*THIS DATA WAS PULLED FEBRUARY 28, 2022
This winter, the eyes of the world will fall on Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first ever to be held in an Arab country. This international football tournament is scheduled to run from 21 November to 18 December, 2022. Despite being over half a year away, we are already seeing a surge in travel intent to Qatar over that period. Here is the initial look at Sojern’s data for World Cup travel.
We looked at the top travel dates for the next 12 months from our flight search event data in the last 14 days, for Qatar. Even in February, we see a higher interest to travel this November compared to last year, the period that covers the tournament. We expect this trend to continue and grow as the schedule of matches unfolds and we get closer to the World Cup.
Travel Marketing Tip: Don’t wait to start your World Cup 2022 marketing campaigns. People are in-market and searching for their travel over to Qatar. Take advantage of the early lookers and bookers, and ensure your messaging is in front of these travellers now.
When we look at the top origin markets interested in travel to Qatar, it is dominated by the Latin American (LATAM) region. LATAM is a region that is widely considered to be full of football fanatics. For the most part, this region never features in Qatar's top origins. When we compare flight search trends from early January 2021 with what we saw for January 2022, you’ll see top origins are dominated by LATAM countries overtaking other regions starting at the end of 2021 into early 2022.
When we zoom into LATAM in greater detail, we see that expressed interest in travelling to Qatar in the last 30 days is driven by Brazil and Argentina in particular.
Travel Marketing Tip: Consider the audience you want to target. Perhaps your current creatives are in English or Arabic, which is probably great for those who are travelling now. But those arriving in Qatar for the World Cup are looking to be a more diverse group. Are your creatives and offerings translated into Spanish, or Portuguese? This is worth considering as we get closer to the World Cup period.
We predict that with the short travel times between Qatar and the likes of Oman, Saudi Arabia, or the UAE, the World Cup period is also going to be big for travel within the Middle East. Below are the YOY % change in flight searches in the last 14 days to Qatar for November 2022, of which Middle East and Africa shows the third largest year-on-year increase, up over 1000% on last year. We will be keeping an eye on our insights as we get closer to the World Cup.
Travel Marketing Tip: Neighbouring countries, listen up! We’ve talked in the past about how DMOs can diversify their marketing campaigns to drive more bookings. Instead of only looking at people actively searching for travel to your destination, use data to look at how you can look at the region as a whole. Considering how far away many of these travellers are coming, it is realistic to think that many will be extending their stay in the region, perhaps with weekends travelling to neighbouring countries.
We will be sure to keep you posted on all the latest World Cup travel trends. If you’re looking to activate your World Cup strategy, talk to our team of travel marketing specialists now.