An American Express Travel exec on the perks that could bring the industry back
After a disastrous 2020 that saw revenue for travel brands plunge, consumers are beginning to think about taking trips again. Yet while leisure travel is trickling back, business travel has yet to recover.
Last year, worldwide ad spending for 23 travel companies fell 60%, according to Ad Age Datacenter, which found that travel revenue declined 62%. Now, brands such as American Express Travel and Tripadvisor report seeing an uptick in inquiries and website traffic. Yet safety is a priority for all leisure travelers.
“We’re starting to see some interest,” says Audrey Hendley, president of American Express Travel, on the latest episode of the “Marketer’s Brief” podcast. “The pandemic has really redefined luxury travel for customers,” she added, noting that personalized experiences, high cleanliness standards and privacy are some of the new areas of focus.
American Express Travel helps card holders book trips.
Offerings like flexibility with booking and unique incentives around beachfront offices, for example, are also helping to boost the sector.
Tripadvisor today announced a new partnership with Lysol that focuses on cleaning advice for travel brands and sanitization kits including a Restroom Rescue.
Hendley discusses new travel trends, like the uptick in off-season booking and a “book now, figure it out later” mentality. In a recent survey, American Express Travel found that 56% of consumers say they miss traveling so much that they are willing to book a trip even if they have to cancel it in the future. Brands like Hotels.com are playing up free cancelations in their marketing in order to tap into this consumer mindset.
Consumers are also looking to “second-city” destinations to be in less crowded areas, Hendley says. That could mean going to Porto, Portugal instead of Lisbon, for example. “There’s a huge trend of customers want to get to the big outdoors—that’s where we feel a little freer, a little safer, like beach vacations or the countryside,” she says.