The Point: It’s been a year since COVID grounded the travel industry. Now, with optimism and vaccinations both on the rise, people are more interested in travel than ever before. Yes—even compared to before COVID.

I was days away from flying to Austin when we started hearing guidance about COVID-19 restrictions. Like so many around the world, I canceled my trip at the last second. Suddenly my calendar went from multiple trips a month, to zero.

As we all adjusted to staying home, we dreamt about getting away again. My personal Pinterest boards show just how much wanderlust took hold: I saved Pins for everywhere from Charleston to Scotland.

A year later, there’s pent-up demand, and people can’t wait to get out again. It’s clear that when people feel ready to travel again, they’ll make it a priority. On Pinterest, travel engagement is at an all-time high—even when you look at the year before COVID.

A hand in the shadow of an airplane window, clouds and blue sky in the background
The open back of a white station wagon covered in beach towels, surf boards on top and the ocean in the background
The shadow of a woman taking a picture of herself against a yellow wall

Travel searches on Pinterest increased 60% year over year.1 And those searches are turning all the pent-up demand into real bookings. According to GlobalWebIndex, 7 out of 10 people are planning a vacation this year.2

What’s more: the pool of travelers grew, too. It’s not just former road warriors causing the increase in demand. On Pinterest, our travel audience is up 40% from 2019—giving you more travelers to reach on Pinterest than ever before.1

Travel searches on Pinterest increased 60% year over year.1

New travel personas for your next campaign

As restrictions begin to ease, traveling will certainly look different than what we were used to. But it’s not just about health screenings and hand sanitizer. People’s priorities have changed, too.

Gone are copycat itineraries and trips by obligation. Today’s travelers are looking for more meaningful experiences that cater to personal passions and help them build connections.

Coming out of COVID, you’ll also see new types of travelers emerge. Based on our data, we’ve identified eight travel personas that are growing in importance for travel marketers: Bucket Listers, Culture Chasers, Digital Nomads, Foodie Travelers, Memory Makers, Outdoor Junkies, Rural Tourists and Weekend Travelers.

Here’s a closer look at three of the personas that have grown rapidly this past year.

Rural Tourists

When you’re trying to get away from crowds, rural getaways are the way to go. Rural Tourists seek places with space to spread out, like Oregon and Vermont. They’re also on the hunt for small town gems with cozy character and quaint shopping streets.3

80%

increase in searches for rural travel topics vs. 20193

85%

increase in searches related to the countryside vs. 20193

75%

increase in searches related to lakehouses vs. 20193

A brown and tan surfboard floats out of a whirlpool of deep blue water
An old beach house on a cliff overlooking the ocean

Outdoor Junkies

Staying in made people crave the outdoors. This traveler segment saw massive growth during COVID, driving interest for outdoor adventures all over the world. Think places like Montana, Lake Tahoe—and Tanzania.2

150%

increase in searches related to National Parks vs. 20193

30%

increase in searches related to hiking vs. 20193

65%

increase in searches related to surfing vs. 20193

An aerial view of a dessert sandstone rock formation
A smiling woman in a floral swim top ride a surfboard
An overhead view of a poppy cluster

Digital Nomads

Say hello to a new kind of road warrior. Greater flexibility and fewer real-world commitments means more people are taking their working lives on the road. Digital Nomads are especially interested in places like Puerto Rico and Hawaii (can’t blame them!).

50%

increase in searches related to digital nomadism vs. 20193

1.6x

increase in searches related to nomad trailers and campers vs. 20193

1.8x

increase in searches for starting a small business among this audience vs. 20193

A White woman in a green baseball cap lounges in a fluffy robe

A small camper room with finished wood walls, green wall lamp, and multicolored pillows

A wood table with orange coffee cup, over-ear headphones, datebook, and an assortment of post-it notes

Act on the insights

This new era brings new opportunities for the travel industry. As interest in safe, meaningful travel continues to grow, people will turn to travel brands for itinerary ideas, trip support and more.

It’s time to rethink not only how we travel, but also how we use consumer insights to shape travel products and services. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1.
Inspire new trip ideas

Today’s travelers aren’t necessarily looking to copy their friends’ itineraries. Help them pick destinations or routes based on personalized passions, hobbies or who they’re traveling with.

2.
Provide practical tips

Once they’ve booked a trip, they’ll want tips for safety, logistics and more. You can create handy guides for different kinds of destinations or help people make the perfect packing list.

3.
Fine-tune your targeting


You can reach all of our eight personas in Pinterest Ads Manager by targeting specific interests and keywords. Work with your Pinterest sales team to add the personas into your next campaign, or set your own targeting strategy using keywords and interests.

Written by

ASHISH ARYA

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Footnotes
1

Pinterest, global search data, Jan 2019–Dec 2020

2

GlobalWebIndex, “Travel intentions in 2021,” US and UK, Feb 2021

3

Pinterest, internal analysis, US, comparing searches from Jan 2019–Dec 2020