Drive Markets Fueling Hotel Recovery
- Posted by Brett Perry
- On May 27, 2020
As we wrote about a few weeks ago, road trips are at peak popularity as people are looking to get out of the house while still practicing social distancing. Airline traffic is starting to pick up, but it is nowhere near the levels of 2019. Meanwhile, searches for “road trip” continue to rise according to Google Trends:
Current trends point to a major influx of drive market activity as users remain hesitant to fly. Defining the audience is the first step in using data to plan a strategy. As more people take to the roads, it is crucial to identify where they’re coming from in order to provide proper messaging.
We analyzed our partners in major metro areas where the virus is not completely disrupting the flow of traffic. As expected, the drive market appears more important than ever before.
Arizona Seeing More CA Traffic than 2019
California was one of the first and hardest-hit areas in the U.S., which led to California being the first state to implement stay-at-home orders. Those guidelines have been slowly loosened over the past couple weeks, but the state is not completely open. In what is a role reversal from 2019, Arizona is seeing more people come in from California than the opposite. Last week, AZ Big Media reported some Arizona resorts seeing a pickup in California bookings as they reopened their doors. Our partners saw much of the same and even an increase in California bookings over the last couple of months compared to 2019. While the majority of reservations are from Arizona, over 26% of all bookings came from California.
Floridians are Staying in Florida
Over the past couple of months, the majority of bookings for our partners across Florida came from within the state. An astonishing 61% of reservations came from Florida since the start of April. This is up from 42% last year. Florida rolled back some restrictions at the start of May, and our partners saw a spike in transactions. The sheer size of the state offers people the ability to go on long road trips but remain within state lines. New York is usually a hot feeder market for Florida properties, but the virus has slowed down that traffic. With all the coastline Florida has to offer, it is important for hotels in the state to focus on capturing their fellow neighbors before spending money elsewhere.
Marketing to Your Drive Market
With recovery efforts being focused on the surrounding area, hotels can take advantage of a few different options in their marketing strategy. Fuel Travel recently released a great How-To Guide for marketing to your drive market. Here are a few things your property can do:
- Paid Media: Create targeted audiences by using the radius selector. Up to 200 miles in Google Ads and 50 miles in Facebook Ads. Tailor messaging to these audiences that relate to road trips and weekend getaways.
- Website: Develop road trip content that answers key questions such as distance from major cities, stops along the way, etc.
- Revenue: Advertise resident rates or create new offers relating to road trips.
If you’re looking for more in-depth recommendations, check out our regional reporting.