question means people are starting to consider flying. We’ve seen search interests in flights increase, and are beginning to near pre-pandemic levels. Flight data should be monitored and targeting fly markets looks to be potentially promising as we enter the summer. Similar to providing resources to show visiting your community is safe, you should also provide safe travel tips and information to inform your visitors how to travel safely.
How to travel cheap?
While a version of this question seems to always pop up on the top searched questions, it’s not lost on us that 2020 was a tough year financially for many people. Destinations should be mindful of this. We recommend creating content that highlights affordable experiences or build itineraries that can be used by people traveling on a budget.
How to plan a destination wedding?
Weddings are the top group event being searched right now. Many couples were forced to put their marriage plans on hold while big gatherings were unsafe. Now that there is light at the end of the tunnel as 2021 progresses, people are looking to finally host their big day. Destinations should work with their community partners to create content that highlights potential wedding spots. This approach provides planning resources for those looking to plan a destination wedding (and guests potentially attending one).
Importance of Data Analysis
We believe the traveler insights provided above are valuable, but data-driven insights are time sensitive; the value of the information decreases as time passes. For example, travelers’ attitudes and behaviors will change as the pandemic recedes. The above questions won’t always be top of mind for people. This is why it’s vital for destinations to invest in ongoing data analysis to continually analyze travel interests and ensure your messaging aligns with your visitors’ intents to travel.