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The four faces of the Australian traveller – and how they’re changing

Exclusive: More insights from SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report 2023

By Bradley Haines, Market Vice President – Asia Pacific, SiteMinder

‘Adaptability’ has been a choice word over the past four years and this perhaps couldn’t be truer than for the accommodation industry, which has had to grapple with a widespread skills shortage while understanding new concepts such as ‘revenge travel’, ‘border closures’ and ‘COVID-safe’, to name but a few.

As we finally farewell the era of uncertainty, hoteliers can look at 2024 and beyond with a sense of excitement and anticipation. And yet, their local guests have undeniably changed.

The new summer print edition of AccomNews is available now. Read it HERE

How can accommodation providers build on these vital relationships, and secure loyalty and satisfaction in this new phase of travel?

Leaning on SiteMinder’s survey of more than 10,000 travellers globally, including 800 Australians, I’ve outlined below the four faces of the Australian traveller, as based on their travel motivations and preferences, and the significance of their booking experiences within their overall travel journey.

AdobeStock By Tryfonov

Face 1: The Enduring Explorer

SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report 2023 has revealed that 44 percent of Aussies intend to travel internationally only this year, compared to just 18 percent last year. 

Overall, 88 percent of Aussies plan to travel over the coming year as much as they did over the past year, including 54 percent who plan to travel more. 

It’s no secret that, as people, we are wired to travel. And, having learned what life can be like without the magic of travel has made it more valuable to us than ever before. It’s for this reason that today’s Australian traveller will never compromise on their urge to travel, in spite of external forces, such as inflation or high cost of living. 

In fact, Australian travellers seem unconcerned about doing their holidays cheaply, with some 81 perecent saying they are happy to spend money on add-ons provided by their accommodation.

Face 2: The Digital Dependent

From banking to shopping and socialising, Aussies use their personal technology for much, much more than making phone calls. The way we use technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, and travel is no exception. 

AdobeStock By Mirko Vitali

At 36 percent, the Australian traveller is the most likely in the world to start their accommodation research via a search engine. They are less likely than most other countries to rely on ‘analogue’ methods of researching their accommodation options, such as seeking recommendations from family and friends. This demonstrates that the Australian traveller wants to use data and insights that will deliver them a range of suitable options quickly.

Australian travellers also have high expectations when it comes to how accommodation providers use technology. Australians expect the accommodation industry to better adopt technology, with 62 percent rating the industry as ‘average’ in this regard. Only 18 percent believe the industry is ahead when compared to other industries.

The survey has also shown that Aussies will make decisions about their accommodation based on the ease and security of the booking process. Far from making the choice based on which provider has the best view or the largest pool, one-in-two Australians have not proceeded with booking accommodation because of a bad online booking experience.

As Australians lack patience when it comes to slow or non-secure booking experiences, it is essential that this element of the customer journey is sophisticated yet simple and seamless.

Face 3: The Memory Maker

The need for a great experience is the top demand for Australian travellers. No longer content with a simple getaway from the churn of everyday life, a holiday is now a vast collection of pent-up daydreams and expectations, accumulated over many years of remaining stagnant. 

This face of the Australian traveller is about defining the traveller’s experience by exuberance and intentionality — ensuring not a moment is wasted, with connection to people and places sitting at the heart of their desire. In the survey, 35 percent of Australians say a great experience (via food, music or interaction) while travelling is more important to them this year than it was last year.

AdobeStock By galitskaya

Aussies value truly ‘getting away’ during their holidays, too — more so than other countries. Only 22 percent of Australians intend to work at times on their next trip, well below the global average of 36 percent. 

What does this mean for hoteliers? It may be prudent to reassess your hotel’s cultural immersion experiences, or add some show-stopping moments to a menu.

Face 4: The Conscious Collaborator

Australian travellers are keen for a connection to their accommodation experience. It’s an emphasis on personalisation that will keep them coming back for more, in 2024 and for years to come.

This face of the Australian traveller seeks genuine relationships with the people at their accommodation — the staff, the immediate surroundings and the culture of the place they are staying in.

For 1-in-3, it’s more important now than this time last year that their accommodation has a close connection with the local culture and community.

As a hotelier, you must reshape your thinking to acknowledge that you are often the bridge between your guest and their ability to have a genuine, authentic experience in the neighbourhood or town where you are situated. Something you may take for granted, like a hidden beach or cafe that only the locals know about, may greatly enhance your guest’s holiday and their connection to your hotel personally.

Australian Indigenous Experiences part of Cultural Tourism demand

This new desire to forge connections is evidenced in Australians’ tolerance for hotel staff’s standard. Australians are willing to be forgiving when it comes to lower standards of service caused by staff shortages in the accommodation industry. Two-thirds say they will be more tolerant of lowered standards, with younger generations leading the charge.

As an accommodation provider, knowing your guest on a deeper level is invaluable to understanding how your offering can be personalised to suit. Importantly, it’s about making sure you’re able to not only sustain but grow, your revenue in ways that are as dynamic as your guest.

Read more insights from SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report 2023 HERE

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