Domestic travel is among the first segments to rebound amid the pandemic, as international travel is still largely restricted. Travelocity has noted many travelers are staying at hotels located within 100 miles of where they live. Moreover, according to Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, domestic trips accounted for 15% of planned travel in the summer of 2019. The following summer, planned travel accounted for an astonishing 48% of insurance policies purchased. To add, the share for domestic travel has already doubled for 2021, as travelers are eager to explore – for the time being – closer to home.
A Market Looking for Luxury
According to McLean Robbins, founder of Lily Pond Luxury, most upscale travelers are unlikely to consider a domestic excursion product; they do not believe it can offer the same luxury they are accustomed to when traveling abroad. Ultra-luxe clients are looking for top-end, exclusive experiences. These expectations have pushed tour operators and excursion providers to innovate and reconsider the opportunities they can capitalize on while international travel is on hold[ii].
A Budding Interest in Private Plane Tours
The surge in private plane tours demonstrates travelers’ wishes to safely explore with a hint of splendor. According to Austin Adventures, the increase in private jet travel has been excessive. First-time private plane clients comprised 35% of Overseas Leisure Group’s clientele, alluding to a budding interest in private transportation. In the past, 5-10% of consumers chose to book a private plane, while currently, approximately 25% are interested in a private aviation experience. If feasible, domestic tour operators can explore the option of incorporating plane tours into their offerings to appeal to a more lavish market.
The Luxurious Potential of Domestic Excursions
In response to a European travel ban, Overseas Leisure Group developed Discover America, a luxury recreational vehicles (RVs) excursion program that consists of road trips to beautiful places in the United States. The program allows adventurous individuals to enjoy the remote wilderness of the American outdoors while adhering to health protocols. With international travel on hold, the volume of Discover America’s domestic bookings has skyrocketed – from 5% to more than 90% in June of last year.
Discover America offers a wide range of luxury RVs, from compact Mercedes vans for up to three people, to fully serviced 45-foot coach RVs for six. The coach RVs feature a presidential suite, rooms with king-sized beds, a spacious dining area, satellite TVs and laundry facilities. What is more, Discover America offers all-inclusive services, such as cleaning, groceries, meals and a chauffeur for when the RV is parked. Clients also have the option to choose an alternate mode of transportation: an SUV, a convertible or a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The activities offered by the company include yoga in thousand-year hot springs, river rafting and navigating off-road Jeep trails. Currently, many local tours are lacking in the luxury department and there is a large market of travelers who associate travel with being pampered. Offering luxurious local options can set a tour provider apart from its competition and have a positive impact on its bottom line.
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Salesforce can inform tour operators and excursion providers of the types of experiences a guest is most interested in. Salesforce makes sense of prospective travelers’ data – revealing their interests and preferences – and how they are engaging with your online presence. With this information, businesses can gain a tremendous amount of insight into which types of personalized messages to send travelers and how to engage with them. Targeted messaging allows tour providers to reach lavish travelers in the perfect tone, with optimized marketing material.
Salesforce Einstein is the first comprehensive artificial intelligence (AI) tool for CRM systems. It is an integrated set of AI technologies that can be used to send target audiences customized messages at the right times. When a prospective traveler looking for a luxe experience lands on your site, they see a unique landing page based on their preferences, complete with personalized messaging. This allows you to better relate to prospective tour-goers, increasing their chances of conversion.
At Gerent, the travel industry is a large area of focus. We are committed to providing holistic solutions that empower tour operators, hotels and cruise lines to achieve their strategic goals and improve business outcomes. To learn more about how we can help your company drive digital transformation, please visit gerent.com.