santa skydiving

Wanna Market to the Elevated Traveler? Start with Being Present

The tourism landscape is jingling all the way into 2024!

And at the center of this festive transformation is.. you guessed it. The “evelated traveler.”

You guys, this new breed of tourists isn’t just making a list; they’re checking it twice, with an absolute next-level set of expectations. They’re looking for experiences that mirror their own unique identities.

In a (chest)nut shell, folks now see their travel purchase decisions as an extension of their personality.

Understanding and catering to these preferences isn’t just the icing on the gingerbread – it’s the star atop the tree.

So consider this the all-call for good tourism marketers to pull out all of the bells and whistles. Because you’re going to need to put a bow on strategy.

rudolf the red nose raindeer on a train

DMOs and Experience Marketers: Sleighing in the
Post-Pandemic World

Post-pandemic, Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are like elves in Santa’s workshop, focusing on promoting meaningful, value-driven experiences for the evolved traveler. It’s no longer just about showcasing destinations; it’s about embodying the values and expectations of this new mindset.

In general, tourism marketers need think about their product like a well-thought-out gift… something that resonates with value, meaning, and specifically to the soul. (Global Wellness Institute)

Here’s to High-Value Visitors

The evolved traveler comes in various forms, each with unique expectations, and they can be a combination of several at one time. What’s important to remember is that all have big time expectations.

Thus, we have the high-value visitor. We can see them in many forms:

  • The Price Conscious Traveler: This traveler is like a savvy St. Nick, seeking value but willing to splurge on experiences that resonate with their spirit.
  • The Mindful Traveler: This segment is growing faster than a reindeer on Christmas Eve – 21% annually through 2025, says the Global Wellness Institute. It focuses on sustainability and nature-positive journeys. (Euronews Travel)
  • The Slow Traveler: Emphasizing individuality, this traveler is all about personal fulfillment, not just following the holiday herd. Focus here is off the beaten path and really getting into reveling. (Expedia Travel Trends Report 2023)
  • Bleisure: Mixing business with pleasure, like hot chocolate with marshmallows, continues to rise.
christmas elves on a plane

Technological Tidings

The new digital era is here, and with it comes a host of technologies that are revolutionizing how we market to travelers. Your campaigns should first include thought for the following:

  • Personalization: Travelers in 2024 want experiences as personalized as their holiday stockings, especially if they meet a very specific balance of technology and human connection. (Hilton’s 2024 Traveler Trends)
  • Conversational Marketing and AI: Like carolers at your door, the demand for instant, effective communication is more significant than ever. Per PWC71% of people prefer voice search over typing queries, and we expect that to grow.
  • Experiential Marketing: Virtual and augmented reality are decking the halls of the travel journey. These immersive experiences are reshaping the travel journey.

Mistletoe Messaging

Much like a heartfelt card, tourism marketers should capture feeling with their communication.

Lean in hard to social.

By fusing authentic narratives with user-generated content (UGC), marketers can create unique, local-savvy content pieces that resonate with travelers like a handmade Christmas gift.

This will be a key message vehicle in tourism marketing campaigns in 2024.

gingerbread man in paris

Transformative Targeting: The New North Star

Consider agility and hyper-segmentation your shiny guiding light. AI and integrated strategies are crucial in understanding, reaching, and converting the elevated traveler, much like navigating a winter wonderland.

To be effective, your campaigns need to meet the marks of foundational principles. Go beyond just letting your pixel automate… because Google Chrome cookies are going back in the cabinet after this year. It’s going to get a LOT harder if you ignore this one.

Be ready to A/B test, create lots of differing segmented campaigns, and bring in AI to help you drill down which give you the best value. 

Unwrapping What’s Next

The evolved traveler is the future of tourism, as bright as a holiday display. Yes, their expectations are higher, but so are the opportunities for impactful, merry marketing.

Now’s the time for tourism marketers to adapt, innovate, and truly be present on this journey!

This holiday season, let’s unwrap that potential together and embark on a journey of discovery and success.

Because, let’s be honest with ourselves here – who doesn’t love getting decked out?