By 2027 it’s predicted that one in nine will work in the travel and tourism sector – globally, that’s 380 million people. Travel means a lot to us today and it’s safe to expect it will mean even more tomorrow.

It represents an opportunity to walk away from work, social commitments, and even Wi-Fi to reconnect with our families, friends, strangers, and even ourselves as we make time to watch the world go by.

As a nation we are also becoming far more adventurous in the number places we like to experience and as innovation in the travel sector continues to grow, it’s likely we’ll see continued variances in our holiday habits as more choice for holidaymakers emerges. In fact, despite continued economic and political uncertainty going on holiday is arguably growing in importance as one of the most valuable and important experiences we Brits prioritise.

Our Future of Travel study set out to understand these disruptions and consumer behaviour – not just where we’re going, but why we travel. What inspires us? How do we get where we want to be? How can we stay connected when there’s such a fear of switching off?

And that’s what makes this topic so relevant for brands, who are trying to achieve exactly that. According to our research of 2,000 people across the UK, the average Brit spends £1,347 every time they go on holiday (5% of the average annual salary). When you consider our research found an overwhelming 77% of UK consumers go away for the main purpose of rest and relaxation, marketers need to tread carefully in making those connections, making the difference between landing a disastrous or genuine brand message.

For the tourism and travel industry, there are countless opportunities to engage with consumers when you consider the range of services and options – from booking flights and accommodation, to buying travel insurance and choosing the perfect beachwear. Technology has hugely improved the whole consumer experience for holidaying, often leading to such a seamless, shareable experience, giving holidaymakers ease of access and reassurance. Combined with this, recent research from Yahoo supports that we respond more positively to ads when we’re in a good mood. In fact, reaching consumers when they're feeling ‘upbeat’ could increase the effectiveness of advertising by 24%.

Of course timing is crucial with any marketing activity, and perhaps even more so for travellers. Brands need to consider the behaviour of their target demographic, what they’re looking for and when?

As you’d expect, age plays a role in what travellers are more open too and even where they would consider going. Our research found most of us want to visit somewhere new (67%), but almost a third (29%) of those 55 years and older would choose somewhere they’ve been before.

New and emerging search behaviours also give us rich data to analyse, from using video trends to predict new routes, to search trends where consumers are effectively telling us what they want. Travellers are able to ask advice, watch videos, and through VR, even sense what it will feel like to actually be there. A key future challenge will indeed in living up to these heightened expectations.

There is a fascinating tension in how we value the ‘journey’ vs. the ‘destination’ both for the traveller and for brands. With the market being as big as it is, it’s in the interest of brands to make UK travellers (both current and future) as happy as possible in order to keep them holidaying – and in turn – spending.

Many consumers are likely to be less guarded when on holiday, potentially making them more receptive to brand messages. Relevant and targeted advertising should be something we’re all striving for but when there’s a potential slice of a £137 billion pie up for grabs, it’s even more important to nail this.

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