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Canadian Travel Trends for 2022

Emilie Harris  |  January 12th, 2022

Released in November 2021, Canada’s travel market research paints a vivid picture of a country hoping the rebound from COVID-19 is on the horizon (full report here). During TIAC’s annual conference the same month, the sentiments of speakers followed a similar pattern. It’s clear that Canada’s economy won’t rebound until travel does, but with new variants infiltrating big cities, it’s not clear when that will be.

“As we are all too aware, our businesses were the first hit by the pandemic, the hardest hit by closures and will be the last to recover.” says TIAC’s CEO Beth Potter.

According to Destination Analysts surveys, budgets for Canadian DMOs have fallen by nearly 60% on average, making it more important than ever before to spend money where it’s most likely to go back into the economy.

The team at Bandwango reviewed the report mentioned above. Here are a few of our insights!

Themes of health and wellness (environmental and personal)

Climate change is addressed in the report as a macro trend that has Canadian attention. Indeed, since much of the country relies on its natural resources and beauty to attract travelers, the unknown future of the environment could present the need for overall shifts in the way many destinations are branded.

That said, Canada’s natural resources abound, making it an ideal destination for many travelers seeking the freedom and safety wide-open spaces have presented. A key trend for 2022 will be promoting nature-based attractions like national parks, which have seen their attendance climb, even in traditional off seasons.

Check out how Explore Saskatoon is already making the most of their natural resources in destination with a passport focused on their outdoor offerings – #ExploreSask Parks Road Trip.

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Accelerated digitization and data

“Data will give destinations a greater understanding of their visitors and allow them to see trends, make predictions and enhance experiences. Further, better data on customer journeys and preferences, coupled with insights on products, experiences and infrastructure, mean destinations can be more strategic in making demand-informed investments in destination development and stewardship.”Destination Canada’s Report, in reference to accelerated digitization

The report goes on to mention that frictionless travel is allowing for more personalized and streamlined travel experiences, which allow destinations to collect data and better understand visitor behavior in real time. Capturing first party data is more essential than ever… don’t wait to start making it a priority!

CEO, Mo Parikh, TwoSix Digital’s Brian Matson and two Bandwango clients discussed first party data and the disappearance of the cookie in a webinar recorded in January 2021. Check out the recording and read Q&A with Brian Matson here.

Previously untapped travel audience segments

The report addresses a few key audiences that will demand DMO attention in 2022 – domestic travelers in Canada, who represent a less spendy segment that will require the creation of road trip itineraries.

Go East of Edmonton showcases their offerings in a road trip style passport that allows travelers to earn prizes as they redeem savings and check in at stops along the way. Check it out here!

The digital nomad audience group refers to remote workers who have the opportunity to explore new cities and provinces due to job flexibility. These nomads, if attracted to your destination, could stay longer and spend more as they explore and enjoy in a way that wasn’t available to them before.

Baby boomers continue to be a travel segment worth addressing. According to the report, “by 2025, people aged 65 and older will account for 11% of the world’s population and their international travel — the number of cross-border trips they take per year — will more than double.” The question is, how are destinations making themselves appetizing to this group when cross-border travel isn’t available?

The report also acknowledges that destinations are having to do more with fewer staff resources, which is made even trickier by the government grants being offered to destination marketing organizations. These grants, while presenting an opportunity for additional funding streams, also represent a significant investment of staff time.

If you’re interested in how Bandwango has worked alongside destination marketing organizations to write grant proposals and allocate funds to tourism technology initiatives, reach out to Emilie Harris at [email protected] to chat!

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