In a recent survey of its customers, Flight Centre Travel Group is reporting a distinct shift in positive sentiment compared to the results of a similar survey conducted in November 2020. The most recent survey was conducted in June of 2021 and saw close to 2,000 people respond.
Key findings of the June 2021 survey reveal that excitement towards travel is up significantly, confidence in travelling safely is directly correlated to the successful rollout of vaccines, and the vast majority of customers are definitely planning to travel in 2022.
Some of the more surprising trends that Flight Centre noticed is that people are not waiting until the very last minute to book their trips despite frequent changes and varying travel restrictions worldwide. More than one third of travellers are booking 3 to 5 months in advance of their departure suggesting that concerns regarding sudden cancelations or changes is no longer a substantial deterrent.
Key Findings include:
- When asked how people are “feeling” right now about travel, those that are “excited” has seen a 254% increase since November 2020, in which only 13% of people at that time provided that response. Correspondingly, those “worried” about travel saw a reduction from 47% in November to just 14.6% last month.
- 67.2% of those surveyed said that the progress of Canada’s vaccination program has made them more confident to travel. Given the survey was completed when only 10% to 15% of Canadians were fully vaccinated, consumer confidence is expected to grow as the vaccination program continues progress.
- 79% of respondents say they will “definitely” or “probably” travel to countries accepting fully vaccinated travellers in the next 12 months.
- 38% are planning to travel in the next 1-3 months, a sharp increase from the November 2020 survey results in which just 16% of respondents felt the same.
- * Overall, 85% of customers expect to travel equal or more than they did in 2019 (i.e. pre-COVID)?
- In terms of which destinations people plan to travel to first internationally, 68% of respondents are planning to go to Mexico and the Caribbean with the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta, Dominican Republic and Jamaica seeing the most demand within the region. 42% are planning to go to Europe.
- From a product standpoint, the return of cruise travel is definitive though not in short-term bookings. Specifically, May to September 2022 encompasses the largest share of future cruise bookings.
Michelle Suggett, VP of Retail Operations for Flight Centre Travel Group (Canada), didn’t find the results surprising, given what the agents on the ground are currently experiencing.
Said Suggett: “There has been significant demand in inquiry and bookings as more and more people get vaccinated. That, combined with more than a year and a half of restrictions and border closures, is now translating into bookings as consumer confidence lifts.”