Kurt Weinsheimer
Kurt Weinsheimer

Summer has just started, and in order to prepare, Sojern pulled out our sunscreen, cleaned off the company grill and put our billion data points to work.

We've pulled together our latest Global Travel Insights report, which looks into all of the hottest spots for the summer as well as where travel has cooled since the last quarter. More than just insights, we offer takeaways to ensure that you're ready for a strong and successful summer of travel marketing.

Hot new summer destinations

This spring we saw beach destinations like Miami, Cancun and Fort Myers, Fla., dominate the list for early searches. This summer, however, early North American planners are looking a little more long haul, with Barcelona replacing Fort Myers among top destinations searched.

With the kids out of school, longer trips are easier, and travelers are looking to take full advantage of summer break. Orlando still ranks highly for sightseeing. With all of its amusement parks, the city is gearing up for a long summer tourist season.

While Orlando might not be a surprise, we have a few U.S. cities on the rise. Both Chicago and Seattle make the list of top destinations searched, while neither was on our spring look forward. Large cities will always drive volume, but it's clear that North Americans want to find the next hot spot. Be sure your destination or brand creates content that speaks to travelers dreaming of new and unique destinations higher in the funnel.

Fourth of July planning underway

In addition to the quarterly data, we also spotlighted travel planning in June to get an even finer look at the summer. We see, for example, the top departure dates searched for the month: June 1, 2 and 30. What two of the top dates clustered around the start of the month suggests is that many travelers are looking to get away as soon as school lets out.

June 30 signals something different, most likely Fourth of July planning. This year, the holiday falls on a Tuesday, and June 30 is the Friday before.

People looking to take full advantage of the holiday will enjoy a long five-day "weekend" getaway by leaving on Friday.

Since the trip would be much longer than usual, the planning period is already underway. Be sure your campaigns and packages are up now and take into account the longer stays.

International planners stay local

While North American travelers are demonstrating interest in new city destinations, the same is not necessarily the case abroad.

Latin American travelers, for example, are looking to stay local. For early searches, local destinations take the top spots, edging out U.S. cities that were on the list in our last look forward. We see something similar for early European searchers: Regional beach destinations dominate early searches in comparison to our April look forward.

Given the political climate of the U.S. and Brexit closer to home, early-searching European travelers are planning to stay more local. If that persists when people continue their travel planning and booking, it presents both a challenge and an opportunity. U.S. travel marketers need to get creative in order to win back these travelers.

Getting your campaigns on Facebook, video display and more are key to ensuring that you've got a strategy that can reach travelers when they're doing their planning and drive them to your brand or offering.

For travel marketers within the region, you have a window to find and reach new travelers who might not have considered your brand before. As we move deeper into the summer and the temperatures and summer vacation travel heat up, travel marketers need to understand the specific travel trends of the season and transform campaigns accordingly. Be sure to check out the full report for even more summer travel insights.

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