Listen, watch, understand
Restoring traveller confidence, creating opportunity
As the travel industry looks to 2021 with optimism that a potential COVID-19 vaccine will restore traveler confidence and create more opportunity for travel next year, Expedia Group conducted a global survey (1) measuring consumer sentiment towards travel in today’s COVID-19 environment.
Best Case: What do you hope will happen in the next 12 months? Why?COVID-19 has not significantly altered people’s travel plans for 2021 and, as we saw throughout this year, there is pent up travel demand. Globally, two-thirds of travellers surveyed intend to take the same number of trips as they would normally, if not more.
Specifically, 45% said their rate of travel would remain the same, with 21% indicating they’ll travel more.
Rather than cancelling trips completely, travellers are making adjustments to their travel type with 73% reporting a change in travel preferences in the aftermath of COVID-19.
The most notable global shifts include 31% taking more domestic trips, 22% travelling more by car and 20% enjoying more relaxing beach vacations.
Worst Case: What do you fear might happen in the next 12 months? Why?
We know recovery will not happen overnight – restoring travel will take an unprecedented level of partnership and when we examine generational preferences in traveller confidence, those over 40 are more reluctant to travel, with 49% waiting at least six months to book their first trip.
Generation Z and Millennials will be the first to book travel with two out of three indicating they intend to travel within the first six months following the pandemic, and more than two in five will take a trip in the first three months.
However, the gap in generational preferences is evident that those under 40 are more adventurous. Specifically, they are:
More prone to travel internationally (15% vs. 9%)
Twice as likely to visit a major city (11% vs. 6%)
Less likely to take more trips by car (18% vs. 24%)
Expected Case: What do you realistically expect to happen in the next 12 months? Why?
There is no clear answer on when travel will return to normalcy, but travel is resilient. We need to listen and watch, to understand traveller behaviour and motivations during this time, so we are best prepared to re-engage with them when the time is right to travel.
Position your property for travellers most eager to book. COVID-19 has disrupted typical booking patterns, with people making last-minute bookings or rescheduling holidays 12 months in the future.
Ensure you’re positioned to capture their business:
Open future inventory well into 2021.
Improve occupancy with less restrictive policies and refundable rates.
Use “book early” offers to build your base, then fill in with “last minute” discounts as needed.
Stay in touch with travellers who were issued vouchers to stay at your property.
Use promotions to entice longer stays. With the decision to travel made, use promotions to increase your occupancy. Consider free parking for those more likely to travel by car. Offer room discounts, upgrades, or a free breakfast when guests stay a third night or for a week.
(1) 26,000 people surveyed across Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, UAE, UK, U.S. between February 18 and March 2, 2020; and 8,000 people across Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US from late April to early May, 2020.
You can view the survey at: https://welcome.expediagroup.com/en/trends-and-insights/what-travelers-want#report.