From the soft opening of Rarotonga and Fiji to Facebook’s shift into the Metaverse, the bright green shoots of recovery are finally here – but huge challenges remain. We’ve helped hundreds of tourism operators and destinations navigate the highs and lows of 2021, and we’re excited to play a key part in the recovery of our industry in the New Year. So – what is 2022 likely to hold? Here’s the intel from Team Maverick’s crystal ball.
Nicole Botting, Head of Delivery
Change can be unsettling, but the things that will work for recovery in 2022 will be completely different to the things that made your business successful in the first place. Have an open mind, and A/B test all of your audience assumptions – whether it’s the design of your homepage, or the tactics you’re using to drive word of mouth.
While you’re in the process of embracing change, ensure you’re the one in control of your assets. We see so many businesses frustrated with limited access to their own digital platforms. Drop the middle-man, and empower yourself to take ownership of things like managing your website.
Brochures as a marketing tool will continue to decline as people become frustrated with the expense and lack of visible ROI.
Stu Lill, Head of Performance
With 2022 being mostly about the domestic and Australian traveller, with longer haul markets potentially coming into the mix in the second half of the year, everyone will continue to be competing for a much smaller slice of the pie than usual. And when there’s plenty of supply but not huge amounts of demand, your digital ‘shopfront’ – aka your website – has never been more important.
Keeping this in mind, ensure your website is actively managed (and/or improved) throughout 2022. Put a huge focus on user experience, architecture and SEO best practice. Redefine your brand’s unique selling points – are they still relevant in an endemic Covid world? What really matters to your guests? Then, ensure your website and all advertising reflects this.
Things will continue to be uncertain, so build flexibility into your ad spend. Direct sales are king, and the cheapest cost per acquisition you’ll get, so when digital advertising is really humming – and your cost per acquisition is under 8% – make sure you keep looking for new opportunities to increase your visibility. That should include increasing your ad spend budget , whether you’re managing it yourself or working with an agency.
Grant Colquhoun, Head of Partnerships
Travel purposes are changing, with the pandemic inspiring self-reflection on life choices and environmental impact. Meetings and catch-ups moved from F2F to virtual seemingly overnight, and at the United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26) in Glasgow Greta Thunberg warned that “our house is on fire” and we need to take urgent action to protect our climate.
As we begin to put the building blocks in place for tourism recovery, we need to realise that we’re communicating with a traveller who has undergone huge transformation in terms of values, preferences, and expectations of travel. As part of initiatives that took place around COP26, half of the world’s airlines announced net-zero commitments. 2022 will see the endemic traveller become more aware than ever of their environmental impact.
Concepts like Nelson Tasman’s award-winning Zero Carbon itinerary will become the norm, with operators and regions communicating their commitment to sustainability in an authentic way being the preferred choice for travellers both domestic and international. Travellers will be focused on offsetting carbon as much as possible, with fewer yet longer trips becoming the norm. How are you communicating your commitment to sustainability?!
From embracing change, to ensuring your business champions digital best practice and commits to sustainability: Being nimble is what’s going to win this race.