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Expanding our circle of exploration: Navigating the what, where and when

Jul 19, 2021

Written by: Abbe McCabe, Director of Experiences
(View Author Bio)

At BI WORLDWIDE, we recognize the importance of inspiring dreams through extrinsic rewards - including travel and experiences. While our world stood still for more than a year, people never stopped dreaming. And dreamers are motivated. We're seeing an increase in bookings overall as individuals plan the trips they have been dreaming about.

There’s no doubt our lives have been disrupted in many ways, including not only if — but when— we book travel and vacations. Because of the need to rely on the latest health updates and location-based information, the timeline of figuring out where you want to go, how you will get there, where you will stay and what you will do has been condensed as more and more people make last-minute travel decisions.

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Expedia surveyed 11,000 travelers across 11 countries to understand the impact of the pandemic on travel in 2020 and what is driving intent to travel in 2021. Their research shows travelers are searching a 0–21-day window for advance booking. This is consistent with BI WORLDWIDE’s Experiences Marketplace users who are booking flights and accommodations on an average of 33 days in advance and experiences 21 days in advance.

In addition, BIW’s Experiences Marketplace bookings from January-June of 2021 show 60% of travel booked was for the same month or the following month. 80% of all bookings were for travel occurring that month or within the next two months. 

Travel decisions are being made quickly and mostly likely, based on a variety of factors, one being increased vaccine distribution worldwide. According to TripAdvisor’s 2021 Travel Trends Report, vaccine distribution has the potential to be a game changer for traveler confidence. Their research found 77% of global respondents are more likely to travel internationally once they receive their vaccine. That number increases to 86% for domestic travel. Expedia’s research found that travelers were more likely to take trips from April to September 2021.

The graphic below reflects how we see people expanding their circle of exploration at their own pace and comfort level to explore locally, plan a road trip, take to the skies or adventure abroad. Currently, 7 in 10 travelers feel comfortable taking a road trip.

Circle of exploration graphic_no arrows.png

Explore locally - Be a tourist for a day in your home city with local experiences like kayaking, amusement park tickets, a themed walking tour or skip-the-line zoo passes. Add a hotel or vacation rental to make a weekend out of it!

Plan a road trip - More than anything, what travelers want in 2021 is a drivable destination somewhat close to home.* Rent a car (or use your own) and find things to do along the way. With over 22 categories of experiences to choose from, no two routes will be the same.

Take to the skies - Book that trip you've been waiting to take to visit loved ones, explore a new city or enjoy a change of scenery without leaving the country. No plan? No problem! Our research shows last minute travel is a popular trend, with most travelers booking less than 21 days in advance.

Adventure abroad - With 150 international air carriers, 550,000 accommodation properties, 232,000 experiences and rental cars available in 100 countries, the options are endless.

*Expedia Group Media Solutions 2021

 

Across all comfort levels, one thing is clear: People are ready to travel again. In June of 2021, BIW's Experiences Marketplace saw its greatest number of bookings in the past four years. Not only that, bookings of experiences in the first half of 2021 were double what they were in all of 2020.

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Looking ahead, we anticipate the trend of last-minute travel will continue and we’ll see an increase in bookings overall as individuals plan the trips they have been dreaming about for the past year. Expedia found that while many of their site visitors had to change or cancel travel plans in 2020, they consistently dreamed at high levels about future travel.

Circle of exploration_Expedia graph.png

Now that the dream of traveling again isn't so far out of reach, they find travelers are looking for three key things when planning their next trip: a destination somewhat close to home, a longer stay (average bookings of 4 days compared to 2 days previously) and the ability to envision their stay through detailed photos, descriptions and property policies on booking sites. 

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At BI WORLDWIDE, we recognize the importance of inspiring dreams through extrinsic rewards – including travel and experiences. While our world stood still this past year, people never stopped dreaming. And dreamers are motivated. Our circles are getting bigger again. As  they do, make sure you're offering experiences to fit every dream, destination and comfort level.

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Abbe McCabe

Director of Experiences

Abbe started at BI WORLDWIDE 14 years ago. She was promoted to an Account Manager and managed events for a diverse client base, including telecommunications, technology and automotive industries. Abbe became a Design Director for Event Technology and spent 4 years overseeing Event Technology solutions. She was responsible for research, development and implementation of industry technology to align with the event’s goals and objectives. Abbe is currently Director of Experiences and is responsible for BIW's Experiences Marketplace. She is developing and leading the way in conversations around experiences that inspire our customer’s participants!
Check out this checklist for navigating the return to group travel in 2021. Download