As pandemic restrictions begin to ease up, the joy of travel is finally coming back to life. The percentage of individuals who perceive a strong risk associated with travel has gone down by 17% since January 2021 and 36% of people surveyed around the globe are now participating in some sort of travel activity. While new COVID-19 variants inevitably affect consumer travel priorities, health safety protocols are becoming more normalized, restrictions are loosening and travellers are feeling safer to explore again. Understanding how today’s travellers navigate research and booking can help you position your brand for success in 2022.
Here are some key insights travel brands need to understand.
Sensitive messaging and adaptability is still more important than ever
To build confidence, brands need to stay consistent and communicate at all levels how the traveller’s safety is their top priority. Travellers will also want to see this reflected and affirmed when reading 3rd party reviews from past customers. A recent online travel booking poll conducted by Webcredible revealed that 29% of consumers consider positive reviews as the most likely factor to make them book a holiday online.
Above all else, travellers want the flexibility to cancel or postpone trips. The New York Times put out a report saying that some luxury travellers are even “trip stacking,” or buying two trips for the same period in case one falls through. In both the U.S. and EMEA, booking and cancellation flexibility ranks as the second most important factor influencing consumer travel decisions.
Eco-tourism continues to rise significantly as climate change affects cities across the globe
Travellers are increasingly seeking sustainable travel options, prioritizing their values as they plan trips. In fact, according to Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report, 72% of travellers think that travel companies should offer sustainable travel choices.
When it comes to what inspires people to travel more sustainably, travel itself is the biggest motivator. According to the new Sustainable Travel Report released by Booking.com, 60% of travellers indicated that they found breathtaking natural sights visited on past travels as their inspiration to travel more sustainably, while more than half (54%) said seeing the visible impact that tourism can have on destinations serves as their inspiration.
The factors that inspire sustainable travel
% of global travellers who found this inspiring
Being impressed by natural sights during their own travels (e.g. coral reefs, rain forest)
Noticing a visible impact of tourism at the destinations they have visited
Seeing the positive effect that sustainable tourism can have on the local people
Seeing the unsustainable effects of tourism in their home country
Feeling guilty about the impact their vacation has had on the environment
How will travel brands spend in 2022?
67% of travel marketers expect their marketing budgets to increase substantially in 2022. Yet 88% recognize that some areas of their businesses aren’t yet ready to deliver for customers this for the remainder of this year, and 73% report that they are generally challenged to meet traveller needs.
Currently, the top areas of investment for travel companies in 2021 are revised health and safety measures and contactless experiences. But while 85% of U.S. travel marketers say that offering flexible bookings and cancellations will be important in 2022, 38% say their businesses are not fully set up to provide flexible purchasing options. Making flexibility a priority for 2022 will be an important step toward meeting rising demand and new expectations as travellers return to the roads, waters, and skies.
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- 87% of Travelers Want to Travel Sustainably
- Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report
- Ipsos, Global, Essentials Report, survey conducted on the Global Advisor online platform among 14,500 adults aged 18–74 in CA and U.S. and aged 16–74 in AU, BR, CN, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, MX, RU, ZA, KR, ES, and U.K., n=11,523, Aug. 26, 2021–Aug. 29, 2021.
- Google-commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 Tracker, AU, BR, CA, CN, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, MX, RU, ZA, KR, ES, U.S., and U.K. ~n=500–1000 online consumers 18+ per market. Sept. 9, 2021–Sept. 12, 2021.