With every new year, there’s often a sense of “where did the last one go?”
The march of technology enables us to time-shift in many ways, and the pandemic has only increased a distorted feeling of time as it accelerates many long-term trends.
2021 saw a return to travel – if not “normalcy” – in many respects. But the recent omicron variant and related restrictions remind us that any return to pre-pandemic state of affairs is elusive.
We started off the “Roaring 20s” with a belief that three paradigms would resonate in this decade: embracing customer empathy, viewing the conversion funnel as a sphere and activating inspiration everywhere.
Looking back, empathy in marketing is now an imperative for obvious reasons. Fluid border restrictions and coronavirus surges disintegrated the linear booking funnel, further morphing it into a sphere. Inspiration is indeed everywhere, but prior to 2020 few of us would have thought the Johns Hopkins University global coronavirus tracking map would be used to figure out where to go.
We were directionally accurate with those paradigm shifts. But we didn’t foresee a now obvious shift that echoed throughout 2020: the need to stay flexible and fluid. Despite human nature’s eternal search for stability, the old adage “the only constant is change” is particularly true and relevant for the new year.
With the fog of 2020 and a brighter 2021 behind us, another maxim will serve us well into 2022 and beyond: in uncertain times, we should focus on what we can control and prepare as best we can for whatever new challenge will come our way. For travel marketers, that means doing everything we can to make travel easier for today’s hesitant-yet-eager, flexibility-seeking consumers. Here’s to rollin’ with the new – challenges and opportunities – in ‘22!