Black Friday strategies reveal a transition moment for travel
20.11.2023 - 15:38
/ Black Friday
Black Friday, the rallying cry of the holiday shopping season, returns next week with travel deals that some industry experts say are more robust than usual, addressing financial concerns among a growing number of consumers and the normalization of travel trends.
TourRadar, an online travel marketplace of trips from over 2,500 suppliers worldwide, says the Black Friday deal landscape this year is much different than last, with the pandemic long over and revenge travel more or less avenged.
"Last year, we were still coming out of the pandemic, and a lot of operators were offering opportunities to a greater degree because they really wanted to get back into business and take advantage of revenge travel at that time," said Christian Wolters, chief marketing officer at TourRadar. "Now, the dynamic has changed quite a bit."
There's a wider variety of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales that TourRadar has tracked so far this season, Wolters said, adding that the types of organized trips "are much broader than they were last year at this time."
Ireland and U.K. specialist CIE Tours said that nearly its entire portfolio will be on sale this year between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, including one of its newest and best-selling itineraries, with savings of up to $600 per person across its destinations in Ireland, Britain, Iceland and Italy.
CIE is offering far more than it did for Black Friday last year, with only two tours not included.
"I think the world has set up expectations that people are going to get deals on everything from toasters to travel, so we really want to have some robust offers out there," said Rosanne Zusman, CIE's chief commercial officer.
Also driving CIE's Black Friday push is a slowdown in future travel bookings.
"Our future bookings for 2024 are definitely outpacing the bookings we saw for 2023 made in 2022, but that pace where we were so far ahead has slowed up a bit," Zusman said. "Is pent-up demand starting to die off? Are there geopolitical concerns? We're going into an election year. We really don't know what it is."
Industry research has found that travelers, while still determined to travel, are thinking more about how their dollars are spent on trips and prioritizing value for money in 2024.
A 2023 holiday travel study from Deloitte Consulting found that one in five travelers are cutting back on travel spend due to financial concerns, while a 2023 Family Travel Association study found that affordability remains a top priority for parents planning family trips.
"I think all of the operators are aware of the added cost to travelers, meaning what we pay in rent and groceries, etc.," Wolters said. "We're all a bit more cash-strapped. So operators are offering some pretty