The Travel Marketer’s Guide to Capturing the Romance Market

September 18th, 2018 by Alison Zeringue

With the right targeting and audience intelligence, it can be easy for travel marketers to sweep romantic travelers off their feet. Many businesses in key travel markets are missing the opportunity to market to romantic travelers. The latest data shows that romantic travel trends go beyond the obvious honeymooners and destination wedding travel, though those segments shouldn’t be ignored! According to the Travel Industry of America, romantic getaways are trips “with a spouse or other love interest without children to rekindle the romantic feelings in the relationship.” From outdoor adventure travel to “foodie” trips, today’s couples are doing things differently and travel marketers should take notice. Whether you market a destination city or you’re a business within a destination city, positioning carefully to appeal to romantic travelers is a good idea for 2018 and beyond. Read on for more details on the latest romantic travel trends all marketers need to know.

Top Romantic Travel Trends in 2018

Romantic travel is booming, and it’s more than just the honeymoon. According to statistics from TripSavvy, a quarter of all American weddings are destination weddings. On average, couples who plan destination weddings are a little older with more disposable income compared to other newlyweds. With travel to a beach or somewhere overseas, the average budget for a destination wedding is $28,000. The added expenses make for a shorter stack of invitations, but the guests who attend destination weddings also plan to spend more than $600 on average.

After the wedding, couples currently spend three times as much on honeymoons as they do on other vacations making honeymoons a$12 billion dollar industry. Other popular trends in romantic travel surfacing in 2018 include would-be grooms planning getaways around the proposal (thanks to social media for the increased pressure for the perfect proposal!). All kinds of couples enjoy “foodie” trips, choosing destinations with the best dining options as a top priority. Where entertainment and music drew travelers in earlier decades, cuisine is a top priority for today’s travelers.

Not Just for the Newlyweds: Who Are Today’s Romantic Travelers?

While family trips need to balance the different preferences of all the kids, couples traveling romantically tend to spend more on dining and activities when it’s just the two of them.

Marriage drives a high percentage of the travel in America, but households with children travel less often, shocking, right?! While single households were responsible for 21 percent of trips, married households took a whopping 61 percent of trips, according to the same research from TripSavvy. Couples without children have taken an average of 3.1 trips in the past year, compared to couples with children, who took 1.9 trips indicating the sweet spot for the travel market is married couples without children.

When planning a romantic getaway, a strong majority of those surveyed said that they traveled to a particular city for the local cuisine and entertainment. The next most popular getaway option was bodies of water, such as lakes or beaches. Other common, but significantly less popular plans centered around gambling, outdoor sports, and cruises. Romantic couples are interested in local attractions, but they also want a setting where they can enjoy each others company. By emphasizing a quiet, relaxing atmosphere, nearby nightlife, and quality restaurants, most cities have something to offer couples trying to unwind.

Romance For All: LGBTQ Travel Trends

Now more than ever, it pays to be inclusive. LGBTQ travelers are especially aware of the attitudes in different parts of the world.  Just as some countries still require a marriage certificate to share a hotel room, many regions still have laws and prejudices against homosexuality and other lifestyles. Because some travel agents are unaware of those nuances in different regions, many LGBTQ travelers use agents who specialize in serving clients with similar priorities.

If there are festivals like Pride Parade in your area, think about whether your business can participate in some way. Decorating for the occasion, offering special discounts, and sponsoring a local non-profit are a few ways to show support. Make sure to share the ways in which your business shows support via your social media channels and look for ways to make your imagery more inclusive by default.

Most of these travelers want a safe place where they won’t be excluded on the basis of their orientation, identity, appearance, or anything else. That said, your employees have a big impact on the perception of your brand. Employees who bring prejudices into the workplace can be a complicated problem, especially in politically divisive times. While it’s impossible to satisfy every customer, a negative review that implies intolerance can be especially impactful. The best course of action is prevention, making sure that you create a safe and inclusive environment both for customers and employees. In the event you suffer a negative review from a customer, make sure to respond publicly stating that your company does not share the views of this individual though feedback is appreciated.

Not A Tropical Oasis? “Romantic” Doesn’t Have to Mean Bikinis

Commercials have marketed beaches as the “ultimate” romantic getaway, but there are loads of alternatives for landlocked businesses. = With employment up and cautious optimism about the economy, Americans are looking to travel frequently, and in smaller doses. Over the past 12 months, Google Trends has shown an increase in the search terms “weekend getaways” and “couples getaway near me,” Indicating growing demand for this information online. With the help of local SEO professionals, you can dominate the search results for travelers within driving distance.

All kinds of activities and attractions can be adapted for a romantic audience. Historic districts, museums, festivals, and even agriculture can be romantic. With a scenic overlook and the right photographer, your area’s cotton fields start to look as romantic as a vineyard or a country album cover.

In all, romantic travel is about a lot more than honeymooning couples. A growing number of adults are looking at travel as an investment in their relationship and their own quality of life. At Search Influence, we have everything you need to market to those couples and drive leads to your business. If you’re interested in honing your local SEO strategy, then request your marketing analysis today to get started.


Couple at a Scenic View

Couple Walking in Hand

LGBT Couple