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What do your guests want post-COVID?

Travellers adapt to life with COVID: Report ranks flexibilty & less crowded destinations as top priorities

A new Expedia Group report suggests that after two years of enduring a global pandemic, your customers value travel and personal time more than ever.

And, as a result, travellers have started to adapt to the realities of COVID-19, ranking flex travel at the top of their priorities and focusing intently on travelling for good, including taking steps such as tipping industry workers more and choosing less crowded destinations to limit effects of ‘overtourism’.

The Expedia Group ‘Traveller Value Index: 2022 Outlook’ report, conducted in collaboration with Wakefield Research, also underscores the resilience of the industry and reveals how travel companies can adapt to achieve a competitive advantage in this rapidly evolving environment

Commenting, President, Expedia for Business, Ariane Gorin said travel is about to experience a year unlike ever before as people plan purpose-driven trips, value holiday time more, and up their investment in unique experiences.

“Travellers are preparing themselves for possible trip changes as COVID-19 persists, and they want an array of options at their fingertips,” she said.

“Travel companies that prioritise safety and wellbeing, innovative solutions, and transparent communication will be the clear leaders as the entire industry shifts from survival mode into accelerated demand and growth.”

Key findings from the report include:

There will be a surge in travel for personal wellness

The pandemic caused people to reflect on the importance of spending time with family and preserving their own personal wellbeing. Most people (81 percent) plan to take at least one holiday with family and friends in the next six months, and the majority are seeking quick doses of adventure, with more than three quarters (78 percent) expressing an interest in frequent short trips. ● Similarly, the Expedia® 2022 Travel Trends Report found that over two in five (43 percent) Australian travellers are searching for a sense of contentment and mental wellbeing on their next trip.

The new world of work will alter traveller priorities

As companies prepare to return to the office and evolve remote work policies, employees are looking to make greater use of their holiday time, and in some cases, combine work and play. More than half (56 percent) of those who often work remotely will take a ‘bleisure’ style trip — extending a work trip for leisure, or vice versa.

The 2022 Vrbo® Trend Report also found that, compared to pre-COVID, 84 percent of U.S. families have a greater appreciation for holiday time and 77 percent have a greater appreciation for separating professional and personal life. Investment in travel

Investment in travel will boom compared to pre-pandemic

More than half (54 percent) of respondents say they plan to spend more on trips than they did prior to the pandemic. Two in five (40 percent) plan to use loyalty points for at least part of a trip in 2022, with Gen Z in the lead.

People will travel more responsibly and consciously, with an increased focus on sustainability

Over half of people (59 percent) are willing to pay more fees to make a trip sustainable, and 49% would choose a less crowded destination to reduce the effects of overtourism.

Nearly half (43 percent) will add in extra time for services and transit, helping to minimise long lines, stress on workers, and missed flights.

Travellers will be on the hunt for great deals and flexibility

As seen in the ‘What Travellers Want and Traveller Value Index’ earlier in 2021, the ability to book travel for a reasonable price and make changes to trip itineraries is an absolute must in the eyes of travellers.

Almost all (84 percent) respondents agree that a discounted fee is influential when booking a flight online. A nearly identical percentage (83 percent) say flexible fare options makes a world of difference.

Mike Parker-Brown

Mike Parker-Brown is a UK-trained and qualified journalist and an award-winning travel communicator with more than 30 years experience. Since 2002, Mike has worked as a freelance writer and PR consultant providing his services to major organisations in Australia and internationally in the tourism, aviation, hospitality, recruitment and export marketing sectors.

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