• Out with the old, in with the new: Maverick’s take on 2022

Out with the old, in with the new. Tourism’s recovery is forcing a surge in innovative thinking – new ideas, new approaches, and an appetite to rebuild a more sustainable and resilient industry.

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.

“Everything is shifting. What used to work in 2019 is likely to no longer be relevant. Be open to trying new angles with new audiences, and test the heck out of everything.”

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.

“Your website has never been more important than it is now. As the shift from OTA to Booking Direct continues, your site is the first place a guest will judge your offering – the first impression makes or breaks the booking.”

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.

“Sustainable travel is going to be key in decisions made by the new Endemic traveller, and operators need to be explicit in the ways they embrace and communicate this.”

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.

Come at us 2022. We can’t wait.

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