7 Tips to Attract Last Minute Canadian Travelers This Summer

June 09, 2022

As the summer heats up and travelers scramble to navigate the loosening restrictions of a persistent pandemic, destinations need to keep their target audiences in mind. And one target audience not to miss is the largely affluent and travel hungry Canadian market.

With their own particularities, and a bilingual culture to boot, attracting Canadians in the best of times requires reflection and finesse. This summer, however, pent-up demand and a desire to be anywhere but home may make it the right time to target last-minute Canadian travelers looking for a getaway from the Great White North to someplace different.

Destinations are always asking how to connect with the Canadian market, so here are some of the most frequently asked questions from clients with our research-backed responses.

1. What is likely to be top of mind for a last-minute travel planner from Canada?

The weather – no doubt about it. Canadian summers can be lovely but there’s something about a sandy beach and frozen drinks that will always be calling last minute Canadian travelers south. Play up the better weather or climate differences in your destination. DCI’s research into Canadian travelers shows that 44% are concerned with nicer weather, and making that clear up front will help keep you on Canadian travelers’ radars.

2. What is one of the easiest things destinations can do at this point to get last minute travelers from Canada?

Canadian travelers consider vaccination mandates and safety to be top of mind, and they will be looking for destinations that are deemed safe. Last minute travelers, however, will more likely opt for places with the fewest requirements. Destinations who want to make it easier for Canadians to book last minute trips should underscore this. Make it clear how easy it is to get to your destination without jumping through hoops or worrying about any restrictions and you’ll be on your way to winning them over.

3. Do Canadians want budget or luxury travel as they plan last minute?

Canadians have saved up big money during the pandemic and are eager to spend it on travel, according to DCI’s research. Many still appreciate stretching their Canadian dollars where the Canadian currency may be weaker, as in the U.S. or Europe. All the same, underscore the value proposition in your destination but also the possibility to splurge a bit if they want to, without utterly shattering their banks of course.

4. What can DMOs provide on their websites to help make last minute bookings more feasible?

Provide easy-to-follow 24-48 hour itineraries on your DMO site to show how accessible a last minute trip to your destination can be. Canadian travelers are very hands-on, love a travel guide, and will do their research, so helping them by framing a last-minute trip to your destination, the must-sees, etc., will be a powerful tool.

5. How can destinations target all of Canada more inclusively?

It requires a little savoir faire, quite literally. Target them in French. Travelers from French-speaking Québec will respond more favorably to marketing materials in their language. French and English are both national languages in Canada, so you can’t go wrong by using both in your marketing strategies. 

If you can make your destination appeal to them in any way, last minute Canadian travelers – both French and English speakers – love to see it in their respective languages.

6. Where can destinations market last-minute package opportunities for Canadian travelers?

OTAs still play a big role in encouraging last-minute travel. Destinations should consider marketing their product and last minute packages here as Canadians looking to book things at the last minute don’t have the time to search and are looking for quick, expert guidance to make that getaway happen. Expedia.com is a popular resource amongst Canadians and serves as a great platform to share packages, from last-minute three-day getaways to longer stays.

7. What else will encourage Canadians to travel this summer? 

Events! Canadians are looking to reconnect and enjoy those missed opportunities that get them to do what they enjoy. Look to market events that give Canadians the opportunity to see something new or relive an experience with their loved ones such as festivals that focus on comedy, music or food. 

Tying specific events in your destination to deals for Canadian travelers can also help get them booking, whether it’s a summer music festival, a LGBTQ+ Pride event, or an outdoor film series.

Make it streamlined, make it appealing, and make it convenient for last minute Canadian travelers to book your destination this summer and they may keep you in mind for future vacations as well! 

Looking to attract more last minute Canadian travelers to your destination? DCI has more than 60 years working with the Canadian market, and our teams in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are ready and able to connect you to this attractive market. Contact Tania Kedikian at [email protected] to learn more about how DCI’s Canadian market outreach can serve your destination’s goals.