Realistically, the Sub-Saharan African Travel demand this year (2022 and beyond) is expected to be higher than it was before the COVID-19 Pandemic first case came to these regions. Of course, this is a great relief for travel brands. But, the modern traveler is different from who you may have known before.
Eventually, the discovery of two COVID-19 variants in South Africa last year led to caution for both outbound and inbound travelers. However, vaccine rollouts and government grants have since boosted the hospitality business’s confidence. But, travelers want to know that the fluctuating effects of the Pandemic on their travel experience will remain minimum.
Meaning, that as you work to prepare for this new travel demand, there are a few considerations you’ll need to have tailored solutions for. The decision of where to travel in Sub-Sahara Africa is as difficult as choosing a dish in a three Michelin stars restaurant. The enormous variety of destinations and diversity in both ethnic groups and natural wonders.
Where To For Sub-Saharan African Travel?
According to a Think With Google resource article, the Sub-Saharan African Travel demand is exceeding pre-pandemic levels across various countries. Searches are projected to reach 36% year-over-year (YOY) growth compared to 2019. Whilst, building on last year’s momentum at 13% YOY growth. For example, consider a country like Nigeria.
Whereby, there’s a relaxation of travel restrictions in this country. Thus, as a result, driving particularly an increase in travel demand in the country. This means, that in terms of the Sub-Saharan African travel demand, the demand rate is growing at 62% YOY in Nigeria. While Kenya and South Africa follow back at 21% and 16% YOY respectively.
In too many cases people around the rest of the world refer to Africa as a single culture. Spreading over vast Savannas with roaming lions, elephants, and other wild animals. Definitely, as it’s the case in some parts, the African continent at large has a full spectrum of overlooked landscapes and cultures.
The Main Sub-Saharan African Travel Tips For Travelers
By far the wildest and least explored continent in the world, Africa is still waiting to be discovered. For those who opt to venture outside their comfort zone and travel across the continent, a plethora of rich cultures, authentic cuisine, and exceptional wildlife is guaranteed, but not without its challenges.
Still ranked as the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped region, Sub-Saharan Africa is not an easy destination for even the most experienced backpackers, however, with some extra precautions, it’s perfectly accessible for virtually everyone to travel and explore. That said, to make a wise choice, you’ll first have to consider a few factors:
Tip #1: Your first-time visit to Africa
For first-time travelers, we would definitely recommend starting with an easy and painless destination. Something that has an excellent tourist infrastructure like South Africa or Kenya. If you are a more experienced traveler, practically almost every country is an option. Maybe except for war-torn regions or places with health risks.
Tip #2: For a winter type travel person
Equally important, climate preferences play a crucial role in Africa. After all, the continent spans extreme temperature variations – from the hot and dry Sahara desert to the humid and warm equatorial regions. And then, all down to the relatively mild weather at the south tip. Hence, you must check the average temperature and the likelihood of rain. More so, according to the time of year you are planning your trip.
Tip #3: The kind of vacation that you seek
In the same fashion, if you are into the adventurous journey it might be optimal to favor a destination that offers more than meets the eyes. More so, through your tourist agencies choice. One thing is for sure, countries like Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ghana, for instance, are quite safe to check in – with plenty of cultural heritage.
Oftentimes, something that most travelers ignore or overlook. While being blinded by more focus on wildlife-related attractions. Therefore, in order to make the best choice, you must take into account all aspects of a certain place. Such as the abundance of wildlife, pre-colonial history, the ability to cover interesting attractions sites in a short time, etc.
Tip #5: What other travelers are going for
Basically, the preference for local travel seen last year has expanded in scope. Not to mention, most travelers across the region are looking to travel both in and outside of Africa. Demand for outbound travel is highest for destinations in Europe (121% YOY) and Latin America (60% YOY) with African destinations being the third most popular (57% YOY).
A similar trend is seen for those coming into Africa. Search demand for inbound travel is up 113% YOY for European travelers and 69% YOY for Asia Pacific travelers. The wealth gap in South Africa is playing out in destination preferences for avid travelers. Those with an income of R50,000 (~$3,300) a month or more tend to have more interest.
Especially, in traveling outside of Africa. Whereas, those with an income of less than R50,000 a month tend to prefer traveling within Africa, or even within South Africa.
Tip #4: The common means of survival
What will you do if you get stuck during your visit to Africa? Of course, it’s not a secret that Africa poses many safety challenges for the average traveler, yes. But, some measures can reduce dramatically the chances of any ordeal. All over the world traveling is becoming easier by the day. Perse, most governments are aiming to increase tourism revenues.
And, as such, they are exempting a growing number of citizens of other countries from any visa requirements. While in other parts like Europe, borders are being eliminated altogether. However, Africa is a completely different story. Most African nations still require a travel visa from the majority of other countries’ citizens, including Africans themselves.
But, crossing international borders within Africa is not a simple task and may demand a lot of patience and resourcefulness. Let’s for instance consider the Kenya Ports of Entry with the eVisa – for border crossing in this case. There’s a complete list of airports, seaports, and land border crossings that accept Kenya eVisas in very clear terms.
Likewise, there are other more accessible means of survival to think of. Including but not limited to; transportation, transaction monetary means, expenditure costs, local guide, dietary menu, language barrier, safety, etc.
The Topmost Modern Traveler Aspect For Travel Agencies
Sometimes, in current times, the demand for traveling is very palpable. Bearing in mind, travelers in many cases have one eye on their bookings and another on pandemic developments. Meaning, that wherever they choose to spend their money will come down to how much flexibility – something they can have a guarantee on.
Suffice to say, almost a third of South African respondents (32.3%) said that deals and discounts were a key to them. And most important, when booking their travels. However, 16.5% said they were looking for money-back guarantees, 15.9% want flexible booking dates, and 14.8% insist on no cancellation fees. All of the latter three are consumer demands.
For one thing, they are deeply rooted in flexibility terms, and they make up a total of 47.2% of consumers – nearly half. Once you know where travelers want to go, and what will convince them to make a booking, it’s important to make sure that they consider your brand first. The best way to do this is to be visible at the beginning of travelers’ booking journey.
Overall, this is one of the keys to quality and better travel arrangements success – it’s also known as the discovery and consideration phase. When asked where they first hear about travel and tourism deals, 41% of South African respondents said Google Search and YouTube. Similarly, for inspiration, 37% of respondents turn to Search and YouTube first.
Finding Travelers Through Google Search
All thanks to the automation and many other algorithms from various web and internet angles. Almost all the topmost search engines and web search tools can track more signals than ever before. Signals like language, operating system, conversion path, device type, and more. This additional data creates more complexity, but also more opportunity.
For this reason, the biggest opportunity lies in using toolkits such as Smart Bidding and Broad Match together. On one side, Smart Bidding uses the power of machine learning. More so, in order to optimize conversions or conversion values in each auction – auction-time bidding. This way, the optimal bid is set based on the likelihood of a traveler converting.
Learn More: What Are Travelers On Google Searching For?
Ultimately, by doing so, auction-time bidding reduces wasteful spending. In addition, it ensures you’re set with the right message when travelers are ready to take to the skies.
On the other side, once you’re up and running with Smart Bidding, you can now use the Broad Match strategy. Particularly, to cover a wide range of long-tail searches in similar categories. Whilst, ensuring that you reach as wide an audience as possible. Furthermore, this is a very good way to win back the Sub-Saharan African Travel demand for your agency.
Finding Travellers Through YouTube
Surprisingly, there’s often a common misperception when it comes to YouTube. That it’s only a brand-building platform. When we look at the “messy middle” in the context of Google’s tools, we see that YouTube and Search play a very vital. More often, with an inextricably linked role in consumer decision making. Think of the last time you used Search.
Let’s say, for instance, you use a Search toolkit like Google to purchase something online. Did your search journey lead you to a review on YouTube? Of the 100 million clicks on Search in the last 12 months in South Africa for travel categories, 9.7 million users are looking in-market for travel on YouTube.
As an agency, there are a few actions that you can take today. More so, in order to capture this attention no matter where you are in the conversion funnel. Something that will allow you to take advantage of the Sub-Saharan African Travel demand and start converting more lead travelers.
Consider the following resourceful action plans:
- Generate reach to build brand awareness: As an example, you can use tools such as TrueView for Reach and non-skippable ads to generate reach. As well as to build trust and brand awareness on multiple touchpoints. Keep in mind, that the more a user sees your brand, the more the brand earns trust and credibility.
- Build consideration to reassure users: In this case, you can build consideration with TrueView and Discovery Ads to reconnect after initial contact in the awareness phase. And also, in the long run, assure your target customers of your brand’s credibility.
- Capture existing demand to drive conversions: Use always-on Video Action Campaigns including remarketing to capture existing demand beyond Search and drive conversions.
- Optimize existing campaigns: By all means, this’s where you’ll need to follow all the main YouTube video campaign best practices and other set guidelines. That’s if you’d want to fully maximize your overall video ads campaign performance.
- Set up your Google Account for travel: The Google Travel Toolkit allows you to find and manage your trips more conveniently. Whereby, you can easily get trip info, like your upcoming trips, reservations, research, etc.
Some Quick Google Consumer Insights:
Travel-related searches for “tonight” and “today” have grown over 150% on mobile, over the past two years. Overall restaurant-related searches have grown by double digits in the past two years, while those same restaurant-related searches that include a zipcode have declined by over 30%.
Mobile searches for “best ___ chocolate” have grown by over 50% in the past two years. For example, “best dark chocolate” and “best hot chocolate”. Across nine markets, researching hotels and airfares on a mobile device is as common as shopping for clothing. Below is a video guide of the Sub-Saharan African travel countries in high demand.
Important to realize, that smartphone users also cite price as the most important factor in their travel bookings. Whilst, easy search functionality, and a simple booking process are also cited as important features. Also, friction on a mobile site when completing a booking can lead to travelers trying another resource website.
The share of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in the world tourism market is small but growing. More so, up from 2.4% of total arrivals for all transportation modes in 1990 to 3.3% in 2010. Over the last eight years, SSA exports of travel services have risen steadily. Including personal travel, business travel, and travel for health and education purposes.
While import growth has been more volatile owing to currency fluctuations. South Africa is the largest exporter of travel services. Whilst, Nigeria is the largest importer; the United States and the European Union (EU) are the largest sources of travelers (for all purposes) to SSA. Investment in hotels in SSA is rising to meet potential demand expansion.
In general, driven by both overseas tourism and growth in the African middle class. However, relatively costly transportation and lodging compared to other global destinations, as well as perceived political instability, pose challenges for future growth. Not forgetting, that there’s also a great hit from Coronavirus to the hospitality industry.
More Related Resource Topics:
- The Sub-Saharan African Travel Services Trade – USITC
- Tourism Performance And Potential In Sub-Saharan Africa
- Places To Visit In Sub Saharan Africa | Best African Vacations
- Western Tourists Have Returned To Africa. Will Business Travellers Follow?
- COVID-19: Current Border Measures And Requirements For Travelers
That’s it! A few facts to know about the rising Sub-Saharan African Travel demand. As well as a few tips that can greatly help you convert more lead target travelers in your marketing strategy. So, generally, do you think that there’s something more we need to add to this guide? Overall, is this guide helpful to you or someone else that you know?
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