Complex Made Simple

5 key archetypes of travelers

To take off in a post-pandemic world, companies can tailor their marketing strategies to consumer preferences

Advertising spending in 2021 could increase 28% year-over-year for travel Different consumer segments share specific preferences for accommodations, destinations, transportation, budget Airlines, hotels, cruise companies, and travel intermediaries need to reassess their marketing strategy

By Emanuele Veratti, Partner, Bain & Company Milan and Karim Henain, Partner, Bain & Company Middle East

To take off in a post-pandemic world, companies can tailor their marketing strategies to consumer preferences.

As parts of the world emerge from the pandemic, travel and transport companies are bullish on the prospect of a rebound in consumer demand. Of the industries hit hardest by COVID-19, advertising spending in 2021 could increase 28% year-over-year for travel, compared with 15% in media and entertainment, and 5% in retail.

Historically, however, airlines, hotels, cruise companies, and travel intermediaries have struggled to make the most of their marketing budgets. They miss opportunities to delight customers by relying on “one-size-fits-all” offerings, deploy digital marketing assets ineffectively, and fail to deliver a seamless user experience.

Karim Henain

These uniform marketing strategies often fall flat because they don’t address the differing needs, behaviors, and attitudes of consumers. A Google survey of 1,990 travelers found that different consumer segments share specific preferences for accommodations, destinations, transportation, budget, and more. Evaluating consumers on five factors, Bain has identified five traveler archetypes.

  1. High rollers are more likely to travel long distances and spend more than average—about 22% spend €1,000 to €2,500 on a trip.
  2. Voracious travelers tend to be younger, digitally savvy consumers who seek out the best accommodations, experiences, and services.
  3. Comf-trotters are primarily interested in relaxing locations, such as the seaside, and luxury accommodations, with a majority preferring 4- to 5-star hotels.
  4. Sports enthusiasts seek out physical activity and prioritize a healthy lifestyle.
  5. Lazy voyagers tend to be older, spend less than €250 per trip, and prefer rental homestays.

As travel comes roaring back in some regions, airlines, hotels, cruise companies, and travel intermediaries have a unique opportunity to reassess their marketing strategy and accelerate their recovery. To rise above the noise and compete in a post-pandemic world, companies can employ a hyper-segmentation approach, customizing strategies for each archetype.

Industry leaders will use digital tools and ad hoc techniques such as dynamic pricing, tailored value propositions, and personalized customer experiences to make a step change in customer satisfaction and loyalty. With a targeted approach, these players will maximize their return on investment, differentiate themselves, and thrive in the new age of travel.