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How the Pandemic Changed Travelers with Dan Christian

If you think travelers have been different since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. Dan Christian thinks so too.

A longtime marketer who has worked with some of the world’s largest and most innovative tour companies, Dan watched firsthand as travelers re-evaluated their lives and reshuffled their travel priorities as a result of the pandemic disruption. He joins this episode of the podcast to help us understand how travelers’ thinking has changed in the past four years and how smart travel marketers can better reach them.

Dan explains which pandemic-era trends are still affecting travel and where travelers are looking for travel inspiration these days. Plus, we talk about how small business owners can leverage communications channels to reach travelers and how travel organizations can make the most of artificial intelligence tools.

Insights from Dan Christian

On how people are choosing travel experiences:

“People reevaluated the importance of travel in their lives and the type of traveling they want to do, which is more about ‘why’ than it is about ‘where.’ That’s a very important long-term trend. Most of our travel experiences were about sightseeing. The reality is that, as travelers move forward, although they still want to see major sites, there’s another reason for why they travel. People are asking themselves ‘What do I want to get out of this experience?’ People used to start with where and when, and most businesses in our industry still succumb to this. But people are getting travel inspiration off of Instagram and TikTok. People want to go and do what they’ve seen. People are asking ‘why’ and finding many new reasons.”

On messaging for today’s travelers:

“It comes down to understanding consumer interests and trying to tap into them. Then get as close to the source of inspiration. Try to find the place they’re being inspired to book and get as close to it as possible. That means social channels.

“Rather than spending on paid media, there’s a lot small operators can do with their own channels to make their content more compelling. It really comes down to great storytelling. What is your unique selling proposition that’s going to connect with the consumer and convince them to take that action?”

On the role of artificial intelligence in travel:

“I think it’s going to be bigger than the internet and bigger than mobile.I think everyone needs to be looking at AI and how they can leverage it to make their business more successful. The companies that are embracing AI are going to get so far out ahead of the companies that don’t simply by virtue of the way the technology works.

“There are specific AI models that have been created for you to make your business more efficient and manage your time more efficiently. I don’t think whether AI is going to make your business obsolete is the first question to be asking.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Listen to the Travel Trends podcast at

Learn more about Acceleration Team at

Find content from the Acceleration Team’s AI Summit on their YouTube Channel.

Contact Dan Christian at

Key Moments From This Episode

3:47 — How Dan Christian found his tourism calling

11:43 — How a global pandemic created a new opportunity

16:13 — A status update on travel’s post-pandemic recovery

21:20 — Travel trends for 2024 and beyond

28:20 — Messaging that meets the needs of today’s travelers

33:07 — Should travel professionals fear artificial intelligence?

About the Podcast

Gather and Go with Brian Jewell is a tourism industry podcast that helps group travel leaders plan, promote and lead better trips. There are also tips and insights for destination marketers and others who support the tourism trade. Each episode reaches thousands of professional tour operators, travel agents and the volunteer group leaders they serve. The audience also includes destination museum leaders, church travel leaders and other tourism enthusiasts around the world. Each show includes an interview with a smart travel pro or an insightful person from outside tourism who’s expertise can help make travel businesses better. You’ll also hear travel news, road tips and more. New episodes are released about twice monthly.

You can find Gather and Go wherever your listen to podcasts or subscribe by email.

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