Delta Variant Repositions Travel Messaging

New York City Summer 2021 campaign

Labor Day signifies a bookend to what usually constitutes a busy summer travel season. This summer started out well, with vaccines in arms and COVID-19 seemingly in retreat. However, the slowing of vaccinations combined with liberating reopenings provided an opportunity for the delta variant to emerge in July, accounting for 80 percent of new cases in the U.S. This is sure to be causing some havoc for communicators in the travel and hospitality sectors. 

Regardless, Labor Day travel soldiers on. A Travel Pulse poll reported that 20 percent of respondents said they would travel for Labor Day—totaling 51 million people—with those most likely to travel being six-figure earners (32 percent), parents with kids younger than 18 (30 percent) and Gen Xers (25 percent). 

However, a survey from Longwoods International anticipates a downturn in travel. Nearly two-thirds of travelers (drawn from a consumer panel of 1,000 adults) now say they are changing their plans because of coronavirus, up from 43 percent two months ago. One in five travelers has postponed trips until later this year, while one in six has put off travel until next year.

“As hopes of the travel industry for straight-line growth back to pre-pandemic levels recedes, it’s more important than ever for destinations to adjust marketing strategies to the fluctuations in traveler sentiment to support a safe and profitable fall travel season,” said Amir Eylon, president and CEO of Longwoods International.

PRNEWS examined communication strategies of several travel organizations to see if/how the downturn translates into a tactical pivot.

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