Engaging Millennial Meeting Planners

The Millennial generation will soon comprise the greatest number of decision-making professionals, so during our webinar on August 18th, Senior Research Director, Myha Gallagher, interviewed a panel of Millennial-aged meeting planners to discuss potential changes and trends in the meetings and events industry to see how travel providers can and should evolve to meet their needs.

Watch the video below for highlights from this discussion.
 

 

After our discussion, we followed up with these planners to dig more deeply into some of the topics covered in the panel. Here are the key takeaways:

 
Although Millennials are known for their prolific social media usage, email is the best way to reach these planners. You can increase the chances of younger planners engaging with your email content if you include a catchy subject line that hints at what is new and exciting about your destination/hotel.

If you are also trying to engage younger planners on social, LinkedIn is the best way to do so. Although there is some interest in following general destination social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram, Millennial planners generally use these channels in a personal capacity rather than professional meeting planning tools.

Communication style should strike a balance between “professional” and “personable.” These planners appreciate a more humanistic touch when it comes to travel providers reaching out to them, but straying too far into casual turns-of-phrase can be a turn off.

 

You can also read the full Q&A below:

 
Q: Do you feel that most of your time is spent updating stakeholders, like your Boards and keeping them up to date on your site selections, health and safety initiatives, etc.?

– “While we are in the site selection process, yes, it’s pretty all consuming. We often try to book 3-4 years ahead, and then focus on the meeting planning for a couple of years before we have to pick up the site selection process again. We are wary to book too far out due to liability and the potential of the meeting needs or format changing.”

 

Q: What’s the best way to share video and other destination content and updates with Millennial Meeting Planners?

– “Email is good – put something in the subject line about a tip to help limit liability, or a great new destination we might not have considered.”

 

Q: As a planner, how do you broaden your horizons and learn about new destinations to get out of the “we have always held meetings in the same old cities” without exploring new destinations through their CVB’s?

– “I get a couple of meeting planner magazines I like to flip through. The most compelling eye-opener I ever saw was a 10-minute talk kicking off the MPI Congress in Indianapolis, IN. They had the Indy CVB there and they shared facts about Indy that I never knew as far as meeting planning, and that has put it on the map for me.”

 

Q: How do you use social media for your work and do you think that’s a good way to reach you – i.e. through LinkedIn and Facebook/Instagram?

– “LinkedIn I use actively for work and will respond quickly to a message directed at me if it comes from an industry partner, and not just a random solicitation. Facebook/Instagram is personal and while I am connected with some industry “friends” I do not use it as a business means.”

 

Q: Would meeting planners use or follow a dedicated destination social media account that was focused on meetings and things to do with a meeting in a specific destination? Or would you rather follow the general destination’s social media account?

– “General – many of my meetings jump around the country or the world, so I’m always keeping my eye out for the next place we should go. I’ve not been tied closely enough to one city to just want to keep up-to-date on what’s going on there.”

 

Q: Should younger generations be trained to write more professionally in emails? Or should we embrace their conversational style as a generational identity?

– “I appreciate professionalism even as a millennial, and don’t like getting overly-casual emails. Now if we get on the phone, feel free to be much more casual. I prefer to feel like we are making a genuine connection as we build the relationship.”

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of August 24th

For Americans with trip plans in the remainder of 2020, beaches, destinations they have visited before, restaurants, time with loved ones, and finding peace of mind are top-of-mind.

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected August 21st-23rd.

Key Findings to Know:

  • Americans’ optimism about the pandemic improving grew this past week. Nearly one in five feel the pandemic will be resolved before the conclusion of 2020.
  • Three-quarters of American travelers continue to report that they at least have tentative leisure trip plans in the next 16 months, although leisure air travel still looks to take until at least 2021 until Americans are back to pre-pandemic comfort levels.
  • For the remainder of 2020, approximately one-third of American travelers have at least tentative trip plans.
  • In looking further at Americans with plans to travel this year, nearly half say that the COVID-19 situation has changed the travel experiences they are seeking. These travelers continue to most commonly express that spending time with loved ones is paramount, and look to be prioritizing enjoying nature, avoiding crowds. The pursuit of relaxation and finding peace of mind, amidst having fun and happiness will also be key in these travelers’ plans.
  • In terms of the destinations that will be chosen for trips in the remainder of 2020, 70.4% of these travelers say they are likely to return to a destination they have previously visited, 42.0% still plan to visit a beach this year, 37.8% say they will visit a city, and 34.8% name small towns and rural areas as a trip destination.
  • Half of American travelers report dining out at a restaurant in the past two months and 20.5% say they have visited an outdoor attraction. For those who have not engaged in these activities, general coronavirus safety concerns, particularly the ability to maintain social distancing, are the top reasons for their avoidance.
  • When it comes to the pandemic’s impact on in-person education and the consequent travel plans of parents of school-age children, 37.2% say the uncertainty has made them more likely to travel this Fall, while 20.4% say it makes them less likely.

Americans’ optimism about the pandemic improving grew this past week. Now 42.7% feel it will get worse in the next month, down from 49.1% last week and 22.0% feel it will get better, up from 18.2%. Nearly one in five feel the pandemic will be resolved before the conclusion of 2020 (19.2%). High levels of concern for personal health and financial safety, while elevated, remain stable. About 40% of American travelers continue to report feeling comfortable undertaking leisure activities within their own communities. Perceptions of the safety of travel-related activities overall remains at mid June levels, rather than the heightened levels recorded throughout July.

 

 

Three-quarters of American travelers continue to report that they at least have tentative leisure trip plans in the next 16 months. However, leisure air travel still looks to take until at least 2021 until Americans are back to pre-pandemic comfort levels as 45.0% say they are pushing their next air trip out to mid 2021 or later. For the remainder of 2020, approximately one-third of American travelers have at least tentative trip plans.

The pandemic, of course, has impacted how Americans consider travel and their trip experiences—even those who already have trips planned for the remainder of the year. Nearly half of these travelers say that the COVID-19 situation has changed the travel experiences they are seeking (49.1%).

 

 

In looking further at Americans with plans to travel this year, these travelers continue to most commonly express that spending time with loved ones is paramount, and look to be prioritizing enjoying nature and avoiding crowds. The pursuit of relaxation and finding peace of mind, amidst having fun and happiness will also be key in these travelers’ plans. Nevertheless, while nearly 40% say they will prioritize excitement and energy and seeing new places, there are many who say they will prioritize budget travel and staying close to home. In fact, 33% say they will be taking a staycation* this year and 53.9% say they will be taking a regional trip under 200 miles.
(*Note: Unfortunately, over half of staycationers say that this will mean mostly staying at home instead of exploring or staying overnight in a local hotel).

 

 

In terms of the destinations that will be chosen for trips in the remainder of 2020, 70.4% of these travelers say they are likely to return to a destination they have previously visited, up from 60.7% the week of June 15. 42.0% still plan to visit a beach this year, 37.8% say they will visit a city, and 34.8% name small towns and rural areas as trip destination. Again, the prioritization of spending time with loved ones is clear, as it tops the trip activities they most want to do, followed by dining out in restaurants and sightseeing.

Given what Americans with trip plans this year most say they want to do on their trips, it was a good time to examine recent dining out and visiting outdoor attractions behaviors. Half of American travelers report dining out at a restaurant in the past two months and 20.5% say they have visited an outdoor attraction. For both activities, less than 5% of those who report doing them said they felt unsafe during their experience. What is deterring others from patronizing these types of businesses? For restaurants, those who haven’t dined in a restaurant lately cite general coronavirus safety concerns, including social distancing, and thus feeling takeout continues to be safer. Similarly, for outdoor attractions, general COVID concerns, particularly social distancing, are top deterrents. For both activities, about one third of those who haven’t done them recently cited their concern about the behavior of others as a reason for their avoidance.

 

 

When it comes to the pandemic’s impact on in-person education and the consequent travel plans of parents of school-age children, these travelers were asked if any uncertainty about in-person education has made them more or less likely to travel this Fall. In total, 37.2% say the uncertainty has made them more likely to travel, while 20.4% say it makes them less likely. Interestingly, those that are certain that their kids will have in-person education this school year were even more apt to say that they were likelier to travel this Fall.

 

 

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of August 17th

Increasing feelings of safety are driving more positivity about tourism—both outbound and within their own communities. And as Americans look out to upcoming holidays, there is a gradually increasing expectation to travel for these occasions.

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected August 14th-16th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • Pandemic-related health and financial safety concerns have dropped to levels last seen in mid-June. Although there are still notable levels of pessimism, less Americans are feeling the pandemic will worsen in the next month.
  • The proportion of American travelers who feels comfortable going out in their own community now exceeds the proportion who do not. And they are getting more comfortable with tourism to their own communities.
  • Safety perceptions of travel activities have improved overall, nearing June levels. Thus, the percent of Americans who report being in a “ready to travel” state of mind is now higher than those who report needing more time to feel ready.
  • Those with trip plans for the remainder of the year are commonly prioritizing getting away from crowds and enjoying nature, in addition to spending time with loved ones.
  • As Americans look out to upcoming holidays, there is a gradually increasing expectation to travel for these occasions: Labor Day (12.6%), Thanksgiving (15.8%) and Christmas (20.0%).
  • Looking even further out over 2021, three-quarters of Americans have at least tentative trip plans right now. Just 25% say they have no plans to travel through 2021.
  • About 30% would be up for taking a flight in the next month, although there is somewhat more comfort with direct flights than those that require a connection.
  • A majority of American travelers approve of travel restriction policies imposed by state governments on travelers from high outbreak areas.

This week, Americans report feeling safer in a number of areas that affect their travel feelings and behaviors.

Pandemic-related health and financial safety concerns have dropped and are at levels last seen in mid-June. Although there are still notable levels of pessimism, less Americans are feeling the pandemic will worsen in the next month. The proportion who feel comfortable going out in their own communities exceeds the proportion who do not. And while 56.5% still do not want visitors in their communities yet, this is the lowest this sentiment has been since the week of June 15th. Also, for the first time since June 29th, the percent of Americans who said they would be happy seeing an ad promoting tourism to their community has exceeded the percent who would be unhappy.

 

 

Perceptions of how safe travel activities are have improved overall, nearing June levels. Staycation-ing and the avoidance of conferences and group meetings have declined. Given all these sentiments, the percent of Americans who report being in a “ready to travel” state of mind is now higher than those who report needing more time to feel ready.

 

 

Those with trip plans for the remainder of the year are commonly prioritizing getting away from crowds and enjoying nature in addition to spending time with loved ones. However, there is also an important proportion who are prioritizing experiencing new places and excitement in their travel.

 

 

As Americans look out over upcoming holidays, there is a gradual expectation to travel for these occasions: Labor Day (12.6%), Thanksgiving (15.8%) and Christmas (20.0%). Looking even further out over 2021, three-quarters of Americans have at least tentative trip plans. Just 25% say they have no plans to travel through 2021.

 

 

When it comes to air travel, approximately 30 percent would be up for taking a flight in the next month, although half of this group would still be nervous. There is somewhat more comfort with direct flights than those that require a connection. When asked to rate the most unsafe aspects of air travel right now, the behavior of other passengers is far and away what concerns travelers the most.

 

 

Current domestic travel restriction policies intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 seem to largely be accepted at the moment. When asked about the policies of some U.S. states requiring that travelers from high coronavirus-risk states take actions such as presenting a negative COVID-19 test or quarantining for 14 days, 62.4% of American travelers say they approve or strongly approve of such travel restrictions right now. 24.6% feel neutral and 12.9% disapprove.

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of August 10th

Younger travelers drive some positive movements in travel sentiment this week, while Colorado, Alaska and Montana join the usual suspects of top aspired destinations for the next year.

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected August 7th-9th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • Americans of all ages continue to say staying safe from infection is their top lifestyle priority over the next half-year. Compared to two months ago, younger travelers are now further prioritizing many psycho-emotional needs like escaping stress and relaxation, while Baby Boomers are placing less emphasis on these.
  • Nearly 6-in-10 agree that planning a vacation for sometime in the next 6 months would bring them happiness.
  • Driven by younger travelers, excitement for near-term travel and openness to travel inspiration returned to levels last seen in early June, and there was a small increase in travel readiness.
  • Compared to how they felt in April, Americans are now less likely to agree that the types of travel destinations they choose will change after the pandemic, and less likely to say they will avoid many types of experiences.
  • Colorado, Alaska and Montana have joined Florida, Las Vegas, California and New York as some of the top destinations Americans are saying they most want to visit in the next year.
  • Americans find airline, hotel and restaurant discounts most appealing.
  • Convention travelers’ trust in their fellow attendees to behave in a way that minimizes the spread of COVID-19 has lessened slightly.

This week, over half of Americans say they continue to feel that the pandemic will worsen in the US in the next month and concerns about health and financial safety remain elevated. Thus, Americans of all ages continue to say staying safe from infection is their top lifestyle priority over the next half-year. However, compared to two months ago, younger travelers are now further prioritizing many psycho-emotional needs like escaping stress and relaxation, while Baby Boomers are placing less emphasis on these.

As we have said previously, fortunately, travel is well positioned as a wellness activity in the American psyche. Nearly 6-in-10 (57.3%) agree that planning a vacation for sometime in the next 6 months would bring them happiness.

 

 

Driven by younger travelers, excitement for near-term travel and openness to travel inspiration returned to levels last seen in early June, and there was a small increase in travel readiness this week. The overall perception of the safety of travel activities improved slightly, as well.

Compared to how they felt in April, Americans are now less likely to agree that the types of travel destinations they choose will change after the pandemic, and less likely to say they will avoid many types of experiences, like air travel, specific foreign destinations and the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus.

 

 

 

 

Nevertheless, outdoor experience-driven places like Colorado, Alaska and Montana have joined the usual suspects like Florida, Las Vegas, California and New York as some of the most popular destinations Americans are saying they most want to visit in the next year. These destinations have edged several urban destinations out of the top spots on the destination Hot List.

 

 

While Americans have a complicated relationship with travel discounts right now due to the pandemic’s impact on safety perceptions, when asked about several types of discounts Americans say they find airline, hotel and restaurant discounts most appealing.

 

 

This week, 14.1% of American travelers report having at least tentative plans to travel to a convention, conference or other group meeting between now and 2021. About 60% of these travelers report that this travel will take place this year, while the remaining 40% say it will be in 2021. Compared to how they felt in May, convention travelers’ trust in their fellow attendees to behave in a way that minimizes the spread of COVID-19 has lessened slightly. In total, 57.9% of convention travelers say they at least “somewhat” trust their fellow attendees, down from 60.7% in May.

 

 

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of August 3rd

While those with trip plans largely say they are headed to beaches and other nature-based destinations, over half of American travelers don’t have leisure trip plans for the remainder of 2020. Can they be motivated?

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected July 31st-August 2nd.

Key Findings to Know:

  • Many Americans shifted from feeling the pandemic would get worse in the next month to feeling things would be about the same.
  • Concerns about personally contracting the virus have been elevated among Millennial travelers over the past month.
  • The proportion of American travelers that say they would be happy to see an ad promoting their community for tourism when it is safe has receded to 29.1% from 35.8% at the end of June.
  • Right now it appears the regional effects and response to the pandemic will have a lingering impact on destination brands. Nearly one-third of American travelers say they are less likely to visit the American destinations that they most associate with Coronavirus-related issues, even after the pandemic ends.
  • American travelers are also more polarized in their travel readiness state of mind. While 48.5% report having leisure trip plans during one or more months in the remainder of the year, sadly, 51.5% do not currently have any leisure trip plans in 2020.
  • Those who do not have trip plans this year are, unsurprisingly, more concerned about the virus, but interestingly less likely to be travelers that typically visited National Parks and other types of public lands prior to the pandemic.
  • Among those that will be traveling in 2020, plans for their next trip are largely well-formed, with beaches, National Parks and other rural areas most cited as the destinations.
  • Over one third of American travelers with school-age kids say they are more likely to take family trips this fall if their children do not have in-person education; 21% feel less likely.

A proportion of Americans shifted from feeling the pandemic would get worse in the next month (53.7% down from 61.5%) to feeling things would be about the same (30.3% from 23.8%). Still, relatively few think things will improve (16.0%). With reported cases increasing among younger people, concerns about personally contracting the virus have been elevated among Millennial travelers over the past month.

 

 

With these ongoing feelings about the pandemic, the proportion of American travelers that say they would be happy to see an ad promoting their community for tourism when it is safe has receded to 29.1% from 35.8% at the end of June.

 

 

Right now it appears the regional effects and response to the pandemic will have a lingering impact on destination brands. Nearly one-third of American travelers say they are less likely to visit the American destinations that they most associate with Coronavirus-related issues, even after the pandemic ends. In addition, 53.7% say that if a destination they are currently interested in visiting experiences difficulty managing the coronavirus situation, they will be less likely to visit even after the pandemic is over.

American travelers are also more polarized in their travel readiness state of mind, being ready to travel versus not. While 48.5% report having leisure trip plans during one or more months in the remainder of the year, sadly, 51.5% do not currently have any leisure trip plans in 2020.

 

 

Those who do not have trip plans this year are, unsurprisingly, more concerned about the virus, and maintaining their safety from it has had a greater impact on their travel plans and their desire to travel. They look to currently be postponing travel to mid 2021. Compared to those who are taking trips this year, they don’t travel quite as often (an average of 4 leisure trips per year compared to 5), but are just as likely to be affluent and skew female. Interestingly, they are less likely to be travelers that typically visited National Parks and other types of public lands prior to the pandemic—currently the more popular destinations of choice for the coronavirus period—which perhaps is also impacting their decision not to travel right now.

Among those that will be traveling in 2020, plans for their next trip are largely well-formed, with beaches, National Parks and other rural areas most cited as the destinations.

 

 

One of the segments more likely to have trip plans in 2020 are those with school-age kids. When parents of school-aged kids were asked about their likelihood to take family trips this Fall if their children do not have in-person education, 34.5% of these parents say they are more likely to take such trips; 21% feel less likely.

 

 

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of July 27th

Travel Sentiment and Pandemic Etiquette Improved Somewhat this Week, but the Stress is Putting Americans in a Travel Funk.

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected July 24th-26th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • A few important travel metrics positively increased this week: excitement for near-term travel, openness to travel inspiration, and the number who say they will take a trip in 2020.
  • 18.2% of American travelers anticipate their next road will be in August.
  • The profile of those that recently traveled by air skews younger, urban dwellers that typically traveled for business and conventions in the pre-pandemic period.
  • Those that have recently traveled by air largely rate their experience with the health and safety protocols implemented by their airline and the airports as satisfactory.
  • More Americans are now agreeing with pandemic etiquette and say they will practice it when traveling, including wearing a face mask.
  • Nevertheless, the marked stress Americans are feeling during the pandemic remains a parasite on travel morale.
  • Overall, half of American travelers agree they have lost their taste for travel for the time being—a feeling more pronounced in Baby Boomers and those in the West and Northeast.

Despite 61.5% of American travelers feeling that the pandemic will worsen in the US over the next month, there was positive improvement in some travel sentiment metrics this week. Higher excitement levels for near-term travel increased to 47.9% from 41.1%, and greater degrees of openness to travel inspiration grew to 45.2% from 36.6%. Now 55.4% say they have at least tentative trip plans for the remainder of 2020, up from 53.3%. Looking at the anticipated timing of their next trips, 18.2% of American travelers expect they may take their next road in August.

 

 

While the majority of Americans report taking their next trip by air in 2021, those that have recently traveled by air (11.3%) largely rate their experience from a health and safety protocol standpoint as positive. Three-quarters of these recent air travelers said they were satisfied with the coronavirus safety protocols put in place by the airline(s) and 73.0% felt satisfied by those protocols instituted by the airport(s). The profile of those that recently traveled by air skews younger, urban dwellers that typically traveled for business and conventions in the pre-pandemic period.

More Americans are now agreeing with pandemic etiquette. This week, 80.6% of American travelers agreed people should wear face masks in public, up from 77.6% last week, and 87.9% up are being careful to socially distance, up from 85.6%. The reported frequency of mask wearing has also increased.

 

 

Americans also increasingly say they will practice pandemic etiquette when traveling over the next six months, including wearing a face mask and following social distancing guidelines.

 

 

Nevertheless, Americans feel marked stress from the pandemic. Overall, 44.8% report higher degrees of daily stress right now. Millennials seem to be absorbing this stress in more areas of their lives compared to older generations, being likelier to say they have felt lonely, sad, bored, easily upset, and worn out in the last month. This stress is a parasite on travel morale. Six in ten American travelers agree that if they were to travel now for leisure, they would not be able to fully enjoy it and half agree they have lost their interest in or taste for traveling for the time being.

 

 

This (hopefully temporary) loss of a taste for traveling is somewhat more pronounced in Baby Boomers and travelers residing in the Western and Northeastern U.S.

 

 

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

Millennial Meeting Planners and How CVBs Can Engage With Them

Destination Analysts’ latest meeting planner research found that Millennial-aged planners are less engaged with CVBs compared to those in older generations–a critical issue for the industry. During our webinar on July 21st, Vice President, Kimberly Vince-Cruz, interviewed a panel of meeting planners about their opinions on why this is and what CVBs can do to build and better the relationship with these planners.

Watch the video below for highlights from this discussion.
 

 

Don’t want to watch the video? Read what they shared here:

 

Why Millennial meeting planners appear to be less engaged with CVBs:

“Millennials are very much technology driven and the CVB-planner relationship is so personal—it is building up a relationship, it is building the networks, it is getting to know each other over time. It is not a matter of sending an email or going to a website and submitting something or clicking a button. I think those of us who are a little bit older have been around for a while and have built up that network base—we’re more used to picking up the phone, shooting a quick email and setting up a meeting vs. hoping to go to a piece of technology to get the information. So I think just by the way of how they were brought up, the habits that they formed based on what was available at their fingertips, it has affected how they work with people vs technology and information. Again, that’s my personal perception.”

– “How we even market our conference to our emerging leaders is we use social media and Instagram with a lot of photos. It is a completely different market and it was a hard sell to our leadership team on why we’re creating a completely different campaign to market a meeting, but that is how they access information. They are not going to look at a robust email, we have had to really develop our social media campaign and that is how we were able to communicate with them.”

– “In my experience just working with my clients who are Millennials, and I work with quite a few, I would say, and this is really shocking, 80% do not know what a CVB is, they have never heard of a CVB. I always source through CVBs, they are completely unfamiliar with the services and they just they do not have the knowledge.”

 

How CVBs can engage with Millennial meeting planners:

– “I think if a CVB wants to build a relationship with Millennials and find out what is important to them, I really think advisory boards are beneficial because you are going to get in front of them. There are also organizations in our industry. There is an award and magazine that comes out every year and it is called 30 Under 30. It is the top 30 planners under the age of 30 and if I worked for a CVB, I would get that publication and I would start reaching out to them. Our industry is still based on relationship. Just start becoming their friends and build a relationship and find out why are they not knowledgeable and what would they like to see from a CVB.”

– “I took a class on virtual meetings and learned a lot of information on how to go virtual. Something they talked about for promoting a conference that could really work well for promoting knowledge and use of CVBs is create a persona. It’s a character that is based on a real demographic and use that persona to market your conference, but in this case you could even market the existence of CVBs. Create a persona based on Millennial demographics and use that in your social media to grab the attention of Millennials to make them see anything you put out there to have them read further or get further engaged.”

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of July 20th

Over two-thirds of American travelers say they plan to wear a mask during their trips and report they would feel happy if their destination required mask-wearing while in public. Meanwhile, findings show Americans continue to feel down on near-term travel, but are exhibiting signs of optimism for the next year.

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected July 17th-19th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • Travel morale remains depressed: a record 46.7% of American travelers now say they don’t have any trip plans for the remainder of 2020.
  • Over two-thirds of American travelers plan to wear a face mask during trips and largely plan to practice other pandemic etiquette such as following social distancing guidelines.
  • When asked how they would feel if a destination they wanted to visit required visitors and residents to wear masks while in public, over two-thirds (67.4%) said that would make them happy.
  • Of the 9.5% that expressed unhappiness about a mask mandate, half said it would not keep them from visiting a place they otherwise wanted to visit.
  • Americans are exhibiting some signs of optimism as they look out at their travel future. Now, 16.0% say they expect to take more leisure trips in the next 12 months than they did in the previous year.
  • Another positive trend: 34.7% now say they will prioritize leisure travel in their budget and expected leisure travel spend for the next year is up to $2,721 from $2,361 six weeks ago.

American travelers’ morale about COVID-19 improved marginally this week: health and financial concern levels lowered very slightly and 16.4% of travelers expect things to get better in the next month, up from 13.8%. Their travel spirits, however, remain significantly depressed. Yet another record 46.7% of American travelers now say they don’t have any trip plans for the remainder of 2020. Only 41.1% express any meaningful enthusiasm about the possibility of taking a getaway in the next month (down from 57.7% at the end of May), and just 36.6% feel open to travel inspiration—levels not recorded since the height of the lock-down in April. Even discounts and prices cuts’ ability to motivate travel in the next 3 months is down to 28.4%, with a larger proportion of travelers disagreeing that deals could get them to find traveling more attractive.

 

 

As the pandemic continues its assault on the United States and many travel and hospitality professionals find themselves leading or in the middle of mask debates, this week we looked into American travelers’ likely use of masks while traveling and their support of mandatory policies. First, we found that 77.6% agree that face masks should be worn in public, and 66.6% say they “always” wear one while out (those that don’t always most commonly cite that there aren’t enough people around for it to be necessary). Right now, 68.8% of American travelers plan to wear a face mask during trips taken over the next 6 months. American travelers also largely plan to practice other pandemic etiquette such as following social distancing guidelines.

 

 

When asked how they would feel if a destination they wanted to visit required visitors and residents to wear masks while in public, over two-thirds (67.4%) said that would make them happy or, most likely, very happy. Those 9.5% that expressed unhappiness about a mask mandate were asked if this requirement alone would be enough to keep them from visiting a place they otherwise wanted to visit. One in five of this group said it would, half said no and the remaining 30% said they weren’t sure.

 

 

Nearly 5 months into the pandemic and more than half way through 2020, this week was a good time to revisit how Americans feel about their travel as they look out over the next year. While Americans continue to feel down on near-term travel, they are exhibiting signs of optimism for the next 12 months overall. When we last did this exercise the week of May 25th, the proportion of travelers who said they would increase the number of leisure trips they will take compared to the past 12 months had plummeted to 14.1% from 34.9% in January. Now, 16.0% say they expect to take more leisure trips in the next year than they did in the previous year. Also positively trending for travel’s future is the percent who say they will prioritize leisure travel in their spending. After falling to 26.9% in May from a record 70.6% in January, now 34.7% say they will prioritize leisure travel in their budget. Expected leisure travel budgets for the next year are also up to $2,721 from $2,361 six weeks ago.

 

 

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of July 12th

The significant rise of COVID-19 cases in the United States has rippled through the American mood, causing travelers to feel less safe, waning in enthusiasm and even down on whether travel can offer happiness, fun, relaxation, culinary joy and cultural enrichment in this environment.

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected July 10th-12th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • A record low 13.8% of American travelers feel the pandemic will get better in the US in the next month; instead nearly two-thirds feel it will get worse.
  • Personal safety concerns are the highest they have been in three months.
  • A record 41.5% of American travelers now say they have no trip plans for the rest of year and only 35.7% agree they will be traveling in the Fall now.
  • Americans feel the virus has made travel’s ability to deliver fun and relaxation, as well as culinary and cultural enrichment, especially difficult, if not impossible.
  • A majority of American travelers continue to say that too many people in their communities are not wearing face masks and not maintaining the appropriate social distance in public.
  • The percent of Americans who say they would be happy to see an ad promoting their community for tourism when it’s safe remains depressed below 40%.
  • Travel marketing potential does exist: Now 11.0% say they are already in a “back traveling” state of mind; another 11.1% say they are ready to travel with no hesitations; 35.3% say they could be convinced to take a trip this year that they hadn’t previously considered.
  • Travelers in the Millennial or GenZ generations continue to exhibit less fear and hesitation and more openness and readiness to travel now. Men—particularly those with household incomes above $80K—also continue to index more highly for travel marketability compared to women.

In the last few days, several US states have broken their single day records for coronavirus cases—including Florida, Texas and California, who represent three of the most tourist-ed states in the country. These states, along with Arizona and New York, continue to be cited by Americans as the destinations most associated with the conversation around coronavirus issues.

The impact of COVID-19’s surge can be felt across the American mentality. A record low 13.8% of American travelers feel the pandemic will get better in the US in the next month; instead nearly two-thirds feel it will get even worse. The proportion of American travelers highly concerned about personally or friends/family contracting COVID-19 is the highest it has been in three months. Financial security from the virus is also off from the lows recorded at the start of June. The perception of travel related activities being unsafe has risen to mid-April levels, and the percent agreeing they will be traveling in the Fall has dropped to 35.7%, when it was near 50% only weeks ago on June 5th. Now a record 41.5% of American travelers say they have no leisure trip plans for the remainder of 2020.

 

 

When it comes to tourism in their own communities, while nearly 60% say they will take a staycation this summer, the number who feel safe going out for leisure activities locally has declined to 34.2% from 42.1% just three weeks ago (June 19th). A majority of American travelers continue to say that too many people in their communities are not wearing face masks and not maintaining the appropriate social distance in public. Thus the percent of Americans who say they would be happy to see an ad promoting their community for tourism when it’s safe, remains depressed below 40%.

 

 

In addition to wreaking havoc on their sense of safety, Americans feel the virus has made travel’s ability to deliver fun and relaxation, as well as culinary and cultural enrichment, especially difficult, if not impossible. The chart below shows the percent of Americans who rated each of these experiences a critical or high priority to them for travel and the percent who said the coronavirus situation would have a significant effect—or make impossible—their ability to have these experiences while traveling for leisure this year. While it is expected that travelers feel the pandemic challenges their ability to experience events and meet new people, it is surprising to see how many feel expected travel benefits like exploration and escaping stress are also challenged by COVID-19.

 

 

Marketing safe travel in this environment thus poses many challenges—although opportunity exists. Now 11.0% say they are already in a “back traveling” state of mind; and another 11.1% say they are ready to travel with no hesitations. In addition, 35.3% say they could be convinced to take a trip this year that they hadn’t previously considered. Americans agree the safest types of trips one could take this year are camping and RV trips. Across metrics, travelers in the Millennial or GenZ generations continue to exhibit less fear and hesitation and more openness and readiness to travel now. Men—particularly those with household incomes above $80K—also continue to index more highly for travel marketability compared to women.

 

 

Policy may have a place as a travel stimulus, as well. When American travelers were asked about the potential of a travel tax credit for their leisure travel expenses, 44.6% agreed this would increase their likelihood of taking a trip they had not previously considered.

 

 

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

In Their Words: Black Travelers on the State of Travel

 

Black travelers generate $63 billion in travel spending each year, making investing in marketing to them great business sense. Yet these travelers still find themselves under represented in travel marketing and subject to unwelcoming treatment. During our webinar on July 7th, 2020, Robin McClain, SVP of Marketing & Communications at Destination DC, led a panel of black travelers in conversation about their travel experiences and what the travel industry can do to market and make travel an equally inclusive leisure activity. Below is what was shared. [Note: comments have been edited for brevity]

On Differing or Similar Travel Considerations That Travel Marketers May Not Be Aware Of, How to Market to Black Travelers and the Black Lives Matter Movement

“I do a ton of research online, and so I like to see people in the adverts that look like me. If there is a fighting chance that someone is going to look like me, I’m going to dig a little bit deeper and see what they offer. It just makes me take the next step. My next steps are quite frankly at this point going to Instagram and looking at some of the affinity groups–the Black Girls Travel groups, there is a whole bunch of them—making sure that people have had good experiences in these places, and also recognizing when people have not had such good experiences. And I will unpack that for myself a little bit just to see what that means for me and my family. Also, we’re big walkers, so walking distances to places. Where is a good, safe place for us to be? Even now, I would be looking for how can I walk from point A to point B and is it safe for me to do that? I’m looking for places that have people working there that look like me. And if I leave the hotel, how is that going to be and when I come back, because I can deal with a lot of stuff out in the community in the place that I am visiting if I know I can absolutely relax when I get back to the place that I am staying.”

“I certainly think about traveling below the Mason-Dixon line and what that may mean for me in terms of safety and security. And then internationally, I have had some not so great experiences where I did feel affected by racism. That is certainly something that I look into exploring and researching: if a country or a destination or city is friendly or welcoming to African Americans.

“I do love traveling but as an African American I’m a little bit more hesitant–even though I am going to do it–just because of the current situation, the current climate, we could say that a different climate is going on right now in the world just as far as police brutality and things like that, and our protests. I feel like there is a little bit more tension than there has ever been before, actually a lot more. I’m a bit more protective of myself and my family. I’m just trying to take it one day at a time with travel.

 

 

“I’m an abrasive researcher, so before I travel, I’m trying to find as much information as possible, so what I need to know is what kind of activities in any destination would be relevant for my family’s type of interest as well as my interests so we can kind of map out a portfolio of things we can possibly do while we’re traveling. [Even though I live in Atlanta] I was very hesitant to travel throughout the South. There are probably great casinos and beaches in Biloxi, but to this day I’m still hesitant to plan a trip there because, even if I got there and everything is cool in Biloxi, I have to get there, and drive through those states and the small towns. And images of Antebellum South and confederate statues…that to me conveys that maybe I’m not welcome there.

“If I saw that a country or a city had a Black Lives Matter rally or a march or a protest, that would actually make me consider going to that city. There are a couple of cities that I’m like oh wow, they are really rallying around BLM and maybe I should give thought to going there because they embrace people like me.

“I think that use your words like rich experience, cultural experience, and accepting experience something on those lines I think would attract me. Wording I think has to be chosen very carefully. Advertisements of lots of different places, it’s the wording, it’s the hook that gets people excited, the first few sentences–those key words that kind of fly off the screen or fly off the page you are reading. Then pictures, pictures of cultures, picture of cultural cities, pictures of happy times, positive, pictures of things that are light-hearted because again the current situation in our world right now is pretty daunting. Being able to see this as a great getaway and it just seems like I can see myself there, I can see myself as an African American traveler going here because look at all this beautiful brown people. And not just African American but lots of different cultures that are attracted to that location.”