It’s beginning to sink in: Our international borders are likely to be closed for at least 6-12 months, with domestic travel opening up once we are successful in ‘flattening the curve’. There will absolutely be an appetite from kiwis wanting to take holidays domestically; particularly from people sick of staying home and if schools go back as normal.
Post Covid-19, we see two distinct types of ‘new’ domestic audiences emerging – the budget conscious traveller, and the ‘if not international’ luxury traveller.
Families, couples, young professionals who have been financially affected (to some extent) by the economic repercussions of Covid-19. They tend to believe that NZ travel is too expensive, and may have been vocal on social media to date around their feelings that the industry was too geared towards international tourism, instead of looking out for locals.
For this type of traveller, shorter stays and smaller budgets are likely – and there’s a strong chance of them turning in to the domestic version of VFR as they visit relatives they haven’t seen. They’re also going to stick to Drive Zone travel rather than domestic flights – mainly because of the costs involved.
When researching and planning, these guys are going to take their time and carefully consider their options. Money will be tight, and they’ll want best bang for buck.
This group of people are usually regular international jet setters, with high budgets because they’ve seen little financial impact from Covid-19. If it wasn’t for the current travel environment, they’d be heading off on a luxury African safari or a European river cruise. With an appetite to tick off the NZ Bucket List they haven’t yet been able to get to – think Fiordland, Hawke’s Bay or Abel Tasman – there’s a strong desire here to make the most out of the holiday, ‘if they’re not going to get away PROPERLY’ (aka overseas).
This audience will, for the short to medium term, take the place of the high-value internationals and will be interested in smaller group experiences, premium service, high-end food & wine etc.
Affordability and good bang-for-buck is going to be front of mind for many. With correct messaging, many will be enticed to get their teeth into the NZ ‘Must Do’s’ – but only if the price is right. There’s a chance that demand will be skewed to outdoor experiences allow people to escape their bubble and feel the rush of mother nature. People may be favour experiences they’ve enjoyed in the past, as comfort or reassurance, and there’s a strong chance many will be keen to support their local businesses as a start.
Digital will play a huge part in the resurgence of the domestic traveller.
Again, mostly online as a continuation of the research they may have done during lockdown or if they had to take leave. Competition from OTA’s for the direct sale is going to get more heated than ever before.
Your digital strategy should change to reflect this ‘new’ type of domestic audience.
Getting to know NZ’s ‘new’ traveller is going to ensure you’re first off the blocks when there is a resurgence of demand. Using this down time to plan a tactical digital strategy and ensure your direct sales approach is top-notch is going to position your business in the absolute best place for recovery.