4 TripAdvisor Insights to Inform Your 2021 Paid Media Strategy

April 09, 2021

What impact has the novel Coronavirus had on the future of travel and tourism? Experts from TripAdvisor recently shared statistics and consumer insights to help inform your 2021 destination marketing strategy and paid media spend. Here’s how consumer sentiment on travel has changed and what can we do to better inform our marketing strategies.

1. Consumers Are Making Travel Plans and Sooner Than You Might Think

As travel returns, consumers are already mapping out their destinations for 2021. Recent studies from TripAdvisor found that 81% of travelers are planning to travel within the next 6 months, the highest projected level since the beginning of the pandemic last year.

How does this impact DMOs? It is time to starting scaling digital marketing efforts, with a short-term focus on the dreaming and planning phases of travel. In particular, a heavy dose of paid search and social will help inspire which trips those travelers are taking later sooner rather than later. And don’t forget to incorporate health and safety information—it’s still a message that deserves attention.

2. Outdoor Recreation Is Leading Tourism Recovery

It is no surprise that following a year of limited travel and social gatherings, travelers turned to the great outdoors for access to new destinations and weekend get-aways. Along with hiking and camping destinations trending higher than they did prior to the pandemic, nature and park attractions made up the majority of trips booked in the last two months as reported by TripAdvisor.

For those destinations where outdoor access is a big driver, focus on messaging that incorporates how to tie in a visit to downtown, a nearby wine or beer trail, or other noteworthy attractions. Using paid media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads, focus on proximity to the outdoors, but serve-up itineraries that show a more complete picture of the destination and encourage those overnight stays.

3. Travelers Are Spending More on Experiences

While outdoor recreation and road trips boomed over the last year, consumers are also looking to go all out on travel when they do leave the nest, with an emphasis on pampering themselves. According to TripAdvisor, global travelers are searching for more expensive trips, up 21% from last year, with one in 10 respondents looking to go lux this year.

What does this mean for travel destinations? Following the pandemic, consumers are sharing the sentiment that “travel is a right” and are willing to spend more for private experiences that allow social distancing. Whether a family vacation or a couple’s retreat, offering “personal” tours and excursions can increase visitation to local attractions and thus, benefit your partners directly. Monopolize on user intent for “personalized” travel experiences through Google Search Ads, targeting keywords and using ad headlines that embody the nearby activities open to private tour options.

4. International Travel Is Still in Demand

Even as borders struggle to reopen, 70% of respondents are still open to international destinations. Although there is still a long way to go before travel resumes fully, outside factors such as safety measures, COVID-19 protocols and vaccine access are playing an active role in the destination selection process.

For DMOs, continue with dreaming campaigns to inspire international travel, especially in markets where vaccine roll-out has been stronger (and travelers may be transitioning to booking soon). With research showing 95% of respondents are seeking more positive messaging, a mix of creativity and strong imagery goes a long way when advertising to dreamers through social channels such as Facebook and Instagram.


COVID-19 will leave a lasting impact on destinations worldwide and DMOs are faced with the challenge of re-shaping the way they market to consumers. With proven experience in digital advertising, we can help destinations with modest budgets gain traction online. Reach out to Steve Duncan at [email protected] to learn more.