No Passport Required: Your Best Guests Don't Need a Passport

There may be a hidden goldmine in your own backyard—local travelers! Charm them with tailored experiences, special packages and watch your business thrive. AI-powered marketing makes it easy. No passport is required for this adventure!

June 4, 2024

Staycation: Yes, It's Still a Thing!

The recent McKinsey & Company report on the state of tourism and hospitality confirmed it. The report is lengthy and detailed, spanning 68 pages. But since you probably don't have time for that, the next few blog posts will break down some of these insights into bite-sized pieces.

Why Focusing on Local and Nearby Travelers is Smart for Your Business

Let's talk about a crucial strategy to boost your business in 2024 and beyond Focus on local and nearby travelers.

This isn't just a trend; it's a proven way to strengthen your market and build resilience, especially during slower seasons. As Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" famously said, "There's no place like home," and this sentiment resonates strongly with today's travel trends.

Why Local Travel is a Big Deal

Local travel makes up a huge part of the tourism market, with 75% of global travel spending happening within home countries. This trend became even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as domestic travel bounced back faster than international travel. By 2030, it's expected that local travel will still account for about 70% of travel spending worldwide​​​​.

The United States and China: Leading the Way

The United States is the world's largest market for local travel, with Americans spending $1 trillion annually on trips within the country. Most trips that start in the U.S. stay in the U.S. Similarly, regional travel is booming in China, with $744 billion spent annually. Destinations like national parks in the U.S. and cities like Changchun in China are thriving thanks to local visitors​​​​.

How to Make the Most of Local Travel

Promote Local Attractions:

Visit Mexico

Encourage visitors to explore nearby gems. For example, upscale hotels in France highlight rural historic sites as relaxing escapes from city life. In Mexico, the Pueblos Mágicos program promotes charming towns that showcase local culture​​​​.

Create Exciting Travel Routes:

Develop travel routes that link several local attractions, similar to the famous Route 66 in the U.S. This approach can boost spending across multiple locations.

The Power of Regional Travel

european train travel

Next to local travel, regional travel (trips within the same region) is the second-largest travel segment. In places like Europe and Asia, most international trips stay within the region. For example, most European travelers visit neighboring countries like Spain, Italy, and France. In Asia, regional travel is growing thanks to fewer visa barriers and more low-cost flights​​​​.

Staying Strong During Off-Seasons

Focusing on local and regional travelers helps keep your business steady during off-peak seasons. This approach ensures a more reliable flow of visitors year-round, even when international travel dips.

Supporting Facts

  • Economic Benefits: Promoting regional tourism supports local economies and ensures a steady visitor flow throughout the year​​.
  • Sustainability: Focusing on nearby travelers reduces environmental impacts and supports sustainable tourism practices, which more travelers seek​​.

Embrace AI-Based Marketing

One way to effectively reach and engage local and regional travelers is through AI-based marketing. AI can help you understand your audience better and tailor your marketing strategies to their preferences. For instance, AI can analyze customer data to create personalized travel recommendations, automate your marketing campaigns, and optimize your pricing strategies. This enhances the customer experience and drives more bookings and revenue for your business​​​​.

👉 Practical Tips for Your Business

  1. Seasonal Packages: Offer special deals for local and regional travelers during off-peak times. Highlight unique seasonal activities or events.
  2. Collaborative Marketing: Partner with local attractions, restaurants, and tour operators to create attractive bundled experiences for domestic tourists.
  3. Flexible Options: Provide flexible booking and personalized experiences to cater to the preferences of local and regional visitors.

Focusing on local and regional travel markets taps into a large share of travel spending and builds resilience against seasonal changes and global uncertainties. Embrace the potential in your own backyard and tailor your offerings to local and regional travelers for sustainable growth. Utilizing AI-based marketing can further enhance your ability to reach and engage these travelers effectively.

As Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, puts it, "Robust domestic leisure travel demand has been the driving force in the overall industry's post-pandemic comeback. Though the surge we experienced in the last year is starting to moderate, we expect this segment to remain resilient in coming quarters."

And for those who live and work on islands or other destinations that rely heavily on international visitors, we will have some tips for you soon.  

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  1. McKinsey & Company. (2024). The state of tourism and hospitality 2024.
  2. Hospitality Net. (2024). The 8 top travel & hospitality trends to look out for in 2024.
  3. UNWTO. (2024). International Tourism to Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2024.