Travel is essential for so many businesses, it’s no surprise that pent-up demand to get back out there and do business is driving a steady increase in business travel. Indeed, in August Deloitte reported that “the shift from essential-only to freer domestic business travel” was officially underway. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts about 76% of 2019 levels. Both organizations expect business travel to fully recover by 2024.
Still, Deloitte notes that businesses are rethinking the “why” behind travel. They are now prioritizing face-to-face meetings and events such as conferences that support relationship-building. Virtual gatherings are fine for information distribution, but relationships are personal.
Air travel is slowly but steadily coming back, with many airports across the country posting significantly higher foot traffic numbers in mid-November compared to early October. Some of that is due to leisure travel, for sure, but business people are definitely on the move once again.
Out-of-home advertising makes the trip with them
One of the great benefits of OOH is its location-specific targeting that allows you to literally put your message where your targets will be. For business travelers, your strategy could work something like this:
- Reach them right from the start, at their point of departure. Business travelers don’t just fly through the airport, 74% of frequent flyers arrive more than an hour before their boarding time. They have plenty of time to see your OOH messaging. Even better, 80% of people take action after viewing airport advertising. You can reach them with digital or static ads along concourses, in the food court, near escalators, and at baggage claim.
- Greet them again at their arrival airport, with similar displays.
- Catch their eye once again as they travel from the airport to their hotel, with billboards, wild postings, window posters, branded street furniture or even in-cab displays.
- Follow them indoors when they reach their hotel. Whether they’re staying overnight or meeting key clients for lunch or dinner, your OOH displays will greet them in the bar, restaurant, open areas and perhaps even their room.
- Back at the airport as they head home, there you are again. Talk about reinforcing your message!
OMOH is an all-targets marketing opportunity
Revitalized business travel is an obvious boon for B2B companies. In August, Deloitte predicted that “visits to prospects and clients will lead the comeback” because as noted earlier, “travel use cases that support client relationships have been identified as the most crucial to business success, and the most dependent on in-person interaction.”
Nonetheless, if big national conferences aren’t yet back in your targets’ industry, it’s very likely that smaller regional and local gatherings will include in-person as well as virtual attendees.
Meanwhile, for marketers, increased business travel presents both B2B and B2C opportunities. Business folks are regular people with regular lives, after all, and they are definitely spending more time engaging in local out-of-home activities.
Geopath, a location planning resource popular with OOH marketers, notes that for the week of October 25th, Americans drove an average of 27.4 miles per day – that’s a noticeable increase over 2019 pre-pandemic local travel miles. We could reasonably surmise that at least some of those increased miles are for business as well as personal reasons.
Even the “worst” case is a good reason to add OOH
Let’s say your business targets are among the most hesitant to head out for face-to-face meetings. Now is still the time to plan your OOH strategy – especially true if your brand appeals to everyday consumers as well as specific business targets – because virtually no one is staying home all the time now. You can test out your OOH plan on a smaller, local scale and learn from that experience.
And speaking of marketing plans, if your 2022 strategy includes one or more conference sponsorships, OOH can transform your presence into a truly memorable business travel experience for attendees.