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Year in Review: 2021 Insights and Marketing Strategies for 2022

Part 1: Automobile & Travel Industries

As agencies and brands take inventory of this past year and the many twists and turns that the year brought, we take some time to look back at industry insights from GroundTruth’s 2021 Lean Series to look forward to what we can expect in 2022.

From these foot traffic trends and industry analyses we can better understand:

What consumer trends were a moment in time versus those that are here to stay.

Which industries will likely enter the new year with challenges versus those who are entering the new year with momentum.

What new media channels have emerged this past year as effective ways to reach and engage consumers.

How marketers should be thinking about where and when they make their marketing investments.

Automotive Industry Outlook: Look For A Strong Jumpstart in 2022

Although the auto industry continues to work through chip supply issues and the ramifications of COVID-19 from this past year, there are still several consumer-related trends that are pointing to a strong recovery in 2022. These include the behavioral shifts related to the way consumers research and shop for a car.

For example, the pandemic-driven trend of spending less time at the physical car dealership and more time browsing car options online led to a strong uptick in omnichannel car purchases this past year.

Don’t forget to download The Lean: Auto Insights Brief for a comprehensive look at 2021 trends in the auto industry.

Automotive Industry Trends: car buyer behavior in 2021

2022 Prediction: The consumer changes from this past year look to be here to stay. In fact, these shifts could help evolve and improve the in-store experience in several ways, leading to a more efficient sales process in 2022 and beyond for dealerships. What’s more, the combination of limited car inventories and the average age of cars rising to more than 10 years old is surfacing a new consumer segment who is looking for auto shop and auto parts choices. For example, DIY auto brands, such as Napa Auto Parts and AutoZone experienced significant growth in 2021 which many industry experts believe will extend into the early part of 2022.

2022 Marketing Strategy: Heading into 2022, an integrated marketing strategy will go a long way. During a still-uncertain time, it’s important for auto related marketing campaigns to maintain their reach no matter where potential customers are spending their time. Adding CTV and social media to your marketing mix can help ensure you are reaching consumers no matter where they are.

With a growing market of consumers with older cars on the road, service departments and DIY auto brands are in a unique position to engage with this growing segment. Layer your CRM data with location-based audience data to help understand and reach your customers at important maintenance timeframes.

Travel Industry Trends: Still Flying High, But Don’t Buckle Up Too Fast For International Travel

In 2021, the travel industry experienced a much needed resurgence as consumers all across the US took flight and hit the road for some much needed R&R. Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Chicago topped the list for trending travel cities. This could have been due to the low amount of Covid-19 cases in these locations at the time of travel. That certainly was the case for Chicago.

Travel industry trends: Top US travel destinations

The popularity of travel to these hotspots could have also been because of the proximity to major neighboring populations of people. We know that Atlantic City is a coastal city located very close to New York City. We can infer that many New Yorkers opted to take trips this past summer to neighboring vacation destinations such as Atlantic City. The travel uptick to Las Vegas could be a reflection of fewer Covid-19 safety regulations in the city at the time and because Americans were itching to get back to their favorite party city after being cooped up inside for so long.

Don’t forget to download The Lean Insights Brief: Travel for a comprehensive look at 2021 travel trends.

2022 Prediction: International travel restrictions could spark more domestic travel. While a new COVID-19 variant is contributing to a slow down in overall travel, recent international restrictions are likely to benefit domestic travel. That’s good news for the U.S. consumer economy as travelers look to alternative vacation options such as cruises, amusement parks, resorts and even outdoor travel opportunities within the US.

2022 Marketing Strategy: For travel marketers, flexible and performance-driven advertising strategies will be critical to reaching their customers in 2022 with travel options that meet their lifestyles. Using offline behavioral audiences can give marketers the insight they need to better target relevant travelers such as outdoor enthusiasts, regional travelers and those looking for family vacation destinations. Marketers can also use weather-related advertising to reach consumers with seasonal related travel recommendations. Finally, creating a positive and personal booking and travel experience will continue to require flexible booking and cancellation policies and last-minute getaway packages.

Stay Tuned for Part 2

This concludes part 1 of our Year in Review Series. Tune back in next week to read Part 2 and learn about how high-impact verticals: Restaurant, Retail, and CPG got through 2021 and the key tactics to track for success in 2022.

Haven’t downloaded your Lean Insight Report yet? Check out our extensive library of Lean Insights Reports to get insider details about the consumer trends that impact marketing trajectory and ROI.

Nicole Genchur
Sr. Manager, Marketing Insights