2022 Guide to Purchase Drivers for Travel

Michael Seymour |
 03/28/22 |
4 min read

2022 Guide to Purchase Drivers for Travel

As the world reimagines its love of travel after a challenging couple of years, we’re seeing new hopes, challenges and desires emerge. And AI-powered social listening offers insight to help companies capture this leery segment by understanding purchase drivers for travel. Savvy brands will use this intel to make the most of our new normal – and that includes you!

What are Purchase Drivers and How Can Brands Uncover Them?

When brands attempt to sort out the reasons why consumers do things, they’re ultimately figuring out the purchase drivers behind the sale. And this understanding is essential as it helps brands design messaging and campaigns that resonate with target audiences.

These purchase drivers are the emotions and intent the consumers share online as they’re progress through the purchase funnel when considering what to buy, or in this case – where to go.

But beyond spending all day online reading tweets and Facebook posts, how are destination-based businesses and the travel industry as a whole finding and analyzing the billions of data points zooming around online? This is where AI-powered analytics comes in. It makes the world of big data make sense, separating the signal from the noise.

Consumer Conversation Reveals Current Purchase Drivers for Travel

Over the past three months, as COVID becomes a part of existence and the world eases into resuming usual behaviors, travel has resumed, but this doesn’t mean everything is free and clear for brands to go back to a business-as-usual mindset. The world has changed and will continue to due to geopolitical conflicts, making it all the more important to consistently monitor consumer conversation around travel. Otherwise, the purchase drivers that brands use to build offerings upon will be outdated assumptions – and that’s dangerous. Consumers often defy brand assumptions, after all!

A quick search of sentiment drivers around travel spanning the past three months offers a good starting point:


And we can also add a layer (or many layers) to the analysis to further specify the intel we seek:


Here, we’ve layered a Personal Narrative Theme on top of these results for a closer examination of the results. This way, we can isolate posts by consumers that have “I” or “we” statements – something about how they personally feel, act, or observe something about travel. And these statements are often telling.

For example, “safety” and “safe travels” applies to having a safe facility or destination, and also to proper sanitization, which is paramount now. But it also has another meaning – and one that’s pretty popular “saving money” or “saving me from paying extra.” As we can see in the Reddit thread below, this is precisely the case for this traveler, sharing his/her top gear purchase for travel – and that it saves them money: 


Consumers also want quick trips for weekend getaways, that are easy to get up and go – making it ‘easy’ to participate and feel rejuvenated from the trip, rather than exhausted all over again.

And there are also concerns about ‘immoral travel bans,’ which, of late, impact war-torn countries. There’s also an associated groundswell about ‘travel shaming.’


But even with all of that, consumers are once again traveling -and brands following the conversation and helping them do so successfully. And with everything in mind, there are a good number of brands that are getting travel right.

Brands Taking Travel Purchase Drivers to Heart

The top conversation clusters about travel (below) reveal key messaging points that brands will want to hit on the in coming months. And when considered in tandem with the purchase indicators revealing consumers’ top concerns, we see overarching concepts to keep in mind:

  • Consumers are worried about gas prices and are increasingly interested in exploring electric vehicles or short trips as part of their travel.
  • Cost is, of course, a concern for any type of travel – and consumers are willing to use credit to take the trip of a lifetime, particularly when there are free miles or other ‘down the line’ savings involved.
  • Travel restrictions when flying to different parts of the world are essential to communicate out, as is the status of whatever COVID variants are at play during a given period.
  • Family travel is important, and top of mind, as is having the right luggage to do so!
  • This all ties into the efficiency and ease of the travel itinerary, with consumers seeking all-in options that offer quick trips (potentially weekend getaways) that won’t break the bank.


And as it stands, hotels are still in stiff competition with Airbnb so they need to up their “all-in” game and create niche offerings for not only families, but couples and solo travelers who just need a break from our pandemic-born reality.


One example showing these elements in action comes from Royal Caribbean. Its “Perfect Day at Cococay” hits all the high points. It offers an inclusive, easy and exotic travel adventure – one that’s equally appealing to single adults and families, while offering clear vaccination guidelines with few (if any) surprises.

And that’s precisely what consumers want – but by degrees. Depending on the travel purpose, location and time of year, travel destinations and the businesses that rely on them need to understand consumer conversation that’s relevant to their offerings. One size never fits all with consumers and that’s truer today than ever before. Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how to uncover specific insight that makes sense for your offering, and help you gear up to maximize that traveler dollar during the bustling summer season!

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